Brigid: Flame of Justice & Peace is the overarching theme of the 28th Annual Feile Bride in Kildare Town. The Feile was launched in Solas Bhride Centre, January 16th and the programme of events promises to uplift spirits and put a spring in people’s steps as the year 2020 unfolds.
The Feile commences on Friday, January 31st with the annual pilgrimage of quiet reflection, song and prayer at St. Brigid’s well, which attracts people from near and far.
St. Brigid’s day brings many visitors, national and international, to Kildare town where they will have the opportunity to weave a St. Brigid’s cross, participate in a workshop that revisits some of the traditions and customs associated with St. Brigid, take a walking tour around Kildare’s monastic city, treat themselves to a Legends of Kildare Virtual Reality experience and much more. St. Brigid’s Treasure Trail invites children to explore, in a fun way, some of the sites associated with St. Brigid.
The Feile has a week long programme of creative events which will cater for all ages and many interests. It will be a festival of music, dance, weaving, reflection, poetry, discussion and will also issue a challenge to create a more caring, just and peaceful world. Events will be hosted by Solas Bhride Centre, The Heritage Centre, The Library and Kildare Education Centre.
The Feile Bride Concert on Friday, February 7th features Steve Cooney and Cormac Breatnach. A unique and magical night of music is promised. Don’t miss it!
The Feile concludes on Saturday, February 8th with the Afri Justice and Peace Conference which will creatively address issues concerning the future of planet earth. Afri sees this Conference as a response to Greta Thunberg’s call to action. “We must rekindle the flame, revitalize our energies, re-wild whenever and wherever possible, and restore our awesome planet to its former glory.” Joe Murray, Afri.
For information on all events contact Solas Bhride Centre, Tully Road, Kildare town, - firstname.lastname@example.org or ph 045522890 or www.solasbhride.ie
Solas Bhride Centre & Hermitages Team 17/01/2020
Contact No: 045 522890
L.to R Emma Herlihy, Kildare Failte, Phil O’Shea, Solas Bhride, Celine Broughan, Kildare Town Library
Creating our Autumn space
Each season is reflected in the sacred space in our inner courtyard. Margaret and Brenda resting after creating our beautiful reflective Autumn space. They invite us to reflect on Autumn as a time to be thankful, a time to gather, a time to store and a time to rest.
Sisters of Faith for Peace (sfp)
The Sisters of Faith for Peace are women of all faiths, coming together to work for peace by transcending the boundaries of their own faith and culture, thereby uniting together to work for the common purpose of peace.
This year the Sisters decided to hold their Autumn Interfaith Family Day in Solas Bhride on Sunday, September 22nd. The group included people of Muslim, Jewish and Christian faith.
Kildare Ministries, Australia
Kildare Ministries comprises the educational and community works formerly governed by the Brigidine Congregation in Australia and the Presentation Congregation of Victoria. Every two years Kildare Ministries conduct a pilgrimage to Ireland for their schools and administration staff. Pilgrims trace the founding stories of the Brigidine Sisters and the Presentation Sisters. They draw inspiration and energy for their mission today from their Irish heritage.
Solas Bhride was delighted to welcome two Norwegian Pilgrim Groups. Her Excellency Else Berit Eikeland, Norwegian Ambassador to Ireland, accompanied both groups. The first group included the bishop of Nidaros, Church of Norway and a pastor to Norwegians in London. The second group, 28 pilgrims, came from the diocese of Bjorjvin (Bergin) and west coast Norway. The purpose of their visit to Ireland was to explore the spiritual and cultural heritage of some of Ireland’s saints. As well as their interest in St. Brigid they also visited places associated with St. Declan and st. Kevin. They presented Solas Bhride with a beautifully illustrated book on the legend of St. Sunniva who is reputed to have been an Irish princess. She was the only recognised female saint in Norway in the Middle Ages.
Heritage Week Event at Solas Bhride
The theme for Heritage Week 2019 was “Pastimes- Past Times. A number of events took place in Kildare from August 17th to 25th. Heritage week provided a great opportunity for Solas Bhride to showcase our local heritage.
Solas Bhride hosted an afternoon pilgrimage on Saturday, August 24th. The event focused on the spiritual and cultural heritage of St. Brigid. Those who participated in the event came from Ireland, Russia and America. The sun shone brightly as we walked the pilgrimage from Solas Bhride to St. Brigid’s well and afterwards returned to Solas Bhride for a walk around the grounds and to enjoy some light refreshments.
Norwegian Ambassador visits Solas Bhride
We were delighted to welcome Her Excellency Else Berit Eikeland to Solas Bhride on Thursday, August 1st. The purpose of her visit was to strengthen co-operation and bonding between pilgrims from Norway who are interested in coming to Ireland to walk pilgrim trails in the footsteps of the Irish saints. She has arranged for two groups to visit Solas Bhride to walk in the footsteps of St. Brigid of Kildare.
She was amazed to hear of the many pilgrim groups from Norway that have already had contact with Solas Bhride through the years.
Arklow Brigini Girl Guides
On Saturday, June 29th the guides and their leaders spent a day walking in the footsteps of their patroness, St. Brigid. Their trip took in Kildare Heritage Centre, a visit to St. Brigid’s Cathedral and a pilgrimage to St. Brigid’s well. At the well they were met by Phil from Solas Bhride who spoke to them about some of the customs associated with St. Brigid and they learned how her legends have something to say to our lives today. They enthusiastically participated in the pilgrimage and afterwards visited the Solas Bhride Centre where they enjoyed a very welcome lunch break.
