St. Brigid's Cross (Cros Bhrighite)

Water rushes are the traditional material for the St. Brigid's Cross. All materials should be blessed before construction. Be sure to keep them wet but not too wet, as they will mold and rot. A quick alternative for children's crafts is to use plastic drinking straws (if they come individually wrapped, leave them in their wrappers as it adds to the effect). Crosses are made from pieces of rush about 8-12 inches long, but any size will do down to a design the size of an earring or large enough to place over a mantle or door.

Cross 1

1. Find 9) 8-12 inch rushes (or drinking straws) and 4 strips of bound straw or string (rubber bands as substitute).

2. Hold one of the rushes vertically.

3. Fold a second rush in half horizontally over and at a right angle over the center of the first rush with the second pointing to the right.

4. Grasp the center where they overlap tightly between thumb and fore-finger. Turn the two rushes held together 90 degrees counter clockwise (the two ends of the second will be pointing upwards.)

5. Fold a third rush in half over both parts of the second horizontally from left to right and snug the inside of the fold up against the center and the second straw. Hold tight.

6. Rotate the assembly 90 degrees counter clockwise. (left). The bottom half of the first rush and the 3rd will now be pointing upward.

7. Fold a new rush in half over and across all the rushes pointing up. Snug the new rush tightly against the center and against the vertical rushes.

8. Holding the center tightly rotate all rushes (the entire assembly) 90 degrees counter clockwise.

9. Fold a new rush in half over all vertical straws from left to right and snug up to center and to the right.

10. Repeat Steps 8-9 until all the rushes have been used. Hold tight to the center.

11. Secure the last arm of the cross with the straw or string (rubber bands). Then secure the other arms.

12. Place the cross on a flat surface to dry. You may wish to seal or paint the rushes when dry with a paint of your choice. If using straws, be careful not to damage the wrappers or use too much paint.

Cross 2

1. Tie nine straws together at their ends. Spread them as shown with the tied end facing down (three down and two each in the other directions.)

2. Fold the front straw of the three under the other two.

3. Bring it up and over to be alongside the two at the nest corner.

4. Completed cross is shown in Image 4

(Source: Joan Rendell, Your Book of Corn Dollies.)

Cross 3

Two sticks and either rushes or wire or paper twist.

1. Secure the two sticks together at right angles with string or tape creating 4 spokes.

2. Pull rush or wire from center under the X over the top across the center to the left. Then under the bottom left spoke then over the upper left spoke then curve back under it and continue in a clockwise direction. There should be a few inches of sticks remaining exposed on each spoke.

A completed example with smaller crosses on spokes

Other Brigid's Cross Examples

A Crios Bride (St.Brighid's Girdle)

A Bogha Bride

Brigid's Cross from County Donegal

Brigid's Cross from County Derry