Large crowds gathered to celebrate the Official Opening of Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages, Tully Road, Kildare town on Friday, January 30th at 2.30 p.m.
Ann Riordan, chairperson of Science Foundation Ireland was MC for the occasion. Eimear Quinn cut the tape and Bishop Denis Nulty, Kildare & Leighlin, and Rev. John Marsden, Dean of St. Brigid’s Cathedral, blessed the Centre. The tape cutting ceremony was followed by a musical celebration which included music, song and dance as guests were entertained by Eimear, Luka Bloom and local musicians and dancers.
Mayor Fiona O’ Loughlin addressed the assembled guests and referred to the rich legacy of St. Brigid and the heritage of Kildare town and went on to say how the Solas Bhride Centre “will undoubtedly help us to remember that heritage, reflecting our place in society and in the world, while considering our future path; both personally and as a community… This new facility will develop not only into a national location for spirituality and reflection, but also internationally giving our local and wider community and visitors to the area a unique experience, particularly in the areas of education, ecology, spirituality and healing”.
Tributes were paid to the Design team which included Brian O’Brien of Solearth Ecological Architecture who designed the unique ecologically sustainable Spirituality Centre, in the shape of a St. Brigid’s cross, with the centre of the cross featuring an internal garden and circular and semi-circular rooms, Manley Construction Ltd. who built the Centre and have already received two national awards for the building. A special acknowledgement to the Quantity Surveyor, George Fitzpatrick, Gilltown, Kilcullen, for delivering the project within budget.
Rita Minehan csb, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, expressed her gratitude to the Design Team, to the Brigidine Sisters for their huge financial contribution which ultimately made the Centre possible, Kildare Leader Partnership for their generous grant, Kildare County Council, Public Representatives and Kildare Failte for their support with planning and many other issues, and to all who made donations to the Centre, supported the fund raising campaign and organised fund raising events.
“It is truly a magnificent Centre” said Sr. Rita “and it is our hope that all who come to the new Solas Bhride will be facilitated in their search for a meaningful spirituality through the unfolding of the legacy of St. Brigid of Kildare and its relevance for the 21st century.
Further information on Centre available on:http://www.icatholic.ie/solas-bhride-unfolding-legacy-st-brigid/
or on : http://www.brigidine.org.au/our-focus/index.cfm?loadref=27
Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages is finally complete! The name of our Centre “Solas Bhride” means the “light/flame of Brigid”. It is ironic then that the delay to the Centre being open to the public was due to lights – traffic lights at the pedestrian crossing outside the building. The pedestrian lights were finally connected on November 29nd which removed the last hurdle to be overcome in allowing the Centre to open. There have been many twists and turns on the road since the “Turning of the Sod ceremony” in February 2013. It has indeed being a faith journey and many a time we wondered if we knew before we started what we know now would we have set out on the journey at all. But we always received the “light” for the next step through the many unexpected surprises and kindnesses along the way. Now we are excited at the prospect of welcoming many pilgrims/visitors and we hope all who come will find solace here. We are ready for the next step on the journey.
Joyce Rupp becomes one of the Centre’s first visitors!
Joyce Rupp, well known writer and author of numerous bestselling books including “Praying our Goodbyes”, “Open the Door” and “Fragments of your Ancient Name” was one of the first visitors to the Centre. Joyce visited the Centre on a recent trip to Ireland. Joyce, Margaret and Maeve’s parting words were: “Trust an unknown future to an known God.”
The Irish Construction Industry Awards recognises, encourages and celebrates original and innovative contractors, businesses, teams, consultants and projects that demonstrate excellence in the built environment. Manley Construction Ltd received the Sustainable Initiative of the Year award for Solas Bhride.
Sustainability Achievement Fit Out Project of the Year 2014
The Fit Out Awards recognise and celebrate the cream of Ireland’s Fit Out Industry. Manley Construction received the Sustainability Achievement Fit out Project of the Year award for Solas Bhride in November 2014.
Walk a mile of Brigid’s Way Pilgrimage on Sunday 6th July.
We invite you to join us as the Brigid’s Way pilgrims walk from Pollardstown Fen to Kildare town centre to be welcomed warmly by the Brigidine Sisters on Sunday 6th July. We will be arriving in Kildare after 9 days of walking the ancient pilgrim path between Faughart and Kildare linking the two centres in Ireland most associated with devotion to St. Brigid.
