At Biddy Murphy, our authentic Irish goods and gifts are made by hand-picked artisans from Ireland, guaranteed to delight. We want to share the story of our supplier partner, Naomh Padraig.
We have been working with the delightful Patricia O Flaherty, the owner of Naomh Padraig for more than 15 years. Patricia hand weaves St. Brigid Crosses and has been doing so for 20 years. I first met Patricia in 2004 at Showcase, the Irish gift show in Dublin.
Naomh Padraig in Gaelic means St. Patrick- the patron saint of Ireland, person who came to Ireland and converted its people to Christianity in the fifth century A.D. His feast day is a huge celebration each year on March 17.
An Irish Tradition
All kids in Ireland have made a St. Brigid’s Cross, using reeds, just like Patricia. I know I made several in my childhood. St. Brigid is the one or Ireland’s patron saints as well as the patron saint of crafts, poets, healers, midwives and doctors. Her crosses are hung in doorways of Irish homes are are a symbol of protection and healing. Saint Brigid’s feast is celebrated on February 1 and also marks the pagan festival of Imbolc-the beginning of Spring.
Hand Woven Using Reeds From The River Shannon
Back to Naomh Padraig! Patricia and her family live in Co. Roscommon. Patricia handcrafts the crosses from actual rush from the River Shannon using traditional weaving techniques. This is quite a process. In the spring you can find her in the river, fully adorned in her waders armed with a sickle and cutting the Bulrush (reeds). She then hauls the reeds back home (with the help of her husband and son) and stacks them up in her barn to begin the drying process, which I was able to see during my visit with Patricia earlier this summer.
We had a lovely visit, and in true Irish fashion, we enjoyed a cuppa tea and some sandwiches! Patricia is a wonderful woman, and has the strength and kindness of St. Brigid herself!
This holiday season we have a collection of crosses that will make great gifts. Share your love of Irish traditions with these beautiful gifts and goods.
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