1O'Brien, Henry. The Round Towers of Ireland: Or, The History of the Tuath-de-danaans. London: Parbury and Allen, 1834. xlii.
O'Brien further noted: "These, I conceive, were the halcyon days of Ireland's legendary and romantic greatness. In this sequestered isle, aloof from the tumults of a bustling world, this Tuath-de-danaan colony, all of a religious race, and all disposed to the pursuits of literature, united into a circle of international love, and spread the fame of their sanctity throughout the remotest regions of the universe." (p. 517)
Obrien's text may be read in its entirely here.

2Cambrensis, Giraldus. The Topography of Ireland. (originally published 1187) in The Historical Works of Giraldus Cambrensis, Thomas Wright, ed. London: George Bell and Sons, 1882. 97.
The author continued: "Not that [the fire]cannot be extinguished, but the nuns and holy women tend and feed it, adding fuel, with such watchful and diligent care, that from the time of the Virgin, it has continued burning through a long course of years; and although such heaps of wood have been consumed during this long period, there has been no accumulation of ashes...As in the time of St. Brigit twenty nuns were here engaged in the Lord's warfare, she herself being the twentieth, after her glorious departure, nineteen have always formed the society, the number having never been increased. Each of them has the care of the fire for a single night in turn, and, on the evening before the twentieth night, the nun, having heaped wood upon the fire, says, 'Brigit, take charge of your own fire; for this night belongs to you.' She then leaves the fire, and in the morning it is found that the fire has not gone out, and that the usual quantity of fuel has been used."
This text may be read in its entirety here.

3Leerssen, Joep. Remembrance and Imagination: Patterns in the Historical and Literary Representation of Ireland in the Nineteenth Century. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame in Association with Field Day, 1997. 111.
Leerssen comments: "O'Brien started out from four clues. One was the Round Towers look like erect penises; the second... was that the word 'Erin' looks like the word 'Iran'; the third was that Iran lies in the east, the cradle of Irish civilization, and that in the east there are pagodas, which, to the extend that they look like Round Towers, also look like erect penises, and the fourth one (clinching the matter) was that the Gaelic word for penis, bod, looks like the first syllable in the word 'Buddhism', denoting an eastern religion. The rest follows as a matter of course." (p. 118) .
In O'Brien's own book from 1834, however, he includes in the prefix a number of favorable reviews:
"'Astonishing talents, wonderful learning, powers of deep research and mental scope.'—Metropolitan Magazine.
'A galaxy of discoveries the most interesting, and, were it not for the irresistible arguments by which they are confirmed, the most incredible, burst upon us at every page.'—People's Conservative.
'Marvelous analogies and discoveries Our wonder at the unparalleled variety of resources A rank from which it could not be deposed by envy or by criticism.'—Atlas."
(O'Brien, Henry. The Round Towers of Ireland: Or, The History of the Tuath-de-danaans. London: Parbury and Allen, 1834.)
Contrary to Victorian sensibilities, O'Brien uses the word "phallic" or "phallus" in his text no less than 16 times.

4"Kildare Cathedral, Ireland." County Kildare History and Heritage. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://kildare.ie/heritage/historic-sites/kildare-cathedral.asp>.
See also Wikipedia article on Kildare Cathedral.
A legend explains how Brigid received the land for her monastery from the high king of Leinster: The king offered her, obstinately, "as much land as her cloak would cover." However when Brigid set down her cloak it miraculously spread out to cover all the Kildare acreage she required.
One of her hagiographies, written c. 980, reported that the trunk of the saint's great oak tree remained in place in his own time: "In that place there stood a mighty oak tree, much beloved of Brigid, indeed blessed by her: the trunk survives to this day and none dare cut it with an axe. It possesses a property so great, that any person able to break off a part of it with their hands can hope thereby to win God's aid. Many miracles, by the blessings of Blessed Brigid, have been received through that oak tree." (Wright, Brian. Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint. Stroud [England: History, 2009. 51.)
In 2013 there were reported to be a Church of Ireland congregation of only 20 members holding its Sunday services in Kildare Cathedral during the its (open) summer season. While the major restoration of the structure was completed in 1896, additional work has been done to the cathedral in recent years as part of its centenary.

5Barrow, Lennox. The Round Towers of Ireland: a Study and Gazetteer. Dublin: Academy, 1979. 15.

6Leerssen 111.

7Barrow 37.

8Leerssen 118.
The author adds: "Unlike the mysteries and the irretrievable disparition of ancient Irish culture, lost, inaccessible and largely unknown, the Round Towers were still part of the here and now; they formed a physical link with a past that was so mysterious and unknown that it may just as well have been wholly non-existent." (p. 109).