This stage of the pilgrimage will begin at 10.30am at the Pollardstown Fen car park, (out the Milltown road turn near Fr Moore’s well marked Pollardstown Horse Feed).
We will walk along the Fen boardwalk and down country lanes onto the Curragh, to Rath Bhride crossroads and into the Heritage Centre in the square in Kildare
This walking pilgrimage, an Irish version of the famous Camino de Santiago, which begins at Brigid’s Well and Shrine in Faughart near Dundalk Co. Louth on Saturday 28th June will wind its way through magical landscapes, where pilgrims will experience some of Ireland’s inspiring landscape and sites of spiritual significance, including Knockbridge, Hill of Slane and Tara, en-route to Brigid’s monastic city in Kildare,
All local walkers are invited to join us for all or some of the last day of Brigid’s Way Pilgrimage 2014 .So why don’t you come along and walk a mile or two with Brigid?
We suggest that people Carpool or share a taxi to the meeting place.
We ask for a donation to support the Brigidine Sisters new Centre Solas Bhride due to open autumn 2014.
We will arrive at the Kildare Heritage Centre at approximately 1.30pm and be welcomed by the Brigidine Sisters and Heritage Centre staff. After refreshments we will walk to the Fire Temple in the Cathedral, and then walk to both Healing and Garden Wells for the final Brigid’s Way Ceremonies.
For further information on this event contact Karen 087 2399751
Dolores 086 8434117 or Solas Bhride 045 522 890
Full details of the pilgrimage can be found on the Brigid’s Way website www.brigidsway.ie. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Clonohill Gardens Open Day
Country farmhouse gardens, adjacent to Laois Angling Centre and close to the Sliabh Bloom Mountains. The gardens feature woodland lawns, herbaceous boarders, with many unusual plants, and walled garden overlooking lake.
Further information contact: Enda 087 9962864
Conohill House, Coolrain, Portlaoise, Co. Laois
All proceeds in aid of Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages
It may have been the dawn of springtime but a heavy shower of rain reminded all that winter was not quite finished yet as people walked in the candlelight pilgrimage at St. Brigid’s well on St. Brigid’s Eve! Still, the rain did not dampen the spirits of a crowd of approximately 300 who gathered to participate in the pilgrimage and who carried in their hearts the “sparks of hope” they wished to rekindle in 2014.
St. Brigid’s Day brought further showers but visitors from overseas, and national visitors braved the elements to participate in the “Walk in the footsteps of St. Brigid” as well as enjoying learning to weave St. Brigid crosses. A sculpture of St. Brigid, donated to the new Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages, by Fr. Dennis O’Neill of St. Martha’s Parish, Morton Grove, Illinois, was to be unveiled in the afternoon of February 1st at the site. However, the stormy weather of the previous weeks meant “St. Brigid” was still on the high seas. A special ceremony was held at the Centre and all who attended were able to view the partially complete building. It was a disappointment for Fr. Dennis and many of his family members who had travelled from Illinois for the unveiling. Still there was the opportunity for Fr. Dennis to talk about his love for St. Brigid and how he had commissioned Tim Schmalz to create the sculpture in memory of his family.
Luka Bloom has long been associated with Feile Bride. All who attended his concert in the Heritage Centre were treated to a very special evening of music and song. Luka generously donated the proceeds of the concert to Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages building fund. Susan and Judy Boyle facilitated a delightful evening on “Brigid, Bees and Brewing”. We sampled drinks of mead and a variety of “ brews” along with honey flavoured snacks while listening to the process used in the making of drinks. There is a growing market in Ireland for an alternative to the mass produced beers of the multinationals. The tradition of microbreweries had died out in Ireland until, about 15 years ago, but Irish craft beers have been making huge progress in recent years.
The Annual Celtic Lecture “The Spirituality of Patrick Kavanagh” was delivered by Una Agnew. Una spoke of how Patrick Kavanagh’s work detects the thumb-print of God on the simplest aspects of creation and celebrates the miracles of everyday found in the commonplaces of life. The literary theme continued in the Feile in”Spring’s Spring awakening” – a literary celebration with music, hosted by Kildare town library. Readings Ann Egan, Martin Malone and members of a local writers group, which reflected the theme, held all spell bound.