Solas Bhride celebrated Earth Day on Saturday, April 27th with Emer Conway, Climate Ambassador, An Taisce as Facilitator. Emer began by presenting the theme for Earth Day 2019 which was “Protect our Species”. By selecting this theme the Earth Day organisers wished to educate and raise awareness about the accelerating rate of extinction of millions of species and the causes and consequences of this phenomenon. They also hope to build and activate a global movement that embraces nature and its values and encourage individual actions.
Emer then spoke about building an ARK - Acts of Restorative Kindness. The concept of An ARK is the brain child of May Reynolds, gold medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show. One of the aims of ARK is to create safe and abundant havens for as many wild creatures as possible. Emer led the participants in fencing off a section of the Solas Bhride grounds. It is hoped that over time this will become a thriving patch of native plants and a pantry and a habitat for pollinators and wild creatures who are in desperate need of support.
“Building an ARK is something all of us can do,” said Emer. “All we need to do is set aside a small space in our gardens and allow it to grow wild. Each small action can make a difference in protecting our pollinators.”
We will keep an eye on the ARK during the coming months and try to identify what creatures will make their home there.
The Celebrations Begin
There was a packed prgramme for the 27th Feile Bhride. The Celebrations began on January 31st, the Eve of St. Brigid’s Day. Snow was forecast so the Committee made the decision to hold the Brigid’s Eve ritual indoors at Solas Bhride instead of at the well even though many who came were prepared to brace the elements. Deirdre Ni Cheinnide and the Solas Bhride Team led the participants in a beautiful, reflective ritual.
Feile Bride concluded with the annual Afri Conference. This year the theme was Education, Action, Compassion, Hope. Guest speakers included Caoimhe de Barra, Trocaire CEO, Richard Moore, Michael Doorly, Meaghan Carmody and Kay Mulhall. Afri’s tradition of planting a tree in the grounds of Solas Bhride continued with the planting of a plum tree.
Aras an Uachtarain
St Brigid’s Day was also marked at Aras an Uachtarain. A group from Kildare were invited to meet President and Mrs Higgins. Pupil representatives from St Brigid’s National School demonstrated their skill at weaving St Brigid’s crosses for the President and his wife. A St Brigid’s Cross woven by local man Joe O Neill was presented to President Higgins by Sr. Rita Minehan. Our pictures show Rita Minehan and Joe O Neill selecting a cross to present, the chosen cross, David Mongey, Chairman of Kildare Failte, his wife Attracta and Rita Minehan arrive back to Solas Bhride.
Kildare town is proud of our connection to St Brigid and each year celebrates Feile Bride in new and imaginative ways. This year the Annual Celtic Lecture sponsored by Kildare Education Centre was delivered by Dr Shane Lordan on the theme of ‘Receptions and Transformations of St Brigid in Europe’.
Kildare Town Library celebrated Feile Bride by holding a number of events including an evening celebrating our local poets, writers, musicians and dancers. Throughout the month of February they hosted an art exhibition featuring drawings by Josephine Hardiman from her “Book of Kildare”
The Heritage Centre developed St Brigid’s Treasure Trail; a fun way for children to explore the sites associated with St Brigid.
They hosted Josephine Hardiman as she developed further original drawings and pages for her “Book of Kildare”
Visitors to Kildare during Feile Bride were also able to take a tour around the sites associated with St Brigid.
On St Brigid’s Day visitors were drawn to St Brigid’s Cathedral by the sound of music, as classical and traditional tunes played on a harp wafted around the town of Kildare.
These are a small flavour of the many events organised for Feile Bride 2019.
World Day Against Trafficking in Persons
Each year, July 30 is set aside as the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. We know that human trafficking and slavery occur in every country around the world and as Pope Francis reminds us “is a crime against humanity“.
Solas Bhride is committed to working in collaboration with others to bring an end to this abuse of human rights. We are involved in a number of different networks such as UNANIMA International, RENATE in Europe, ANZRATH in New Zealand, ACRATH in Australia and TRAC in the UK.
Aspects of the work of these networks include:
- raising awareness about human trafficking,
- advocating for the rights of trafficked people (particularly girls and women)
- supporting survivors of trafficking and various forms of modern day slavery and
- supporting young girls and women vulnerable to being forced to marry.
As we mark the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July this year, let us consider ways in which we can each use our voice, our networks and our resources to help eliminate human trafficking today.
Let us pray for those who are vulnerable to being trafficked because of poverty, family breakdown, displacement because of wars or violence, lack of education, employment or other opportunities for a life with dignity.
May we continue to work to overcome these inequalities in the world so that all “May have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Section of the large crowd at the Afri Conference “Light out of Darkness” held on February 3rd at Solas Bhride.
Speakers at the Afri Conference: Peader Kirby, Hanny Van Geel, Sunny and Peter Pringle with Joe Murray, Director of Afri
Mabel singing at the Afri Conference
Members of the Men’s Shed proudly display the new poly-tunnel they have constructed complete with several raised beds. They hope to begin planting variety of vegetables during the coming spring. Many people called on their Open Day on Friday 2nd to view their activities.
Over 200 people crossed the threshold of Solas Bhride on St. Brigid’s Day
RTE presenter Brenda O’Donoghue making preparations with children from St. Brigid’s school who sang “We Sing a Song to Brigid” for the evening programme “Today with Maura and Daithi”. On the programme she also interviewed Rita Minehan, csb who spoke about Solas Bhride Centre and Margaret Walsh who wove a St. Brigid’s cross while recounting some of the traditions and customs associated with St. Brigid.