9Historical Cloyne and Surrounds. Cloyne, Ireland, 2010.

10Westropp, T. J. "A List of the Round Towers of Ireland, with Notes on Those Which Have Been Demolished, and on Four in the County of Mayo". Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. 5 (1898 - 1900). 455.

11Barrow 38.

12"Irish Round Tower." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_round_tower>.

13Corlett, Chris. "Interpretation of Round Towers: Public Appeal or Professional Opinion?" Archaeology Ireland 12.2 (Summer, 1998): 26.

14"Irish Round Tower." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_round_tower>.

15"Why Round Towers?" Round Tower Churches Society. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. <http://dev.roundtowers.org.uk/why-round-towers-new/>.

16"Irish Round Tower." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_round_tower>.

17Barrow 18-23.

18"Irish Round Towers." Library Ireland: Irish History and Culture. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. <http://www.libraryireland.com/Antiquities/II-V.php/>.

19Keane, Marcu. The Towers and Temples of Ancient Ireland. Dublin: Hodges, Smith and Co. 1867. xix, xvii.

20Petrie, George. The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Ireland: An Essay on the Origin and Uses of the Round Towers of Ireland. Dublin: Hodges and Smith. 1845. ii.

21Bonwick, James. Irish Druids and Old Irish Religions. London: Griffith, Farran & Co.1894. 215.

22Wilkes, Anna. Ireland: Ur of-the Chaldees. London: Trübner & Co. 1873. 39, 44-50.

23Barrow 17.

24Petrie 3.

25Petrie 18.

26Barrow 32-3.

27"Dating Ancient Mortar - American Scientist." American Scientist Online. Web. 04 Mar. 2011. <http://www.americanscientist.org/issues/feature/dating-ancient-mortar/1>.

28Stalley, R. A. Irish round Towers. Dublin: Country House, 2000. 10.
"Victorian phallocentric Orientalism" is a quote from John Waddell. (Waddell, John. Foundation Myths: The Beginnings of Irish Archaeology. Bray, Co. Wicklow: Wordwell, 2005.)

29Callahan, Philip S. Ancient Mysteries, Modern Visions: the Magnetic Life of Agriculture. Kansas City, MO: Acres U.S.A., 1984. 36.

30O'Donovan, John, and Michael O'Flanagan, ed. Letters Containing Information Relative to the Antiquities of the County of Kildare. Vol. 13. Bray, 1927. 89, 211.

31Croker, Thomas Crofton. Researches in the South of Ireland: Illustrative of the Scenery, Architectural Remains, and the Manners and Superstitions of the Peasantry. London: John Murray, 1824. 261. Cited in Williams, W. H. A. Tourism, Landscape, and the Irish Character: British Travel Writers in Pre-famine Ireland. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin, 2008. 36.

32Corlett, Chris. "Interpretation of Round Towers: Public Appeal or Professional Opinion?" Archaeology Ireland 12.2 (Summer, 1998): 27.

33Aviva, Elyn, and Gary C. White. Powerful Places in Ireland. Santa Fe, NM: Pilgrims Process, 2011. 127.

34Lawrence, Lisa. "Pagan Imagery in the Early Lives of Brigit: A Transformation from Goddess to Saint?" Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 16/17 (1996/1997): 39+.
Carole M Cusack writes: "Tension exists between purely textual studies, which concentrate on demonstrating the Christian orthodoxy of the material in the vitae and the ways in which these texts contribute to knowledge of the early Irish Church, and the folkloric/comparative studies which indicate close ties with pre-Christian Irish religion and the transformation of Brigit from pagan goddess to Christian saint. This tension recently led Séamas Ó Catháin to suggest the term 'Holy Woman' for Brigit, which avoids favouring either pagan or Christian interpretations, side-stepping the otherwise inevitable 'bone of contention.'" (Cusack, Carole. "Brigit: Goddess, Saint, 'Holy Woman', and Bone of Contention." On a Panegyrical Note : Studies in Honour of Garry W Trompf. Sydney: Dept. of Studies in Religion, University of Sydney, 2007. 75.)
In addition to the rush-woven St. Brigid’s Cross, a simple doll made of rushes, the Bhrideog, was part of a St. Brigid's Day folk practice in parts of Ireland and England up until the middle of the 20th century. The doll was carried by children or young people, who visited households in the neighborhood and provided singing and dancing entertainment, perhaps to solicit some coins or refreshment. (Wright, Brian. Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint. Stroud [England]: History, 2009. 112.)

