Brigh Brigaid – c. 59 – Feisin, Ireland




Historical map of Ireland

Brigh Brigaid, (also Briugaid or Brughaidh), was a woman who held the office of Judge (Brehon) in ancient Ireland.

We know about Brigh from the Senchus Mór, a compendium of Celtic laws in Ireland. Her decisions were cited as precedents for centuries after her death.

The role of Brehons during this time was to administer the Brehon law. Brigh Brigaid was likely a very well educated woman who understood and interpreted these laws, often citing legal precedents from memory.

Studying the Brehon law in full took around twenty years, and they were written in the form of rhyming poems in order to make them easier to remember.

Redwood castle built by the Normans in 1200 CE and later used as a school of law for Brehons

Redwood castle built by the Normans in 1200 CE and later used as a school of law for Brehons

Legal disputes would have been mostly clan feuds over land or goods. Brehons were given land to live off as part of their roles and were respected members of the community. Over time, the position became hereditary, so it is possible that Brigh’s father passed the role onto her.


Ancient Laws and Institutes of Ireland vol.1

A Social History of Ancient Ireland

On Wikipedia:

Image Credits:

Wenceslas Hollar – Ireland (State 2)” by Wenceslaus Hollar – Artwork from University of Toronto Wenceslaus Hollar Digital CollectionScanned by University of TorontoHigh-resolution version extracted using custom tool by User:Dcoetzee.

Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

Redwood Castle” by Steve Ford Elliott – Steve Ford Elliott.

Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons




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