The Celtic world in pre-Christian times was devoted to the goddess Brigit, the all encompassing goddess of healing, farming (particularly dairy), crafts (particularly smith crafts and poetry, the craft of words) and fire. At Brigit's shrine at Kildare an ever burning sacred fire was kept lit in her honor by all female devotees. This shrine was later claimed by the church and there was built a convent. Brigit was canonized as St. Brigit and Catholic tradition had it that as a Druid convert to Christianity St.Brigit founded this the first convent in Ireland.
Not only as a keeper of the goddess Brigit's sacred fire, many of the attributes and mythology of the ancient goddess was attributed St.Brigit.It was believed that flowers sprung up from where she walked and at springtime her cloak passed over the earth to bring it back to life. Asthe "Queen of Heaven" she was considered by ancient Celts on a par with Mary the mother of Christ, some legends even referring to her as her sister, and as the nursemaid to the infant Christ child, feeding him with her sacred milk. In a popular spell to protect against the evil eye, she was invoked as "The Great White Mary sent to Bride (Brigit) the lovely fair."
Brigit herself was considered in popular Irish mythology to be both mystic mother and bride of St. Patrick. Some legends have it that St. Patrick died as one of her sacrificial victims and entered the underworld via her sacred grove at Derry Down. As the old Distich went, "On the hill of Down, burried in one tomb, were Bridget and Patricius."
An Irish slave who grew to become bishop, St. Patrick is credited for traveling all over converting the Irish to Christianity. Patrick's name meant "father" and historians believe he may have been seen in the eyes of the ancient Irish as a new version of Brigit's old consort The Dagda or "father god(s)". The Dagda, also known as "the good god", was the Celtic God of the earth and plenty. As snakes were symbols of both the earth and the male life force, it is no wonder that they showed up in St.Patrick's most popular legend. The legend of St. Patrick driving the snakes from Ireland has come to be accepted as an allegory, as snakes were sacred to the Druids and also represented in Celtic thought esoteric knowledge.
We are thankful to Pamelina Tapia to provide this information to us.