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Buildings across Ireland lit up in honour of mother and baby home survivors

Irish people have been urged to sign a petition to make Brigid’s Day a national holiday.

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The names of children who died at Bessborough mother and baby home are projected onto Athlone Castle in Co West Meath as part of the Herstory Light Show to celebrate St Brigid’s Day. Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021.

The names of children who died at Bessborough mother and baby home are projected onto Athlone Castle in Co West Meath as part of the Herstory Light Show to celebrate St Brigid’s Day. Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021.

The names of children who died at Bessborough mother and baby home are projected onto Athlone Castle in Co West Meath as part of the Herstory Light Show to celebrate St Brigid’s Day. Picture date: Monday February 1, 2021.

Landmarks across Ireland have been lit up to honour survivors of mother and baby homes as part of an event to mark St Brigid’s Day.

A light show took place at various locations across the country, including Athlone Castle and Sean Ross Abbey in Roscrea.

The Herstory Light Show saw the buildings illuminated with images associated with mother and baby homes, which historian and campaigner Catherine Corless investigated.

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An image of St Brigid projected as part of the Herstory Light Show on St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

An image of St Brigid projected as part of the Herstory Light Show on St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

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An image of St Brigid projected as part of the Herstory Light Show on St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

February 1, St Brigid’s Day, marks the beginning of spring and the Celtic festival of Imbolc, once honoured as the feast of the goddess.

Those behind Herstory have called for the Irish public to sign a petition to make Brigid’s Day a national holiday.

Herstory founder Melanie Lynch said: “This year the Herstory Light Show journeys into the very heart of Ireland, to awaken the healing powers of Brigid and the compassion to process the wound of the mother and baby home scandal.

“Ireland is left disturbed and heartbroken by the cruel and inexcusable treatment of mothers and children.

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A nun in red holding a crucifix projected as part of the Herstory Light Show on St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

A nun in red holding a crucifix projected as part of the Herstory Light Show on St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

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A nun in red holding a crucifix projected as part of the Herstory Light Show on St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare (Niall Carson/PA)

“Their trauma is the nation’s trauma.

“I am calling on our politicians and Government to join us and support Ireland as she heals, rising to become one of the most compassionate, caring and inclusive countries in the world.“

The project, entitled Sovereignty, is a specially commissioned photographic series created by photographer Myriam Riand and conceptual artist Aine O’Brien.

Ms Lynch said that it reclaims and re-imagines the mother archetype which has been “historically dictated and defined by Church and State”.

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Christine Barry and her sons Sean four and two-year-old Oran bless themselves in the water as they visit St Brigid’s holy well in Co Kildare to mark St Brigid’s Day (Niall Carson/PA)

Christine Barry and her sons Sean four and two-year-old Oran bless themselves in the water as they visit St Brigid’s holy well in Co Kildare to mark St Brigid’s Day (Niall Carson/PA)

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Christine Barry and her sons Sean four and two-year-old Oran bless themselves in the water as they visit St Brigid’s holy well in Co Kildare to mark St Brigid’s Day (Niall Carson/PA)

Ms O’Brien said: “Our aim of this project is to illuminate the spark in Irish women’s hearts, showing Ireland the diversity and strength of its women.

“A walk through the portal to a world where the feminine is adored, nurtured and protected.

“A transformation.

“To let go of the past, rebirth the now and live in their new found sovereign power.”

PA


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