St Bridget’s Cathedral was built on top of the same site that St Brigid founded her nunnery in the 5th century a.d. It is believed that Brigid’s mother was kidnapped by Irish pirates from Portugal and brought to Ireland as a slave (just like St. Patrick.) Inspired by Patrick’s teachings, she dedicated her life to working for God and looking after the poor, the sick and the elderly. Brigid founded many convents all over Ireland however this one became one of the most prestigious monasteries in Ireland and in Christian Europe. She also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination. This Cathedral was built between 1223 and 1230 by the first English Bishop; Ralph of London. It has had many restorations over the centuries and was almost entirely rebuilt in 1886. It’s grounds contain a 96 foot high round tower and a 9 foot granite high cross. Inside the Cathedral is a rich assortment of beautifully carved cross slabs, grave slabs, effigies and tomb chest. One of the most striking features inside the Cathedral was the tomb chest of Walter Wellesley, a former bishop of Kildare. There is also an interesting carving of a ‘female exhibitionist’ that resembles a sheela-na-gig!

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