The St. Brigid's cross is traditionally hung by the door and in the rafters of homes to protect the house from fire and evil. According to tradition, a new cross is made each St. Brigid's Day, and the old one is burned to protect the house from fire. It can also represent peace and goodwill, and it was even placed in cowsheds to safeguard animals and help cows to produce more milk.
St. Brigid, also known as “Mary of the Gael”, is an abbess and patroness of Ireland. She is furthermore the founder of the first Irish monastery in County Kildare, Ireland. Born in Dundalk in 450 AD, St. Brigid is accredited with first creating the unique cross which bears her name. This cross is normally hand-made from rushes or straw, however, our ones are made from willow, so they will last a lifetime.
Materials and Care:
Each cross measures approx 24cm in diameter. As they are hand-made from home-grown willow and truly unique, the size will differ and the colour will change as it ages. Trish Killalea from Island Willow makes her crosses with a special weave on one side and finishes each arm of the cross with a Japanese knot.
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Willow is a fast-growing, sustainable material due to its carbon sequestration, making it a carbon sink.
When kept dry, willow vessels will last a lifetime, but are completely biodegradable when returned to the earth.
There is zero carbon footprint for the willow used by Island Willow, as the 20 different varieties are all grown on-site in Lady’s Island. The catkins that flower on willow in February and March are an early food source for bees.
Trish harvests the willow entirely by hand, using secateurs and sorts the rods manually, depending on the colour, shape and size.