Master Composting Course

Solas Bhride was the venue for a Master Composter Training course hosted by Kildare County Council.  The Composting Course is part of a national programme aimed at the prevention of food and garden waste and the promotion of home composting.  The STOP Food Waste progamme, which is part of the EPA National Waste Prevention Programme, is run by a collaboratie team with a diverse experience in waste prevention and composting. Nuala Madigan, Irish Peatland Conversation Council’s Environmental Education Officer facilitated the course.

The goal of the course, as well as raising awareness of food generation and prevention of waste, was to give a thorough education about all parts of composting.  Part of the course involved a visit to the Home Composting Demonstration site in the grounds of Kildare Housing Association.  Participants helped in the setting up of compost holding units and turning systems as well as a wormery.

Enjoying Feile Bride 2017

Luka Bloom and Cormac Breatnach performing at Feile Bride

Australian visitors Gail and Fran enjoying Feile Bride.

Prof. Mairin Ni Dhonnchadha, NUI Galway with Dominic McEvoy, Kildare Education Centre at Annual General Lecture

Enda Phelan

Enda thompson Phelan, AOIFA with some of her floral art creations, celebrating 25 years of Feile Bride



Solas Bhride Team and Cairde Bhride celebrate together after a successful Feile.

Images from Feile Bride 2017

Images from Feile Bride 2017

Participants enjoy the Presentation on the Traditions and Customs associated with St. Brigid

Participants enjoying learning about the Traditions and Customs associated with St. Brigid and the celebration of St. Brigid's Day.


Sacred Dance Workshop, facilitated by Terry Hennesy, proved a popular event  at the Feile. The theme of the Feile, "Brigid: Flame of Justice and Peace", and significant moments during the past 25th years of Feile Bride was celebrated through dance.



Solas Bhride were delighted to welcome members of the Irish Wheelchairs Association during the pilgrimage to Kildare as part of Feile Bride

The tradition of weaving St. Brigid’s crosses on Brigid’s eve is very much part of Feile Bride.  The Solas Bhride Centre was a hive of activity early on the morning of Brigid’s Eve as many came to learn the art of weaving the cross, or in many cases to relearn, having made crosses as children.  Some were weaving crosses for the first time, visitors from England, USA, Australia and Germany. All proudly displayed their completed crosses at the end of the morning. 

Susan and Judith Boyle held a delightful evening of storytelling on the theme of “Brigid and the Brehon Laws”. They gave an overview of the Brehon laws and all participants were treated to a tasting of the food and drink that they protected and influenced. At the start of the evening all were treated to a glass of “Brigid’s Ale”, a craft beer brewed by Susan and Judith and now sold at their pub in the Market Square, Kildare town.


25th Feile Bride a huge success

Eucharist at St. Brigid's Well

Twenty-five years of Féile Bríde festival came to a close with the celebration of Eucharist at St Brigid’s Garden Well. Celebrant Fr Adrian Carbery, paid special tribute to Brigidines, thanking them for their presence, hospitality and keeping the ‘flame of Brigid’ alive, not only in Kildare but far beyond.
Among the pilgrims at the Well for Mass were family of Sister Alacoque Miller, a pioneering Brigidine to Australia.

Féile Bríde began with the pilgrimage on the eve of Brigid’s day, as some 400 people gathered round the fire before setting out to walk the pilgrim route to St Brigid’s Garden Wells; praying, singing, chanting, led by Deirdre Ní Chinneide.
Martine (Cairde Bhríde) wove the St Brigid’s cross as she turned to the four corners of the Earth - East, South, West and North - to include all humanity and all creation in the weaving. Lifted high, the cross and Brigid’s light led the pilgrims with lights and lanterns.

The Annual Celtic Heritage Lecture on Brigid was hosted at Kildare Education Centre. Dominic McEvoy, director, welcomed Maírín Ní Dhonnchadha  Professor of Old and Middle Irish and Celtic Philology, NUI Galway. Maírín’s scholarly lecture confirmed Brigid - and her women companions – with power to ‘turn back the streams of war.’

Luka Bloom in Concert
Throughout the week, many interesting activities were woven into the programme: including Luka Bloom concert ‘Let your Light shine,’’ a monastic tour of Kildare, Floral art depicting the life of Solas Bhríde, poetry- readings, writers group, sacred dance, and weaving Brigid’s cross.

