Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit’s Garden Galway

Brigit’s Garden Galway


Brigit’s Garden in Rosscahill County Galway is a beautiful Celtic themed destination that celebrates Irish history, heritage and folklore, the natural world and sustainable living, diversity and biodiversity.

Just 30 minutes from Galway City and you’ll find yourself walking amongst wildflowers, and through the cycle of the Celtic seasons as each garden in Brigit’s Garden represents the magic of the Celtic festivals of Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasa.


When to Visit Brigit’s Garden Galway


  • General Admission: €27.50 for a family of four Apr – Sep
  • Website: brigitsgarden.ie – for full details admission fees
  • Address: Brigit’s Garden, Pollagh, Rosscahill, Galway, H91 CC90
  • Opening Hours:
    • Visitor Centre & Gardens:
      • Apr – Sep:  10.00am – 5.30pm | Monday – Sunday
      • Oct – Mar:  10.00am – 5.00pm | Wednesday – Sunday
    • Garden Café:
      • Apr – Sep: 10.30am – 5.00pm | Monday – Sunday
      • Oct – Mar 10.30am – 4.30pm | Wednesday – Sunday

Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Entrance


Visiting Brigit’s Garden Galway


We visited Brigit’s Garden as a family in July. A cloudy day upon arrival but the good weather fairies were with us as the sky turned from grey to blue in the twinkling wink of an eye.

With map in hand and complimentary bird watching guide we sauntered through the gardens, this way and that, with no real intention of following a structure, but instead letting our senses and enjoyment take the reins.


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit’s Garden Galway


Samhain Winter Garden at Brigit’s Garden Galway


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Samhain Winter Garden


The festival of Samhain (pronounced Sow-en) or Halloween falls on October 31st and marked the beginning of the yearly cycle for Celtic peoples.

– brigitsgarden.ie


Samhain represents the end of harvest season and summer, and the beginning of winter, the cycle of birth, death and rebirth. It is during this time that the Celts believed the veil between the living and dead was at its most transparent – a portal to another world.

The Samhain Garden is all about reflection, relaxation and the preparation of rebirth of spring.

What to look out for:

  • the long bank in the shape of a sleeping woman representing the earth resting for winter.
  • the bronze cast of the sleeping female figure sheltering the pool.
  • the birch trees that surround this part of the garden.


Imbolc Spring Garden at Brigit’s Garden Galway


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Imbolc Spring Garden


Imbolc (pronounced Im-ulk) is the old Celtic name for the spring festival on February 1st, now St. Brigit’s Day. The birth of lambs and the first snowdrops herald this season of new life as the land re-awakens and growth begins again.’

brigitsgarden.ie


Imbolc represents the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. The word itself coming from ‘i mbolg’ means ‘in the belly’ … of the mother. It is the first stirrings of new life, from seedlings to lambs, a rebirth and a sign spring is nigh.

What to look out for:

  • the sunken garden with triple spiral markings representing Brigit – Ireland’s pre-christian Goddess (adopted and renamed St. Brigid by the christians).
  • the wildflower meadow and orchard trees.
  • basketwork swings.


Bealtaine Summer Garden at Brigit’s Garden Galway


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Bealtaine Garden


The great fire festival of Bealtaine (pronounced Belt-an-a) or May Day celebrates the bright half of the year and the coming of summer’s warmth.’

brigitsgarden.ie


Bealtaine, also known as the month of May as gaeilge, and from old Irish ‘bel taine’ which means ‘bright fire’ symbolises the return of light, (the sun). Half-way between the spring equinox and summer solstice, this festival welcomes the arrival of summer with bright fires. It’s a time of awakening, both sexually and physically, a time known for the power of fertility.



What to look out for:

  • Diarmuid and Grainne’s bed of wildflowers.
  • Flame figures sculpture representing love and marriage.
  • Processional standing stones.
  • Bogwood throne – representing the power to be your own king or queen.
  • The wishing trees.

