Solas Bhride Centre & Hermitages officially opened

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, bleEimear Quinnssed 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 anMayord 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 Members of Solas Bhride, the Design Team and Manley ConstructionBrian 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:
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Members of the Board Eimear and Luka

Official Opening of Solas Bhride Centre & Hermitages

The Official Opening of the new Solas Bhride Spirituality CentFor Websitere and Hermitages, situated on Tully Road, Kildare Town will take place at 2.30 p.m. on Friday, January 30th 2015.
Eimear Quinn, national and international singer will cut the tape. Bishop Denis Nulty, Kildare & Leighlin will bless the Centre. The tape cutting ceremony will be followed by music, dance and song to mark the special occasion.
The new Centre is a continuation and expansion of the ministry of the Brigidine Sisters in Dara Park, Kildare town since 1992, where they welcomed people of all faiths and none in their search for meaning.
The large numbers of visitors/pilgrims, local, national and international visiting Dara Park created an urgent need for a larger centre.Solearth Ecological Architecture designed The Centre, which is 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. Ecological sustainability is an integral part of the Centre. Manley Construction Ltd has already received two national awards for the building’s sustainable features. There are three hermitages available for those who wish to take time out from the busyness of life and nourish themselves in mind, body and spirit. It is a truly unique building and the rich symbolism throughout reflects the life and legacy of St. Brigid.
The Board of Directors and The Brigidine Sisters are delighted to have realised this magnificent Centre in the midst of a very difficult time in the Irish Construction industry and are grateful to all who contributed in so many ways to make this possible. They hope that those who come to the Centre will be facilitated in their search for a meaningful spirituality through the unfolding of the spiritual and cultural heritage of St. Brigid and its relevance for the 21st century.

Development Update November 2014

Picture of Centre from Cosmic WalkIt has been a long and winding road but finally Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages is ready to open the doors to the public. It is the time of year when many towns and cities around the country have special ceremonies to mark the turning on of the Christmas Lights. However, it was not Christmas Lights but Traffic Lights that caused the delay in Solas Bhride being able to open its doors. The final electrical connections will be completed this week and we look forward to welcoming people to our new Centre.

What Solas Bhride Offers:

Solas Bhride offers a wide range of spiritual experiences such as:

• Sharing and celebrating the story of Brigid in a creative and life-giving way

• Facilitating pilgrimages to St. Brigid’s well (10 minute walk from the Centre) and other Brigid sites – St. Brigid’s Cathedral, The Curragh Plains

• A reflective walk around the grounds of the Centre which contain a labyrinth, a beautiful sculpture of St. Brigid and three Hermitages

• Workshops on St. Brigid and Celtic Spirituality, Weaving of St. Brigid’s cross and much more..

A minimum of one hour, half day, full day and two day programmes on offer.


48 km from Dublin on route M7, Exit 13
Next door to Irish National Stud and Gardens
Close to the Kildare Village Retail Outlet
1.5 km from St. Brigid’s Cathedral, Round tower and Heritage Centre
Coach and car parking space in the grounds of the Centre
The Kildare Village shuttle bus which meets trains will pass by our door.

A recent review:

 “Everyone on the trip said the day we spent in Kildare was the best day of our ten day Irish pilgrimage.” (Group of 48, Boston, May 2014.)


Getting closer to Completion!

Reception area

View of Reception Area

View from the reception to hospitality space

View from Reception area to Hospitality space

View of Internal courtyard

View of Internal Courtyard

Cill Dara Room

Cill Dara Room – the larger of the circular rooms

The photographs will give you an indication that the Centre is reaching completion. The Practical Completion Cert for the main building has been issued.


We are not fully there yet because, as you can appreciate,in a building of this size there are many details to be attended to.

We get many questions re opening of Centre.  However, we need to wait a little longer before we can answer that question!



We are in the process of negotiation a loan/loans to cover cost of completing the building. We still need to raise a further €790,000.  Any donation is deeply appreciated.   We need your help!
Donations can be made through the Donation Page at this website or directly to Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages, 14 Dara Park, Kildare Town, Co.Kildare, Ireland.

Development Update May 2014


The courtyard at the entrance to the Centre

Brigid room

The foundations for the St. Brigid sculpture can be seen in the foreground. The sculpture will face the “Brigid Room” in the Centre.

Landscape 2

The trees and shrubs planted last month have begun to bud and the tiny shoots of grass appear in the lawn areas. One of the hermitages can be seen nestling gently into the landscape.

Foundations for labyrinth

The foundations have been laid for the labyrinth. It is hoped to have it completed within the next two weeks.

Cosmic Walk

The area for the Cosmic walk is surrounded by trees. The walk itself will be developed later.

Picture of Centre from Cosmic Walk

A view of the Centre from the Cosmic Walk.

Construction on the Centre is reaching its final stages.
All the major construction work is complete.
However work        continues on the interior and exterior of the building.


The photographs will give a good image of what the finished building will look like.

Development Update – March 2014

The construction on the exterior of the building is now almost complete. The last of the windows were installed in mid-February. A lot of the major interior work is nearing completion.

Exterior of building

The entrance to the Centre. Landscaping now in progress!

Interior of building

The Spring sunshine casts its light on the interior of the building.

Painting has begun and it is hoped that most of the interior work will be completed within the next three weeks.
The timber floors will not be installed for a further six weeks to allow the building to dry out completely.

Exterior and Hermitage

The exterior of one of the Hermitages nears completion. The puddles resulting from the January and February rainfall can be clearly seen.

The wet and windy weather have not been favorable to landscaping. However, some progress has been made. The oak trees that have been nurtured at Solas Bhride since 2007 were inspected and deemed to be in good condition for planting at the site.