Afri CONFERENCE Saturday, 4th February:

Joe Murray (Coordinator of Afri) and Sister Rita Minehan introduced the conference theme ‘Darkness to Light’ and welcomed distinguished speakers to the 25th Afri Justice and Peace conference, begun when Sister Mary Teresa Cullen lit the flame in 1993 at the first Feile Bríde.

Dr Alastair McIntosh, PhD, writer, speaker, broadcaster, activist, on the theme ‘Turn back the Streams of War’ stressed the importance of learning the meaning and power of non-violence and to have a deep commitment to it. He praised the leadership of Pope Francis for his Nonviolence: a Style of Politics for Peace, written in 2017 for the 50th World Day of Peace.



Kathy Kelly on ‘Other lands have dreams too’ said, quoting author Arundhati Roy, "Another world is not only possible, it is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." Cathy is a USA peace activist, author and founding member of Voices for Creative Nonviolence ( Cathy’s spoke of the ‘killing machine’ of the US, where troops are replaced by drones. The challenge to all is to experience the suffering and allow it to turn faith into action.


Joe Murray (Coordinator of Afri) concluded the conference by thanking all present for support. Special thanks to Solas Bhríde Centre, Cairde Bhríde and organisers of events, set-up, hospitality, catering. And to sponsors of the conference, including the Missionary Society of Saint Patrick (Kiltegan).
The day ended with traditional Celtic music.

Report by Patricia Mulhall, csb

Feile Bride 2017 launched

Images from the official launch of Feile Bride 2017, which took place on Thursday, January 19th at Solas Bhride.

Viewing photographs from the first Feile Bride in 1993

Celine Broughal, Kildare Town Library and Susan Boyle, Boyle's, Market Square at the Launch. Both will be hosting events during the Feile.

The Rambling Boys, Donie, Sean and Joe, provide the music during the launch

People gathering for the Launch take time to review the programme.

Solas Bhride gets a new Herb Garden

The site set aside for the herb herb-garden-3garden at Solas Bhride was mostly home to a variety of weeds until the beginning of October this year.  Paddy Gleeson, who was a judge on the popular RTE Gardening Series “Super Garden” and formerly Woodie’s DIY resiherb-garden-4dent Horticultural consultant, designed a beautiful herb garden for the Centre. Garden of Eden Landscape, Athy transformed the space over two days.  Paddy, who is renowned for his knowledge of plants, selected the herbs for the garden and presided over the planting.  The garden was ready in time for a talk given by Paddy on Saturday, October 8th, entitled “Herbs: know them and grow them”.  The participants at the workshop were inspired by Paddy’s passion, the variety of herbs he spoke about and how they can create a beautiful space that can be enjoyed as well as their use in cooking and for healing.

The end result is a beautiful space that will be a joy to the senses in terms of taste, aroma and visual impact.
















Loving Sister Earth (LSE) is fostering a nationwide network of prayer and action for our Common Home. Its focus is on Ireland’s Monastic Sites and Holy Places.LSE invited Solas Bhríde to conduct a ritual at St. Brigid’s Well,  Kildare, which will be one of a number of creative rituals available for viewing on the LSE YouTube site on 15          On the same weekend A Sacred Concert, the Story of Love, will be streamed globally from Knock Basilica on The Concert has some of the same themes as Loving Sister Earth.

All details on LSE website


Pilgrim Groups

We have had many pilgrim groups visit the Centre during the past few months, national and international visitors. Many speak of their visit to Solas Bhride as one of the highlights of their pilgrim journey to Ireland.






Surprise Visitor: A surprise visitor among one of the Pilgrim groups was renowned author Sue Monk Kidd who presented Solas Bhride with a signed copy of her best selling book “The Secret Life of Bees.”




Another Surprise Visitor!
Many are familiar with the Legend of the Fox associated with St. Brigid.  Early one morning in late September a fox pfox-solas-bhrideaid a visit to Solas Bhride, lured no doubt by the many rabbits that have taken up residence in the grounds. The fox has been spotted several times since. So now we can claim to  have our very own St. Brigid’s fox!

Recent Happenings at Solas Bhride

Pilgrim Groups

Solas Bhride continues to welcome many pilgrim groups  both National and International. We were delighted to welcome groups from USA, Canada, Norway, Germany, Holland, Portugal, England, Italy, Australia and Brazil to name but a few.  A growing trend this year is the number of parish groups who visited the Centre.
Solas Bhride was privileged to host the delegates of the Brigidine Sisters International Forum for a day’s reflection during their meeting in Ireland in May.

