St Bridget wanted land to build her abbey. The local chieftain offered her as much land as her cloak would cover. St Bridget laid her cloak on the ground and it spread, and spread, and spread until it covered a very large area indeed. And that is how she built her abbey.
I have always liked St Bridget. She is a patron saint of Ireland and was a powerful woman among men in the emerging Irish Christian church. Her name is the name of the goddess who was before her, in the time of the druids. Her feast day is the 1st of February: spring arriving after winter.
When we first came to live here, we had a paddock, mainly covered in brambles, with a large ditch as a western boundary. We knew that the boundary was in fact somewhere behind that ditch but did not know where. Over the years we cleared the paddock, re-seeded, and had horses here (owned by friends) for short periods of time. When we came to build the stable, we cleared some of the ditch and so the stable did not encroach on the existing paddock. Mali came here for the summer.
When I decided on a track system, we did further clearance and this section of the track is all on re-claimed land. The old ditch is on the left of the photo.
We decided with our neighbour that it would be wise to get the boundary surveyed properly. Guess what? We own even more land. This is a slice of it that extends into the old pheasant cage shown below. Enough to fit a small (20 x 20m) sand arena.
My sister visited us this weekend. She made the link with St Bridget. She said that as my knowledge and experience of horses has grown, so has the land. Just like St Bridget’s cloak.
Is it any coincidence that my second name is Bríd – Irish for Bridget?
Ben’s favourite part of the reclaimed land: