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Brigit's Garden (Gairdin Bhride)

 This unique attraction just outside Galway city centers itself around the theme of the seasonal festivals celebrated by the ancient Celtic people. There are four gardens - Samhain, Imbolc, Bealtaine and Lughnasa, each named for the festival and designed to represent the seasons and the stages of the cycle of life from conception and birth through reproduction and death. They are also designed to complement the native landscape features of western Ireland.

The Samhain Garden marks the beginning of the Celtic cycle, celebrated with the festival at Halloween. It consists of a serene pool of water encircled by sparse birch trees, with an island in the centre of the pool. On the island rests the bronze figure of a woman, adorned with a covering of leaves. The design represents the quiet reflective time of the winter season, in preparation for the new beginnings of the birth of spring.

The Imbolc Garden is representative of spring, and the festival celebrated on February 1st, also known as St. Brigit's Day. The garden features an orchard and meadow, and a play area with basketwork swings representing beginnings and childhood.

The Bealtaine Summer Garden is set in a meadow and features the bed of Diarmud and Grianne, the young lovers. A ring of wildflowers surrounds it. The sculpture called The Flame Figures, as well as the throne made of oak, symbolize the season of coming into adulthood and claiming power in the prime of the cycle and life.

The Lughnasa Autumn Garden is named for the mythical hero Lugh Lamh Fada, and the festival bearing his name, which begins in August and celebrates the harvest. The garden expresses its theme using vegetable beds, herbs and flowers. A group of standing stones mark off an area for dancing, and three yew trees at the exit represent death and the end of the yearly Celtic cycle.

At the centre of the four gardens sits a roundhouse, built as a shelter for meetings and meditation. The park also features a nature trail and provides educational sessions for both adults and children. Mary Reynolds, winner of the Chelsea Flower Show in 2002, designed these amazing gardens.


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