Afri Justice and Peace Conference – Life: Source or Resource
The Afri Conference looked at issues of life, light and library. Abjata Khalif of the Kenya Pastoralist journalists Network, was the first speaker at the Conference. Abjata is founding member and chair of the Kenyan Pastoralist Journalist Network, a community media organisation that uses media for in offering peace education, reconciling communities through radio and community forums. His involvement with Climate Development and Knowledge Network has brought innovative approaches to climate change to his work in northern Kenya, and the partnership with Afri has resulted in the distribution of solar powered lamps to assist with home births within the community, providing children with opportunities for education through the use of solar powered lamps, and empowerment for women forced to live on the edge of society.
Fergal Anderson, a small vegetable farmer from the west of Ireland has been working on various issues around Food Sovereignty for the past five years. He is currently trying to build an Irish network for Food sovereignty. His message was a challenge to the participants to look at a change of attitude towards food and food production. “Food”, he said, “is not a commodity but a right. Our food and agricultural systems are too important to be left in the hands of transnational corporations. The food we eat and how our society produces it are issues we all need to be aware of. GM crops are highly politicised, because they affect the relationship our society has with the production of food to feed its people. It is the multinational companies and large corporations which stand to make huge profits from any expansion of GM agriculture, transferring the control of seeds and food production from farmers and consumers to transnational corporations and industries and surrendering all public or community control over what kind of food we eat and who benefits from its production.” He calls for a rejection of the paradigm of GM agriculture and an of embracing agricultural systems which work with as opposed to against nature.
Donal Dorr, a member of APT (Action to Prevent Trafficking) introduced Mia, a woman who ended up working in prostitution to feed her heroin addiction. It was while on the streets herself that she became aware of the plight of trafficked women, befriended them and tried to offer what support and assistance she could. While giving us a small glimpse into the indignity she herself suffered her main focus was on the total lack of freedom, and the horrific lifestyle endured by women trafficked into prostitution. Mia, has succeeded in changing her life around with help from Ruhama and is now attending college. She continues her campaign against human trafficking into the sex industry and is a strong advocate of the “STOP Trafficking in Persons” campaign spearheaded by APT. APT is a faith-based group of volunteers committed to raising awareness about human trafficking, lobbying and keeping in touch world-wide with others who are equally concerned about the issue.
Women making their mark on The Curragh
On February 2nd, parparticipants at the Feile were introduced to inspirational women who make their living or draw inspiration from The Curragh, from women jockeys and horse trainers, women artists to women who work in the Defence Forces.
The Feile concluded with mass at st. Brigid’s well following by a “Celebration of Sparks of Hope” through music and song by “Highly Strung”
Feile Bride 2014 focused on hope. Many of the Workshops and the Afri Conference highlighted that hope is really a series of small actions that transform darkness into light.Emily Dickinson describes hope very well:
Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all
And sweetest in the gale is heard.
“Hope is the thing with feathers”
Feile Bride launches 2014 Programme
On January 14th the steering committee and its supporters met at Solas Bride to announce plans for the forthcoming Feile which will take place this year from January 31st to February 9th. This year’s theme is “Kindling Sparks of Hope.” Feile Bride, coming as it does at the beginning of February, heralds the beginning of Spring when the new shoots begin to spring forth from the earth. Brigid is renowned as the Saint who at this time “breaths life into the mouth of dead winter.” We are now at a time in our country and world when our hopes are somewhat dimmed.
We need to kindle “sparks of hope” and to celebrate the many signs of hope that emerge in the most unexpected places.
A full programme of events is promised including weaving of St. Brigid’s crosses workshops, craft exhibitions, A Walk in the footsteps of St. Brigid and Brigid’s Eve well ritual. (Full progamme on Events Section of this website.)
Luka Bloom will perform in concert on Monday, February 3rd at the Heritage Centre. A limited number of tickets is available and can be booked through the Heritage Centre in Kildare town. Luka has a long association with the Feile and the proceeds from the concert will be donated to Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages building fund. Construction on the new Centre is ongoing. A new sculpture of St. Brigid will be unveiled at the site of the new Solas Bhride Centre on the Tully Road on February 1.
Brigid, bees & Brewing will take place on Tuesday 4th of February at 7:30pm in Boyles in Kildare Town. It will be an hour long talk about the influence of Brigid on Kildare, bee keeping & brewing with food & drink tastings throughout the event. We will be sampling different food & drinks to our previous event.
