Solas Bhride Centre celebrates Earth Day by building first ARK in Kildare

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.

We will keep an eye on the ARK during the coming months and try to identify what creatures will make their home there
We will keep an eye on the ARK during the coming months and try to identify what creatures will make their home there

27th Annual Feile Bride

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.


St Brigid’s Crosses

On St Brigid’s Day many people came to visit. In the morning they had the opportunity to take part in a workshop on how to make a St Brigid’s Cross. Throughout the afternoon demonstrations on cross weaving continued to the sound of music played by Teresa.

Willow Weaving

The weaving theme continued on the 2nd February with a practical demonstration on how to develop a willow feature. Delivered by Beth Murphy from Willow Wonder, participants had a chance to plant some willow in the grounds of Solas Bhride.

Traditions and Customs

Margaret & Brenda revisited some of the traditions and customs associated with St Brigid and their relevance today.

Eucharistic Celebration

On Sunday February 3rd Fr Peter Conaty led a Eucharistic celebration at St Brigid’s well. This was followed by refreshments at Solas Bhride

The Concert

The Feile Bride concert this year featured the talented Patrick Hyland, Tenor and his guests, Anne Cullen, Ruby Boland and Muireann Ní Raghallaigh.

Body, Mind and Spirit

On February 5th we held a morning of gentle movement that refreshed body, mind and spirit.

Floral Art

Christine Hughes showcased her gift for floral art in a demonstration entitled “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring” G.M. Hopkins


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.

Other Events

Other Events:

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

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)


Afri Conference at Féile Bríde 2018

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

Kildare Men’s Shed

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

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.

Launch of Book “St. Brigid of Kildare – Life, Legend and Cult”

Rita Minehan,csb, Brenda Kindregran, Mary Minehan,csb at Book Launch

Dr. Noel Kissane signs copy of his book for Rita Minehan, csb

Members of the Solas Bhride Team were invited to the launch of “St. Brigid of Kildare, Life, Legend and Cult” by Dr. Noel Kissane in the National Library of Ireland, Dublin on Thursday, July 20th. Dr. Noel, recently retired from the National Library of Ireland, where he held the positions of Education Officer and Keeper of Manuscripts for over thirty years, and he has devoted the past four years to the research and writing of his book.   “This book reviews all the evidence – history, legend and folklore – and concludes that while she has many of the attributes of the goddess Brigid, she was certainly a real person.  The book reviews her cult and veneration in Ireland and overseas, from her lifetime down to the present day…..
Speaking at the launch Dr. Noel said “I hope the book is sufficiently detailed for most readers, but I trust I have heeded the sage advice tendered to writers the the late Maurice Craig, ‘Try not to tell everything’, and that reading it will be as interesting and rewarding for the reader as writing it was for the author.”
“St. Brigid of Kildare, Life, Legend and Cult” is published by Four Courts Press –