‘St Brigid’s Cloaks’ installation created entirely from Irish grown wool

St Brigid’s Cloaks’ installation unveiled in St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare on 27th January 2024

A new community artwork celebrating rural communities, heritage crafts, and sustainable industries was unveiled in St Brigid’s Cathedral, in conjunction with the Brigid 1500 celebrations across the county. The artwork ‘St Brigid’s Cloaks’ consists of four handmade wool tapestries, thoughtfully crafted through a series of educational workshops led by Wool in School, in association with Creative Ireland and Kildare County Council.

This ambitious community art initiative began as the ‘Wall of Wool’, a Creative Ireland audience participation project for visitors to the Culture, Creativity, Innovation and Sport tent at the 2023 National Ploughing Championships. Visitors to the tent completed short knitting challenges which were then attached to a final knitted collage representing St Brigid’s cloak. Since September, hundreds of people from County Kildare have made their own contributions to the project through workshops hosted by Kildare Town Community Library. The completed ‘cloak’ now consists of four large panels created by more than 950 participants from around the country, including 250 Kildare school children.

Created entirely from Irish grown wool, this contemporary manifestation of St Brigid’s cloak highlights the value of knitting as a creative past time which is beneficial for the health and wellbeing of everyone living in Ireland’s rural community, and will create a beautiful backdrop to the celebrations and commemoration of the legacy of St Brigid at St Brigid’s Cathedral in Kildare Town in 2024.

Wool in School director Lorna McCormack and lead artist Michelle Hickey Legge have been key to the successful delivery of the project. Both are enthusiastic supporters of Irish wool and sustainability practices, and their crafting workshops enabled both new and experienced knitters to contribute to the collaborative tapestries. The tapestries are thoughtfully crafted; each panel is surrounded by a border of Aran squares, each hand knit by older experienced knitters from around Ireland who were unable to attend the Ploughing Championships. Their beautiful heritage knitting patterns frame the vibrant and textural wool elements which were made by children, farmers, and community members new to wool and heritage crafts. The cloaks are made exclusively from Irish wool from Donegal Yarns, Galway Wool, Ciaran’s Yarns, and Eriu.

All are welcome to view the tapestries in St Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare Town on Saturday January 27th from 11am-3pm, organised by Wool in School and kindly hosted by the cathedral committee. Very Rev Isobel Jackson, Dean of St. Brigid’s Cathedral, says, “St. Brigid’s Cathedral, Kildare is delighted and honoured to be first to host the display of the ‘St Brigid’s Cloaks’ tapestries. Fittingly so, as we are surrounded by the lands of the Curragh often referred to as St. Brigid’s Pastures. The wonderful creation of cloaks in our native Irish grown wool is very appropriate to celebrate the legacy of St. Brigid in this year when we remember this remarkable Irish Saint through the events of Brigid 1500. The professional planning, talented insight and craft of so many people in creating these works of art are a delightful reflection on the woman who was known for her creativity, for bringing people together and inspiring them with her generous spirit. Having four pieces representing the provinces, using traditional Aran knit stitching in Irish wool all contribute to this unique reflection of St. Brigid. Our prayer is that it will inspire further and spiritually uplift all who come to see it.”

Lorna McCormack, Director of Wool in School, says: “I am thrilled to be involved in an incredible project that unites generations to produce stunning pieces using the versatility of Irish grown wool, like these four St Brigid’s cloaks. When people unite in harmony, we can truly see the inherent beauty that arises. Discovering this is a powerful experience.” 

Lorna McCormack: Project Manager & Director Wool In School
Michelle Hickey Legge: Lead Artist
Creative Ireland
Kildare County Council


Creative Communities
Harnessing the creative potential of our people and communities is a cornerstone of the Creative Ireland Programme. In each of the 31 local authorities, the Creative Ireland Programme has established a Culture and Creativity Team which brings together local expertise in arts, heritage, libraries, enterprise and community engagement, to foster collaboration and spark new initiatives. With the help of local artists, creatives, cultural and heritage organisation and community groups across the country, each local authority has created a new five-year Culture & Creativity Strategy 2023-2027. These are designed to enable people to work together to transform their communities, their lives and their environment through creativity.

Creative Ireland Programme
Creative Ireland is a five-year programme which connects people, creativity and wellbeing. We are an all-of-government culture and wellbeing programme that inspires and transforms people, places and communities through creativity. We are committed to the vision that every person in Ireland should have the opportunity to realise their full creative potential. www.creativeireland.gov.ie

Wool in School
Wool in School is a wool inspired education company. We are committed to increasing the awareness of wool, its production and sustainable qualities in the School, Home and Community environment. We introduce children, teachers and families to the amazing qualities of wool and fibres. Showcasing their sustainability and how they deserve a place in our future in the midst of our ongoing battle with climate change and environment renewal. www.woolinschool.com