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February 1 to February 4, 2023

‘There’s Room for Everyone Under Brigid’s Cloak’


Brigid Festival Vancouver 2023 offers free academic and cultural sessions under our inclusive theme: ‘There’s Room for Everyone Under Brigid’s Cloak".

Now in our fourth year, we’re delighted to present a four-day hybrid festival with a virtual session online on February 1, and in-person events from February 2 to 4. We explore the experiences of women through the medium of Brigid, Ireland’s triple goddess, and matron female saint.


Opening with an official welcome from Cathy Geagan the Consul General of Ireland to Western Canada on Wednesday, February 1, “Tending the Flame of St. Brigid” will feature the Brigidine Sisters of Kildare. This is an online event.

When St. Brigid built her monastery and church in Kildare town, she kept a sacred fire burning from pre-Christian times invoking a goddess named Brigid. For centuries the nuns in Kildare tended the flame before it was extinguished in the sixteenth century. 


The fire was re-lit at a ceremony in Kildare Market Square in 1993 and the Brigidine Sisters continue to tend the flame in their centre, Solas Bhríde while sharing the values and legacy of St. Brigid.

Thursday’s session will be our first in-person event since 2020 and will be held at the Consulate General of Ireland, Vancouver. We're very proud to present "Irish Women Leaders in Business,” a panel of four dynamic Irish businesswomen who work in industries ranging from hospitality and construction to leading-edge technology, and venture capital funding. This after-work gathering on February 2 offers an opportunity to network, socialize and hear the stories of these remarkable women and to learn about their achievements.


It will feature the following four industry leaders:

Aoife Dowling -- Director of Banking Applications with VanCity Credit Union

Laura Donnellan -- Business Partner and Human Resources Manager at IRL Group

Lynsey Thornton – Founding Partner of Backbone Angels

Niamh Cunningham -- Senior Product Manager at Google

Next morning enjoy coffee and hospitality from 10 AM to 12 noon with the Irish Women’s Network of BC at the Consulate General of Ireland. This is an opportunity to welcome Bridget Brownlow who will be the keynote speaker the following day on February 4. Bridget is the Coordinator of Experiential Learning: Peace, Reconciliation and Development at Saint Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and her work involves grassroots peace education and conflict resolution programming in Northern Ireland. In 2021 she was awarded the Irish Presidential Distinguished Service Award for Peace, Reconciliation and Development by President Michael D. Higgins.

Our main event is Saturday, February 4 with a full day showcase presentation entitled “There’s Room for Everyone Under Brigid’s Cloak.” This day dedicated to Brigid will feature our keynote speaker, Brigid cross-weaving, music, poetry, storytelling, hospitality, and much more. A full day of events in downtown Vancouver at the SFU Segal Building at the corner of Granville and Pender Streets.

Doors open at 11:30 AM with registration and the heavenly strings of harpist Rebecca Blair. Hospitality with coffee and tea will be available as Irish Canadian artist Deirdre Keohane offers Brigid cross-weaving instruction. Well-known west of Ireland storyteller Philomena Jordan will offer an entertaining insight into Brigid/St. Brigid. The Irish Women of the Diaspora return this year again led by SFU academic Dara Culhane to offer performance readings by Oonagh Berry, Marie Bruce, Sharon Brown, and Maura De Freitas.

Finally, Irish Consul General Cathy Geagan will welcome our keynote speaker Bridget Brownlow (read her bio here). The event will close with a reception, a cash bar, and music by an all-female trad ensemble led by Ita Kane-Wilson.

Ita Kane-Wilson, Denise Dalton, Sal Gallagher.jpg

An all-female ensemble of Irish trad musicians led by Ita Kane-Wilson will close out the all-day showcase presentation on Saturday, February 4, 2023. Pictured left to right: Ita Kane Wilson, Denise Dalton, and Sal Gallagher.


The elegant SFU Segal Building is located at 500 Granville Street (corner of Pender), in downtown  Vancouver, conveniently located close to the Skytrain and other public transportation. Doors open at 11:30 AM on Saturday, February 4 for our all-day showcase of music, poetry, storytelling, and much more to honour Ireland's goddess/patroness saint: Brigid / St. Brigid.

See the full program of events here.

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