35Wright, Brian. Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint. Stroud [England]: History, 2009. 61+.
The author provides some evidence for his assertion that the rectangular "reconstruction" of St. Brigid's Fire Temple is not in fact located on the site of the original structure: "The layout of surrounding streets and a crop mark in a field to the north seems to indicate the line of the very much larger original inner enclosure, that may date back to pagan times. This contained the Fire House where the sacred flame was maintained, and the nunnery which was probably built on the site of the former Druidesses' dwellings adjacent to the site of the sacred flame, although the pagan fire temple probably stood in its own enclosure within this larger enclosure...In Holinshed's Irish Chronicle, published in I577, the Dublin chronicler Richard Stanihurst described how he had visited at Kildare 'a monument lyke a vaute, which to this day they call the firehouse.' On a map of I757 by John Rocque a 'fire castle' is shown to the north-west of the cathedral churchyard. This is almost certainly the same structure referred to in the sixteenth-century Dissolution documents for the nunnery as a 'small castle or fortlage', suggesting the Fire House was adjacent to this if it was not the actual building...In I837, when the surveyor John O'Donovan visited Kildare, he showed the site of the Fire House in the position indicated by Rocque to the west of the round tower and outside the churchyard wall, although it seems the remains of this building had been demolished by I798."

36"Brigid, Celtic Goddess of Fire." Brigid, Celtic Goddess of Inspiration and Healing. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/celtic-goddess-brigid.htm>.
The description of Brigid continues: "In Druid mythology, the infant goddess was fed with milk from a sacred cow from the Otherworld. Brigid owned an apple orchard in the Otherworld and her bees would bring their magical nectar back to earth."

37Aviva 127.

38"Kildare and Brighid - Sacred Site Tours of Ireland." Sacred Site Tours of Ireland. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://www.sacredsitetour.com/kildare-and-brighid-sacredsites-ireland>.
As Brian Wright put it, "The difficulty of creating fire is reflected in the importance of the perpetual fire In many religions all over the world...In many cases great importance was attached to keeping the ritual fire pure and uncontaminated, and since those chosen to tend such sacred fires had such an important role in religious practices, they too were expected to be pure and of high moral virtue." (Wright, Brian. Brigid: Goddess, Druidess and Saint. Stroud [England]: History, 2009. 77.)

39Thompson, Christopher Scott. "Loop of Brighid: What Is Brigidine Paganism?" Agora: The Central Hub of the Pagan Channel. Patheos: Hosting the Conversation on Faith, 3 Jan. 2013. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://www.patheos.com/blogs/agora/2013/01/what-is-brigidine-paganism/>.
The author's complete list of the different streams of Brighid devotion are explained in the link above, including Celtic Christian, Celtic Spirituality, Goddess Movement, Wiccan, Reconstructionist, Traditionalist, Neodruidic, and Brigidine Pagan.

40"Is Saint Brigid Really a Celtic Goddess?" Trias Thaumaturga: The Three Wonderworking Patrons of Ireland. 18 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2013. <http://triasthaumaturga.blogspot.com/2012/02/is-saint-brigid-really-celtic-goddess.html>.
Lisa Lawrence's translation of the text about Brigid from Cormac's Glossary: "Brigit, i.e. the poetess, daughter of the Dagda This is Brigit the female seer or woman of insight, i.e. the goddess whom poets used to worship, for her cult was very great and very splendid. It is for this reason that they call her (the goddess) of poets by this title, and her sisters were Brigit, the woman of smithcraft, i.e. the goddesses, i.e. three daughters of the Dagda are they." (Lawrence, Lisa. "Pagan Imagery in the Early Lives of Brigit: A Transformation from Goddess to Saint?" Proceedings of the Harvard Celtic Colloquium 16/17 (1996/1997): 41.)

41Lawrence 39.
According to Lawrence, "Pope Gregory [the Great] counseled Bishop Augustine [missionary to the English] not to destroy pagan shrines but to baptize them for Christian use. It is likely that the Irish missionaries adapted the same approach. As Pope Gregory points out, candidates for Christian conversion would naturally feel more at home in churches occupying the same sacred ground that the pagan sanctuaries had held." (p. 48.)

42Brenneman, Walter L., and Mary G. Brenneman. Crossing the Circle at the Holy Wells of Ireland. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1995. 98-9.
The traditional St. Brigid's holy well, thought to have pagan origins, is now at the edge of the parking lot of the Japanese Gardens. The more accessible location is the other St. Brigid's Well, at Brallistown Commons. It also has a long association with Brigid..
More information, and photographs, of the two holy wells dedicated to St. Brigid in Kildare may be viewed here.

