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Brideog. An old Kildare custom

Below are two letters from the Leinster Leader of 1940 on two different interpretations of the old Kildare custom of Brideog.

Leinster Leader 24 February 1940
We have received the following interesting paragraph for publication.
Old Kildare custom
Brideog celebrations

The Brideog is a very old Irish custom which is still upheld in many of the rural parts of Kildare, especially around the Scoiltree, which is situated between Naas and Ballymore. When motoring that way on the night of February 1st I was astonished to meet a host of motley attired folk, all marching in full array to the strains of “God Save Ireland,” splendidly rendered by their own instrumental band. On making inquiries, their Captain told me that this was the “Brideog,” which consisted of a gathering of folk from the neighbourhood all in fancy dress, who, on invitation, visit their neighbours houses where they dance and sing for a few hours and are entertained to the very best. Of course, only for the kindly hospitality of those people the Brideog would long be extinct. I was invited by the Captain to accompany them to one of the houses on invitation. I was only too ready to accept. Such a fine display of old Irish dancing I have never before witnessed, and as for such old comic songs as “The Old Half Door,” “Judy Callaghan,” and “Rafferty’s Pig,” to mention but a few, would really bring tears to your eyes with laughter. The beautiful supper served first goes to show that the true old Irish hospitality still exists among the residents of the district.

Leinster Leader 9 March 1940
Brideog celebrations
The Editor, “Leinster Leader.”
Dear Sir – In an article of your issue of the 24th inst., by Anon, it was stated that the Brideog consisted of the gathering of a number of people on St. Brigid’s day for dancing.
When I lived near Kildare some years ago, Brideog had a different meaning. It consisted of the artificial figure of a female dressed up so as to resemble St. Brigid. This was carried about by a young girl accompanied by one or two others on St. Brigid’s Day. They called from door to door collecting money, the same as the “wren boys” do on St. Stephen’s day. The word was pronounced “Breothogue,” the meaning of which, I believe is “Young Brigid” oge meaning young in Gaelic. – Yours truly, F.J.C.

In celebration of St. Brigid's Day, 1 February, we print two letters from the Leinster Leader of 1940 on two different interpretations of the old Kildare custom of Brideog.

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