Thousands of schoolchildren across Co Kildare will come together on St. Brigid's Day to promote peace in their own communities and around the world.
Around 4,000 students from 13 secondary schools in Co Kildare will create a human St. Brigid's Cross at the Curragh Plains to mark St. Brigid's Day (February 1) as part of the second annual "Pause for Peace" movement.
If successful, the formation will set a world record for the most people coming together to form a live St. Brigid's Cross.
The event will be captured from the air by a drone and can be watched on the Into Kildare social media channels.
The 13 schools have joined forces with the Kildare tourism board Into Kildare and the Solas Bhríde Centre, a Christian spirituality center welcoming people of all faiths, for the upcoming project.
Students will call on people around the world to pause for a minute's silence at noon on February 1 as part of the Pause for Peace campaign.
John Hayes, Principal of Kildare Town Community School, which is participating in the campaign. described St. Brigid as a renowned peacemaker and a protector of nature.
"Pause for Peace recognizes the dreadful suffering and injustices that are happening all over the world and its objective is to ask people to stop and reflect on how they can promote peace in their own communities and in turn around the world," Hayes said in a statement.
"70 ‘Peace Ambassadors’ have been selected from 13 different secondary schools located around Co. Kildare and the students are all highly motivated and excited to be involved."
2023 marked Ireland's first official St. Brigid's Day bank holiday, which takes place on the first Monday in February (February 5 this year).
Áine Mangan, CEO of Into Kildare, said the new bank holiday is an opportunity for the Irish public to follow in the footsteps of St. Brigid, one of Ireland's three patron saints.
"There is massive interest in Brigid from a cultural, spiritual, and historical point of view. She isn’t solely a religious figure but is synonymous as a peacemaker and was in fact the first real climate activist as she was a protector and a custodian of the natural world," Mangan said in a statement.
Sr. Rita Minehan of Solas Bhríde said the Pause for Peace campaign sends out an anti-war message, adding that young people have an important role to play in the campaign.
"This movement for a Pause for Peace reflects a spiritual underpinning to the day and is consonant with the value of peace which Brigid stood for in her time," Sr. Rita said.
"By pausing for peace, we send out a message that we actively oppose warfare and the proliferation of arms, which wreak havoc on human beings as well as on the natural world. This movement aims to awaken and build a spirit of global solidarity in our search for peace."
The Curragh Plains boasts a deep connection to the story of St. Brigid.
According to legend, St. Brigid received land from the King of Leinster to build her first church. The king told her that she could have as much land as her cloak could cover and, miraculously, the cloak grew in size to cover the entire Curragh Plains. She subsequently built her first church on the edge of the plains in the shade of an oak tree.
Meanwhile, the Brigid 1500 festival will celebrate the 1,500th anniversary of St. Brigid's death this year. Several cultural events will take place across Kildare this spring, including concerts, talks, historical events, and meditative and wellness events.