Rita O’Loughlin has always been passionate about Irish heritage and local communities.
Originally from Dublin she moved to Portarlington Co. Laois 20 yrs ago. ‘A small town with a huge heart’ as she describes it.
She started the award winning @mybratbhride with the help of the Port Art Collective, a group of
local artists that came together to support and promote each other’s work.
The tradition of the Brat Bhride was passed to Rita by her Mother.
Together they upcycled and embroidered preloved scarves with spirals of colourful wool, gifting
them to friends and family as Brigid healing shawls.
This tradition was quite normal in rural Ireland many years ago, when access to doctors was not as
easy as it is today. With firm belief and devotion to the healing power of St Brigid, it was common
place for women to leave a shawl or a piece of cloth outside on the eve of Brigid’s day, as an offering
to the Goddess/Saint and she in turn would imbue it with special healing powers.
It was then taken inside and kept in a safe place to be wrapped around anyone who fell ill.
After her mother died, Rita decided to set up a voluntary innitive showing people of all ages and
abilities how to make their own brat bhride from a preloved scarf which they could keep or gift to
The project continues to go from strength to strength.
She has been all over Ireland promoting the innitive in schools, women’s sheds, rehab centres,
libraries and many festivals.
There is no skill set required and the aim of this project is to promote a revival of the Brat
Bhride tradition across Ireland at a community level, embracing togetherness, celebrating
communities and cherishing our heritage by involving the wisdom and experience of older members