The Department of Foreign Affairs is launching its fourth global St Brigid’s Day events programme, which celebrates the creativity and talent of Irish women. The 1st of February, St. Brigid’s Day, traditionally marks the beginning of spring in Ireland, and has long symbolised hope, renewal and the feminine.
Since 2018, Irish Embassies have been marking St. Brigid’s Day by celebrating the creativity of both Irish women and women in their countries of accreditation, through a broad programme of performances, talks and panel discussions. Irish communities around the world have enthusiastically embraced the celebration which has contributed to the rapid growth of the number of events which will see over 30 cities involved across the globe in 2021.
Ireland will celebrate St. Brigid’s Day by hosting events highlighting the talent, creativity and contribution of the women who have shaped both Ireland and the world. Events taking place in London, Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Washington, Shanghai, Sydney, Wellington and many other cities will showcase the transformative and empowering nature of women’s contribution to all spheres of life. In most locations, events will be hosted online, in line with local public health guidelines, while in-person events will take place in Shanghai, and across Australia and New Zealand.
Some highlights from the global programme of events include the following:
|London||Cultural programme featuring a conversation between political scientist Louise Richardson and journalist Julie Etchingham; music by Joy Crookes, FEARS/Constance Keane and Aislinn Logan; and poetry by Martina Evans and Sinead O’Brien. Programme here
|Paris||A programme featuring the events ‘Leadership in Music: Women Conductors’ with award-winning Irish composer of video game music Eimear Noone, Aurore Tillac and Lucie Leguay; ‘Designing the Future’ with Grafton architect Yvonne Farrell and Manuelle Gautrand; and a conversation with EU Commissioner Mairéad McGuinness. Programme here
|Berlin||‘Brigid Meets Berlin 2021’: two-day literary festival celebrating the best Irish female literary talent. Programme here
|Brussels||‘Women in Science and Medicine’ panel discussion moderated by Dr Antonia Hart, featuring Dr Norah Patton (faculty member at International Space University); Dr Ena Prosser (Partner at lifescience venture capital firm Fountain Healthcare Partners); Dr Ann van der Jeugd (Program Manager at Leuven Brain Institute) and Jessica Traynor (poet). Programme here
|Chicago||Month-long programme of events on Women in Design, with guests including Pritzker Prize winning Grafton Architect, Shelley McNamara and Yvonne Farrell. Programme here
|Madrid||A conversation with author Prof. Emilie Pine. Programme here
|Vancouver||Eight-day festival featuring guests including academic and women’s and LGBTQ right campaigner Ailbhe Smyth, author Emma Donoghue and Northern Irish peace activist Monica McWilliams, in a Q&A on about the documentary film “Wave Goodbye to Dinosaurs”, the story of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition. Programme here|
|Washington, DC||‘Shooting for the Stars: A Celebration of Irish Women’s contribution to Space Exploration’, in association with NASA, Science Foundation Ireland and the Irish American Science Forum. Programme here
‘The Fire Gilders: A Celebration of Women Poets marking St. Brigid’s Day and Black History Month’, in association with Poetry Ireland and the African American Irish Diaspora Network. Featuring Amanda Johnston, Nithy Kasa, Kimberley Reyes, and Felicia Olusanya and MC’d by Clara Rose Thornton. Programme here
29 January 2021
NOTES TO EDITOR
On 1 February 2018, Embassy London hosted the inaugural St Brigid’s Day event, celebrating the talent and creativity of women through a broad programme of performances, talks and panel discussions.
Building on the success of that inaugural event, the Department’s celebration of St Brigid’s Day has grown into an expanded programme of events take place internationally over several days. It is coordinated by the Department’s Irish Abroad Unit in cooperation with Ireland’s Embassies and Consulates worldwide. In 2021, over 30 diplomatic missions will celebrate the pioneering and creative role of Irish women in various aspects of life – including fine art, science, literature, business, comedy, politics, poetry, theatre, music and sport. The events aim to showcase Ireland’s commitment to diversity and gender equality by celebrating the achievements of women, and acknowledging women’s contribution across the globe.
St. Brigid is one of Ireland’s three patron saints, alongside St. Columba and the world famous St. Patrick. The origins of her Feast Day, on 1 February, are thought to originally be a pagan festival called Imbolc, which honoured Brigid as the goddess of poetry, healing and fire, and marked the beginning of spring. Lá Fhéile Bríde celebrates the arrival of longer, warmer days, and an emergence from the darkness of winter.