Birgitta Sisters from Losje Kildare, Norway arriving at Solas Bhride

Birgitta Sisters from Losje Kildare, Norway arriving at Solas Bhride

Brigidine Sisters: Mary Minehan, Solas Bhride, Pat Dimick, Melbourne, Maree Marsh, Sydney, Doris Teste, Melbourne, Theresa Kilmurray, Dublin

Brigidine Sisters: Mary Minehan, Solas Bhride, Pat Dimick, Melbourne, Maree Marsh, Sydney, Doris Teste, Melbourne, Theresa Kilmurray, Dublin










World Youth Day
Kildare and Leighlin’s Youth Ministry Team led a youth diocesan pilgrimage to the  International World Youth Day, Krakow 2016 – 24th – 31st July.

The young people had been making preparations in their parishes and held their final preparation meetings at Solas Bhride.

Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board – Community Education Service “Remembrance and Rebellion 2016 Project

People from all across Co. Kildare flocked to the beautiful surroundings of Solas Bhride in Kildare town for the 2016 Adult Learner Festival. The night featured an enchanting exhibition and celebration of the ‘Remembrance and Rebellion 20community-ed-services16 Project’ involving 8 Community Education projects from across Co. Kildare supported by Kildare & Wicklow Education & Training Board. ‘Remembrance and Rebellion’ was part of AONTAS Adult Learners Festival, and was organised by The Community Education Service-Kildare.

Photograph:  Conor O’Leary, tutor, and Fiona O’Keeffe, KWETB, Sr Mary Minehan, Solas Bhride, Susan Cullinane and Lisa Hopkins. Photo: Tony Keane

Celebrating Earth Day

World Earth Day

Earth Day is held each year on April 22nd.  It is a day when people are asked to perform an act of kindness towards the earth.  Earth Day’s Global 2016 theme was “Trees for the Earth”. Over the next five years it is the hope of Earth Day organisers that over 7.8 billion trees will be planted around the world.  At Solas Bhride we planted a numprocessing-to-gardenber of oak trees during the year.  This year to mark Earth Day we decided to plant a wildflower garden.
paddy-gleesonCharles Darwin described the sudden origin of flowering plants, which emerged about 130 million years ago, as an abominable mystery. Dr. Mary O’Connor spoke on the interconnection between pollinators – bees, insects, butterflies and so many other species – and wildflowers.  She stressed the necessity of maintaining suitable habitats for wildflowers and the creatures that live off them.  The human community could not remain in existence without the pollinators. Paddy Gleeson, B.Arg.Sc was on hand to answer any questions about plants.planting-the-wildflowers

Dermot Lawlor, Garden of Eden Landscape, Athy gave input on preparing the soil for a wildflower garden.

Then it was time for planting and blessing the seeds.
Each of us can change our little corner of the planet by simply planting a seed!!

An atmospheric and Uplifting Evening of Music

Owen C Lynch and friends treated the audience to wonderful evening of uplifting music that was indeed a fitting conclusion to St. Brigid’s Day.  The concert, “Songs of Inspiration” was performed by Owen C Lynch and Friends to a full house at Solas Bhride Centre.  All who were lucky enough to have secured tickets for the event were transported by the choice of music and song to another world.

Concert 2 Owen Lyncy in Concert









Sacred DanceSacred Dance



Participants enjoying the Sacred Dance Workshop at Féile Bhríde 2016


Féile Bríde 2016 – Participants enjoy weaving crosses

Feile Bride 2016 4Feile Bride 2016 6Feile Bride 2016 5Feile Bride 2016 3Feile Bride 2016 2Feile Bride 2016 1Feile Feile Bride 2016 is in full swing. Many people, young and old, have enjoyed learning to make St. Brigid’s crosses. For many adults it revived memories of childhood. “I learned to make a St. Brigid’s cross when I was at school but I had forgotten how to do it. I am delighted with the crosses I made today,” said one of the workshop participants





While  the threat of rain did not deter the over 200 people who gathered at St. Brigid’s well on Brigid’s Eve for the candlelight pilgrimage.

The Feile continues until February 7th. Full progamme of events available on the Events page of the website