Marian keeping St Brigid cross tradition alive

A DUNDALK woman who makes over 1,000 St Brigid’s Day crosses in just over a month for charity is looking for volunteers to help.

Marian Callan from Wolfe Tone Terrace makes the popular crosses made from reeds for St Nicholas’ Church.

The mother-of-four told the Dundalk Leader that the church sells the crosses to raise money for local charities such as the Louth Hospice.
“I learned how to make St Brigid’s Day Crosses at Kilcurry National School. I lived there for a few years,” said Marian.

“Years later, as an adult, I had neighbours on Linenhall Street called Paddy McCourt and his wife, Mary Agnes.
“They made crosses for years and Paddy also raised money for the St Brigid’s Shrine to have it refurbished.”

Marian added: “I’ve collected reeds to make the crosses in various places over the years. When I was younger, myself and my sister, Florence, used to collect reeds out the Armagh Road.
“We used to make crosses for family and friends. I got reeds out in Omeath and past the Magic Hill once.
“More recently, I collect reeds out in Bellurgan. I’m looking for volunteers because I’m 68-years-old now.”

She continued: “I need some help gathering the reeds and also it would be lovely to pass on all that I’ve learned to other people.
“I gave a demonstration on how to make the St Brigid’s Day crosses at the sacristy behind St Patrick’s Cathedral on Monday, January 29.

“I’ve sent 100 crosses to The Marist Church to be sold to help raise money for the missions and 100 have gone to the Louth Hospice shop.”
Marian said: “I start making the crosses on January 1 each year. I can’t do it any earlier as the crosses would lose their colour.

“I finish up on the weekend of the St Brigid’s Day bank holiday, so usually I make over 1,000 crosses.
“I even make them in the car when I’m waiting to pick up my grandchildren from school. I’ve nine grandchildren. I enjoy doing it. I don’t know what it is, but it’s very relaxing.

She concluded: “My 13-year-old granddaughter, Aoibhe, knows how to make the crosses and she taught some of the children at the Friary last year.
“I also gave a tutorial on how to make the crosses to 1st class pupils at the Friary on Monday last. My seven-year-old granddaughter, Anna Nixon, is in 1st class at the Friary.”

If any member of the public is interested in volunteering to help Marian make St Brigid’s Day Crosses, please contact the Sacristy behind St Patrick’s Cathedral.

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