St Brigid's students go back to the well

By Joanne Jordan, principal, St Brigid’s School, Mullingar

February 1 brings the first day of spring to Ireland and celebrations of St Brigid. After the last two years of restrictions due to Covid-19, there was great excitement among our 83 students as we announced on Monday that we would be making what used to be our annual trip to St Brigid’s well on Wednesday.

As a principal who took up the post just as the covid pandemic hit, it is great to see things gradually returning to normal for our school community. Wellbeing is our primary focus in school this year and the mention of walking to the well certainly perked up all the staff and students.

Many of our students who started in St Brigid’s over the last few years had heard about the walk to St Brigid’s Well but had yet to take part in it.

St Brigid’s School used to walk the well every year (pre-Covid) alongside the Confirmation classes from other schools in the parish, who would then join us in the PE hall for treats afterwards.

It is an event that has been greatly missed from our school calendar. We are still conscious of high numbers of visitors in school this year and hope to invite the other schools to join us for St Brigid’s day 2024.

Students in all class levels have been working on the story of St Brigid across all aspects of the curriculum. Mr Tifft set up stations in the PE hall for senior classes to make St Brigid’s crosses to be blessed during the prayer service.

Other classes made crosses from pipe cleaners, or using paper weaving techniques – the art and creative skills displayed by our students are phenomenal.

St Brigid’s Story Boards were designed and decorated to display on the school notice boards, among many other fabulous art creations, including classes making St Brigid’s cloak from fabric squares.

There wouldn’t be a moment’s doubt for any visitor to our school this week in regards to our namesake.

The students in St Brigid’s are blessed with the amazing staff who work with them from bus escort, teachers, SNAs, ancillary staff and volunteers. Everyone pulled together as a team to ensure that all students were included and able to participate in the walk, ensuring a day of fun for all, from start to finish.

As principal, my job is made so much easier by having staff who always prioritise the inclusion of all students and go above and beyond on a daily basis to help all children achieve their true potential.

Staff and students wrapped in coats, hats and high-vis vests to prepare for any weather eventuality, we were determined that nothing would stop us this year from walking out to St Brigid’s Well. With the grey clouds looming above us, we set off in high spirits and fingers crossed that the rain would hold off.

St Brigid was certainly watching out for us as we made it to the well and back without a drop of rain.

We saw a few other schools out on a walk to the well as we were on our return trip, and were delighted to meet them on the way and glad to hear they got back to their schools nice and dry also.

Fr Norman, school chaplain, joined us and led our prayer service at the well and he blessed our St Brigid’s Crosses. Students from three different classes read prayers, which helped to make the service personal to our students.

Some of the students conquered personal goals at the well by reading out loud in front of the whole school for the first time – in true St Brigid’s School style, we like to build learning targets into every aspect of our school life.

Fr Norman is a great support to our school and attends all our prayer services and celebrations, and we are grateful for his generosity and time.

The day was rounded off with another St Brigid’s School tradition as Kathleen made homemade soup and bread for all the students and staff.

It is safe to say everyone had a great day and we are thankful as a school community to have the opportunity to celebrate St Brigid’s Day in style.