We are in the process of negotiation a loan/loans to cover cost of completing the building. We still need to raise a further €790,000.  Any donation is deeply appreciated.   We need your help!
Donations can be made through the Donation Page at this website or directly to Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages, 14 Dara Park, Kildare Town, Co.Kildare, Ireland.


Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages will open in Summer 2014

First Event held in New Centre

Opening the door

Site Foreman, Stephen Smyth, opening the door on February 1st.

A beautiful bronze sculpture of St. Brigid, donated to Solas Bhride Centre was to be unveiled on St. Brigid’s Day, 2014. Manley Construction Ltd worked tirelessly to have the space ready for the unveiling. However, stormy weather conditions hindered progress. The stormy weather also prevented the arrival of the sculpture because by St. Brigid’s Day, “St. Brigid” was still on the high seas! However, a special ceremony was held within the incomplete building, to mark this very generous donation by Fr. Dennis O’Neill of St. Martha’s Parish, Morton Grove, Illinois. Fr. Dennis, together with members of his family and friends, had travelled from the States to be present on the day. They were joined by many Brigidine Sisters, members of the local community, and architect Brian O’Brien of Solearth architecture.

Rita and Ann

Ann Riordan and Rita MinehanCentre.

Ann Riordan,  MC for the day, reminded all how a year previously, at the Turning of the Sod Ceremony, she had laid down the challenge to Manley Construction to have the site ready for St. Brigid’s Day in 2014. She thanked them for work completed to date and extended the appreciation of all in being able to use the building on the day.

Sr. Rita welcomed each one, while Mary Minehan and Phil O’Shea wove a St. Brigid’s cross giving a brief history of the building as well as remembering the deceased members of the O’Neill Family. Fr. Dennis spoke of his love for St. Brigid and told the story of how he had commissioned Tim Smhalz to sculpt the bronze sculpture.

Fr. Denis explains sculpture

Fr. Dennis speaking about the sculpture

Fr. dennis O'Neill

Sr. Mary presents Fr. Dennis with a St. Brigid’s cross

He expressed his delight in finding a “most suitable home” for the sculpture. While the sculpture had not arrived he was delighted to view where it would be installed and saw how it will become an important focal point in the new centre.

All present had the opportunity to walk around the building. Many remarked on the beauty of the design and the peaceful atmosphere already present there.

Following the Ceremony tea and coffee was served for the first time at the Centre by Silken Thomas catering.

Development Update January 2014

Stone cladding on exterior

The cladding on the exterior of the building is completed. The windows have been installed in most rooms.
Rita and site Foreman, Stephen Smyth, walk towards the Reception area.

Roof of Flame Room

Work on the ceiling of the roof in the “Flame Room” continues. The shape of a Brigid’s cross is clearly visible which will be a special feature of this room.

Most of the exterior work on the building has been completed.  Work on the interior is progressing very well.  It is hoped to have the construction work completed by May 2014.
We are grateful to many people who give so generously of their time and expertise to the New Centre and to all those who who have generously donated to the Project.


We still need to raise a further €820,000 to complete the Project.  Any donation is deeply appreciated.  Donations can be made through the Donation Page at this website or directly to Solas Bhride Centre and Hermitages, 14 Dara Park, Kildare Town, Co.Kildare, Ireland.

Conference Room

Rita and Mary stand in the centre of the Brigid Room and are briefed by Stephen. The roof is almost complete and windows will be installed in early January.

Ice Sticks

The heating system will involve Geothermal and Ice Stick heating systems. The photograph shows the ice sticks being installed

Sun sets on building

As dusk descends on a Winter’s evening the building settles into the landscape.


Development Update November 2013

Wet siteBuilding progress

After the dry summer days the rain has arrived and made conditions around the site very muddy indeed.  However, work continues at pace.  Most of the roofs have been completed and windows are expected to be installed by mid-November.
The red poroton bricks have now been sealed and the outside of the building begins to have a finished look!Stephen in front of entrance


Stephen Smyth, site foreman, stands outside the front entrance of the building. The walls here are clad in limestone.

Work has begun on the interior of the building.

On a recent site visit Mary can be seen checking out the rooms in one of the apartments in the building.Hospitality Room

Mary looks in the doorBrian O’Brien and Catriona McArdle of Solearth Ecological Architecture hold a meeting on site with the Solas Bhride community as well as Ann Riordan and Liam Kearney who supervise the Project on behalf of Solas Bhride.

The timber frame for the first Hermitage is put in First Hermitageplace. The Hermitages were built off site and then assembled and installed on site.

Much progress has been made during the past six weeks.  Once the building is secured, with windows installed and roofs completed, work on the interior will progress. The weather will not impact on the work at that stage. Once the scaffolding has been removed a clearer picture of the design of the building will

Fundraising is ongoing.  If you would like to contribute in any way towards the cost of the building it would be much appreciated. Donations can be made to Solas Bhride Centre & Hermitages Building Fund, 14 Dara Park, Kildare Town, Co. Kildare or through the Donation page on this website.  Thank you.

Solas Bhride Centre at Roof Level!

Centre for web

The digital image of the completed Solas Bhride Centre presents a view of what the finished building might look like.

Overview of Building

In this photograph the centre of the building is clearly identified and the frame for the circular roof is in place.

Cross taking shape

The shape of the building suggests a St. Brigid’s Cross. Preparations are in place for the roof to be added over the next three weeks to the “Centre of the Cross”.


View of the building from above 1

The walls are now complete. The roof has been put in place in parts of the building. The remaining roof and windows are to be installed within the next three weeks.