West Kilbride is one of numerous places on the Celtic fringes of the British Isles that takes its name from Saint Brigid, who stands alongside Patrick and Columba as a patron saint of Ireland. There is no evidence that Brigid ever set foot in Scotland, despite her widespread influence and esteem.
In large part the testimonies about Brigid are fanciful and unreliable, yet there is a consensus that she was born in 451, in County Louth, to a pagan chieftain and a Pictish slave-girl who was converted and baptised by Patrick. Refusing offers of marriage, she preferred to take religious orders. Her vocation as a nun eventually led her to settle in Druin Criadh where, under a large oak tree, she founded a convent – Cill-Dara, or Kildare, the church of the oak. This grew into an internationally renowned centre of religion, learning and arts, with cathedral city…
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