Thursday 7 January 2016

Saint Brigh of Coirpre, January 7

January 7 is the feast of an obscure Irish holy woman, Brigh of Coirpre. She is one of the many who simply have their names recorded in the calendars at the date of their commemoration, but about whom nothing else is known. Canon O'Hanlon, in the absence of any further details, raises the possibility that she may be Brigh or Briga of Annadown, Co. Galway. The hagiographical tradition records that she was a sister to Saint Brendan the Navigator and indeed such was the relationship between the pair that they were even described by one writer as 'The Benedict and Scholastica of Ireland'.  I can't see that in his brief account below Canon O'Hanlon really backs up his suggestion that Saint Brendan's sister is the Brigh of Coirpre commemorated today. The name is one of the most commonly found in hagiographical sources and the majority of the saints who bear it are untraceable.

St. Brigh, of Coirpre, or of Annaghdown, County Galway.

About this saint's identity, a considerable amount of doubt must yet be entertained.  We find simply entered, in the Martyrology of Donegal, on this day, Brigh, of Coirpre. The life of Brenann, son of Flinnlogh of Cluain-Ferta, proclaims that he had a sister named Brigh; but the same life states, that she was of Enach-Duin. The present saint is recorded, in the Martyrology of Tallagh, at the 7th of January, as being Brige, Corpre.  Annaghdown is in the county of Galway, and here there are yet extant several interesting vestiges of antiquity.

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