43Minehan, Rita. Rekindling the Flame: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Brigid of Kildare. Kildare: Solas Bhride Community, 1999. 22.

44Cambrensis 99-100.
Of this (apparently lost) "Book of Kildare," Giraldus wrote: "Among all the miracles in Kildare, none appears to me more wonderful than that marvelous book which they say was written in the time of the Virgin [St. Brigit] at the dictation of an angel. It contains the Four Gospels according to St. John, and almost every page is illustrated by drawings illuminated with a variety of brilliant colours...you will find them so delicate and exquisite, so finely drawn, and the work of interlacing so elaborate, while the colours with which they are illuminated are so blended, and still so fresh, that you will be ready to assert that all this is the work of angelic, and not human, skill. The more often and closely I scrutinize them, the more I am surprised, and always find them new, discovering fresh causes for increased admiration."
This description of the "Book of Kildare" has invited comparisons with, and indeed suggests that Giraldus was actually viewing, the Book of Kells.
Giraldus' text may be read in its entirety here.
The description of Brigid's shrine was composed by Cogitosus in the seventh century. (Minehan, Rita. Rekindling the Flame: A Pilgrimage in the Footsteps of Brigid of Kildare. Kildare: Solas Bhride Community, 1999. 13.)

45When John de Courcy was consolidating his hold on Downpatrick after his 1177 victory there, he brought in a group of Benedictines in 1183 to assume religious dominance in the town. He is said to have ordered the bones of the other patron saints of the country, St. Brigid (d. 525 CE) and St. Columcille (d. 594 CE) to be exhumed and re-interred along with the supposed bones of St. Patrick on the cathedral hill of Downpatrick According to some sources, this may have been part of his effort to bolster his popular allegiance. "On the 9th of June 1196, on the feast day of St Columcille, in the presence of fifteen bishops, from all over Ireland and a large number of clergy, the relics of Sts. Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille were buried in one tomb with great solemnity." As the traditional Irish rhyme puts it:
"In Down three Saints one grave do fill –
Patrick, Brigid, and Columcille."

46Augusta, Lady Gregory. A Book of Saints and Wonders Put Down by Lady Gregory According to the Old Writings and the Memory of the People of Ireland. London: John Murray, 1907. 16.
This text may be read in its entirety here.
Irish poet and songwriter Thomas Moore also wrote of St. Brigid:

"Like the bright lamp that shone in Kildare's holy fane [shrine]
And burn'd through long ages of darkness and storm,
Is the heart that afflictions have come o'er in vain,
Whose spirit outlives them, unfading and warm!"
(Moore, Thomas. The Works of Thomas Moore. Vol. IV. Paris: Galignani, 1823. 71.)

47"Daughters of the Flame." Obsidian Magazine. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://www.obsidianmagazine.com/DaughtersoftheFlame/>.
According to this website: "On Imbolc, 1993, the Daughters of the Flame lit a fire in honour of the Goddess Brigit and the saint Bridget, modeled after the perpetual fire which once burned in Kildare. We share the task of tending the flame, on a twenty day rotation; each woman tends the fire in her own way, so that it is a solitary devotion linked to the devotions of a larger group. On the twentieth day the Goddess Herself keeps the flame alive. Instead of burning in one grove, temple, or monastery, it burns on personal altars, desks, and picnic tables in countries east and west, south and north."
Another web-base association of flamekeepers for Brigid is "Ord Brígideach International."

48CharlotteElaine. "Personal Stories: A Journey with the Flame." Ord Brighideach International. 23 Aug. 2012. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://ordbrighideach.org/raven/modules.php?name=News>.

49Minehan 26.
Different sources credit (or blame) the medieval extinguishing of St. Brigid's Flame to Ralph de Londres, Ralph of Bristol (Bishop of Kildare, d. 1232), or George Browne of Dublin.

50"Our Mission." Solas Brídhe Centre and Hermitages. Web. 23 Sept. 2013. <http://solasbhride.ie/our-mission/>.
The group looks favorably upon Celtic spirituality: "Celtic Spirituality has a profound sense of the presence of God in everyone and in everything. It is a spirituality nourished by ritual, tradition, contemplation, experience and story."

51Minehan 55.
The second part of the quotation is attributed to Monaghan, B. "St Brigid's Day." Spirituality (Dominican Publications) 5.January-February (1999): 3-4.


A more intact version of the "skull and crossbones" carving freatured in the gallery may be seen here. The image was modified from the one on this page.

The prayer card of St. Brigid with the triple-goddess figure on one side was found here.