The Brigid and Mary stories in Gaelic Culture: 'and anyway she was always going about with the Mother of God'

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Abstract
In the oral traditions of both Gaelic Ireland and Scotland, stories abound in which Mary, the Mother of God is assisted and supported by the dynamic, resourceful and miracle working Brigid. In most of these stories, the conflation of space and time is of little import. On a deep level these stories reflect and manifest an integration and reconciliation of potentially conflicting elements, a meeting place of Celt and Christian. Moreover they provided women with two powerful and divine feminine figures to apply to for protection, support and sympathy. With the decline of spoken Irish (and Scots Gaelic) however, the maternal spiritual universe of Ireland shrank under rising ideologies of rationality, and new constructions of femininity. An English speaking and increasingly centralised Catholicism reduced the Celtic divine feminine to a more minor role; one further elided in the diasporic communities who had lost both language and landscape.
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O'Connell, Mary Seaborne
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2007
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Conference Paper
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UNSW Faculty
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