 


Lughnasa Autumn Garden at Brigit’s Garden Galway


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Lughnasa Autumn Garden


The festival of Lughnasa (pronounced Loo-na-sa) in early August marks the beginning of the harvest and the transition from summer to autumn.

brigitsgarden.ie


According to the Gaelic calendar, August 1st is the first day of Autumn. The Gaelic festival Lughnasa is a 2000 year old Celtic festival that both marks the natural cycle of the season of summer into autumn, and celebrates this harvest season.


In Celtic mythology the god Lugh one of the chief gods of the Tuatha De Danann, established the Lughnasadh festival as a funeral feast and games commemorating his foster-mother Tailtiu. She died on August 1st of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Brega for farming.

– newgrange.com


What to look out for:

  • Two inter-linking stone circles with feasting tables to represent the banquets enjoyed at harvest time.
  • Spiral stone beds with culinary and healing herbs to symbolise the natural ability of nature to nourish and heal.
  • The mounds representing the constellation of Orion, often associated with Lugh.
  • The yew trees symbolise the death of summer but also the welcoming of rebirth.


Brigit’s Garden Galway is wonderful day out, whether you’re meeting with a friend for coffee and a walk, or entertaining your family on a day out.

We loved exploring the pathways and trails. The thatched roundhouse that opens out to all four themed Celtic gardens. The crannog standing proudly, and welcoming.


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Garden Walks and Trails


The boys loved the play area with its climbing frame and see-saw. But the engineering features were their favourite things to play with. From the wind-up water fountain to wooden water dam.



From a wildflower meadow to sunflowers standing tall. Up to the top of the passage tomb, what’s that? you can go inside? And in we all bundled in to see the light stream through, just like it would on the winter solstice at Newgrange.

From garden monuments and statues and a place of tranquility to the working of little legs on bikes to make lights. Say cheese at the ‘Camera Obscura’ … and work out how it works. Stand at the sundial and tell us the time. There’s always time for coffee.

Through the old woodland or ‘Seanchoillearnach’ – it was wonderful to see the gaelic version of names throughout the gardens, and great practice for our little Gaeilgeoirí.

By the ‘Rushy Meadow’, and chances to witness Irish flowers, fauna and wildlife. And amongst the fairies in the woods, don’t forget to wish all your worries away, it’ll lighten the load!



The Garden Café at Brigit’s Garden Galway

The Garden Café at Brigit’s Garden Galway was a delight. From the friendly service with a smile through to our dining experience.


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Café


We ordered inside and then sat out under the covered terrace with its fluttering bunting.

Our dishes were fresh and healthy, and right up my street. Their prices were very reasonable (main meals €12) and ingredients seasonal. Every option was clearly marked with allergens and although my pescatarian days are behind me, it was brilliant to see such tasty vegan and vegetarian options.

Coconut Dahl with spinach and cauliflower, brown rice and naan bread, mango chutney, cashew mint dressing and green leaves. Delicious.

Mezze Bowl with beetroot hummus, baba ganoush, rice tabbouleh, sumac, spice, squash, leaves and pita bread … when can I move in?

And food for the childer … sure they have to eat too! Well if they don’t fancy dining from the kids menu which included pasta and wraps and only €4, then there was plenty to choose from soups and sandwiches to salads.


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Delicious Dining - Healthy Food


But you can’t have those exceptional looking treats on display and expect me to walk away can you? And just like Arnie I was back, and bought a portion of each to divide up like a tasting platter of goodies. And just like that they all disappeared.


Exploring Celtic Heritage at Brigit's Garden Galway - Coffee and Sweet Treats

A stop at the Gift Shop to buy some Irish nature books and accessories for our own fairy garden at home, and we were on our way.

From my and my family’s experience we highly recommend you visit Brigit’s Garden Galway. From the moment we stepped through the doors at reception for our tickets, to our final thank you as we said goodbye at the gift shop, we thoroughly enjoyed our time there. So much so that we hope to return again on our next trip to gorgeous Galway – and sure isn’t that always the biggest compliment.


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Edwina O'Connor
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