“The Spirituality of Patrick Kavanagh” presented by Una Agnew is the topic for the Annual Celtic Lecture, to be hosted by Kildare Education Centre on Wednesday, February 5th.
“Brigid’s Spring awakening – a literary celebration with music” will be held in Kildare Town Library on Thursday evening.
“From St. Brigid to St. Barbara – Women making their mark on the Curragh” This involves a bus tour around the Curragh and will give a glimpse into the lives of women who work on or near Brigid’s Pastures.
Amid the hectic schedule of life there is always a need for quiet in order to touch into the “Sparks of Hope” dwelling within each of us. So “Quiet Reflection / Meditation” on Tuesday morning, February 4th and “Creative Movement” on Wednesday, 4th provide this opportunity.
The annual Afri conference Justice and Peace Conference is a very important part of the Feile and takes on Saturday February 8 at the Osborne Centre. This year’s theme is “Life: Source or Resource” and the speakers include Feargal Anderson, who will talk about “Food, Sovereignty and Resilience: Living well with the Planet.” Abjata Khalif will speak about “Lighting the way to Climate Justice: Finding solutions in Northern Kenya.” Donal Dorr will will explore the topic of Human Trafficking, today’s slavery.
Brigid is associated with the threshold – the doorway between worlds. To venture over the threshold of our known realities, into deeper awareness and understanding of what it means to be a living being among other living beings is an exquisitely designed, finely turned and audaciously beautiful life system. At the Festival of Brigid, Feile Bride, Imbolc, we stand on the threshold between Winter and Spring, darkness and light. (Extract from Afri Conference Programme)
Attention all Record Makers!
Solas Bhride are delighted to confirm that we have successfully achieved a new GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS title for “Most people weaving a Brigid’s cross’. Solas Bhride would like to congratulate you on your record-breaking achievement. “You are OFFICIALLY AMAZING.”
Solas Bhride has been told to expect an official GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS certificate confirming our world record which is being created and will be sent to Solas Bhride very soon.
For everyone who took part in the successful record attempt, Guinness World Records are offering a Certificate of Participation. They stated in their letter of Confirmation to Solas Bhride that all of the participants in setting the record for most people weaving a Brigid’s cross, can purchase their own official Guinness World Records Certificates of Participation via the Guinness World Records Store. URL: http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/store
Before you access the Guinness World Records store you will need to make contact with Solas Bhride to obtain the Participant verification codes as soon as possible.
Solas Bhride contact details: email: email@example.com Tel: 045 522890
Kildare Town Achieves New World Record
Guinness World Records has formally confirmed the new world record for the most people to weave a St. Brigid’s cross at the same time. The record is 357 and it was set at St. Brigid’s parish church in Kildare Town on 21 September 2013.
The world record attempt was organised by Solas Bhríde, Cairde Bhríde, Kildare Heritage Centre and local community groups and was part of a week-long Gathering festival celebrating St. Brigid and her legacy, which was sponsored by IPB and supported by Kildare County Council and County Kildare Leader Partnership.
The record approval process involved detailed assessment of witnesses, photo and video evidence submitted by Solas Bhride to Guinness World Record assessors. Margaret Walsh of Cáirde Bhríde and Rita Minehan of Solas Bhríde received notice of the success yesterday: “We are absolutely thrilled” said Margaret, “it was such a wonderful day, so many people from Kildare Town, Newbridge, Kill, Nurney, Rathangan and beyond Co. Kildare gathered in the church weaving together, the atmosphere was really very special and it has helped reawaken awareness of the importance of Brigid to our town.” Brigidine Sister, Rita Minehan, thanked all involved in supporting the St. Brigid Gathering festival and the record event “we couldn’t have done it without so much help from those who organised the supplies, all those who volunteered on the day, all those who participated and everyone else who helped along the way to make it happen, they were all wonderful. This is a truly historic moment for Kildare.” said Rita.
She also went on to say that the World Record Certificate will hang proudly on the walls of the new purpose built Spirituality Centre, Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages, which is presently under construction and due to open in Kildare Town, in Spring 2014.
A new category for the weaving of St. Brigid’s cross was created by Guinness World Records earlier this year, on foot of an application by Solas Bhríde and Cairde Bhríde of Kildare Town. This confirmation of the record of 357 marks the first approved entry in this new category and further challenges are awaited.