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)


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.

Dalai Lama Visit

April 13th, 2011

Dalai Lama’s Historic Visit.


His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Richard Moore of Children in Crossfire

The Dalai Lama was invited to Ireland in mid-April 2011 by three charities, Children in Crossfire of which he is patron, and Afri.  The visit to Kildare arose because of the close connection that exists between Afri and the Brigidine Sisters, who have been instrumental in having Kildare, the site of St.Brigid’s monastery, recognized as one of Ireland’s most important monastic sites.

His Holiness visited Kildare Wednesday, April 13th.   The Organisations wanted to give as many as possible, the opportunity to see and hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama and also wished the Dalai Lama to experience some of Ireland’s spiritual and cultural heritage during his brief visit

He arrived in the Market Square in Kildare town where he was welcomed with music and song. Gifts were presented by the Brigidine Sisters and some local children.

The Dalai Lama was presented with the Brigid Flame by Srs. Mary Minehan and Phil O’Shea, Solas Bhride Community, in recognition of his work for peace and his life long commitment to non-violence.

The Dalai Lama experienced the beauty of St. Brigid’s Cathedral and spent some time in meditation with local religious leaders
His Holiness then travelled by car to St. Brigid’s Church where he addressed those assembled on the theme of Compassion.

Kildare  bid farewell to the Dalai Lama and wished him well on his pilgrim journey with a Celtic blessing sung by harpist Fionnuala Gill.

Fr. Tom O’Connor, St. Patrick’s Missionary Society reflects on his experience of meeting and praying with  the Dalai Lama in St. Brigid’s Cathedral.

“For me it was a moment I will treasure for the rest of my life.  We waited with great expectation for nearly an hour as our distinguished visitor eventually made his way to this ancient place of worship.  He looked resplendent in his saffron and maroon robes.  Each of us was introduced to him by Sr. Eileen Deegan, CSB.  I was a little nervous as I waited my turn.  “It is a great privilege to meet you, Your Holiness.  Welcome to Kildare.”  He gently and lovingly took my hand and smiled. Then he bowed and said, “Thank you.  I immediately had the sense of being in the presence of someone very special with a presence and energy that reached out in love, humility, respect and compassion.

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Press Release on Dalai Lama Visit 11th April 2011

Press Release 11th April 2011

“All roads lead to Kildare”. (Ancient Irish saying) D215424B132A4FB7B2D99D3B60EA5F9A-0000322707-0002269396-00500L-5D19AC23281F4DA7ADB3E49C48CC66BA[1]

His Holiness, the Dalai Lama will visit Kildare Town on Wednesday, April 13th.

The Dalai Lama will arrive in the Market Square at 1.30pm. where he will be welcomed with music and song by pupils from local schools in the Kildare area.

The Dalai Lama will be presented with the Brigid Flame by Srs. Mary Minehan and Phil O’Shea, Solas Bhride Community, in recognition of his work for peace and his life long commitment to non-violence. He will also be presented with gifts by the Brigidine Sisters and some local children.

Following the public welcome in the Market Square the Dalai Lama will make his way to St. Brigid’s Cathedral through a guard of honour comprising Kildare children waving white flags, with the strains of the uilleann pipes (played live by Liam O Flynn) in the air.

The Dalai Lama will experience the beauty of St. Brigid’s Cathedral and spend some time in meditation with local religious leaders. After his period of meditation in St. Brigid’s Cathedral His Holiness will travel by car to St. Brigid’s Church where he will address those assembled on the theme of Compassion. Some seven hundred people will be in St. Brigid’s Church to hear this historic address.

The Dalai Lama’s address in St. Brigid’s Church will be web cast live on:


Live web streaming will start at 2pm on Wednesday the 13th April

The Dalai Lama’s spiritual visit to Kildare Town is being organised by Solas Bhride in Kildare Town (Brigidine Sisters) and Children in Crossfire, Afri and Spunout. The Organisations wanted to give as many as possible, the opportunity to see and hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama and also wished the Dalai Lama to experience some of Ireland’s spiritual and cultural heritage during his brief visit.


Highlights from Solas Bhride Golf Classic


The winning team being presented with their prize by Sr. Mary Minehan and Willie Redmond, Golf, Classic Coordinator.

A bright sunny morning, a torrential downpour in the early afternoon and a calm, humid evening was the experience of the participants in the Solas Bhride Golf Classic.The weather did not dampen the goodwill and great sporting spirit that prevailed throughout the event. 

The first prize, sponsored by Newbridge Silverware, was won by Fitzpatrick’s Garage Ltd, Kildare town, team.

In 2nd place was Kildare Chilling Company team, whose prize was sponsored by Kelleher Clothing Company and The Heritage Golf Club.


Kildare Chilling company team proudly display their prize!

3rd Prize went to the Gleeson/O’Donnell  team who succeeded in achieving another day out, compliments of the K Club

4th Prize:  Eamonn Mulhall and Team
5th Prize:  Christy Roche Team



steamThe Dunlea’s Garage, Kilcullen Team were the winners of the All Ladies Team prize, compliments of Whelan’s Pharmacy, Kildare town.


Solas Bhride and Organising Committee greatly appreciate the support of Team Sponsors, Tee Sponsors and Prize Sponsors.  Special thanks to the Curragh Club for their warm welcome and facilitation of the event and especially Joe Connelly who looked after administration on the day.



Eamonn Mulhall and team winners of 4th Prize.

Teams enjoying a day out at Golf clasic!



Seamus Maher and team.


Margaret Walsh and Team




Feile Bride 2011

The theme of Feile Bride this year was “Kindling flames of Hope”.   Ireland and indeed Europe’s continuing economic crisis has left many people jobless and fearful of the future.  The Northern Hemisphere also experienced one of its harshest winters in years while in the Southern Hemisphere floods caused many people to leave their homes. Feile Bride is celebrated at the beginning of spring and the period of the rebirth of nature after the long winter.  New life and fresh beginnings are now distinct possibilities.  It can be a time when new ways of hope can be given a new awareness and new energy. The Feile Programme provided something for everyone and many people participated in the various events.


Weaving St. Brigid’s crosses at Feile Bride 2011

Weaving Workshop, January 30th 2011

Margaret Walsh and Brenda Kindregan facilitated the opening workshop on the customs and traditions of Brigid and the participants had the opportunity to weave St. Brigid’s cross.

Launch of Sli Bhride, February 1st 2011

The Sli na Slainte Routes ( Health walks) “Sli Bhride” (Brigid’s way) and “The Hundred Acres” were launched during Feile Bride. The Sli na Slainte routes are the initiative of the Irish Heart Foundation in association


Launch of Sli Bhride at Feile Bride 2011

with Kildare Sports Partnership and Kildare County Council. When launching the Sli  Phil spoke of the importance of the community of life around us. “Today as we walk we will be aware of the new life that is already bursting forth from the earth.  Our attention will be drawn to the community of life that surrounds us as we walk, and perhaps is watching us as we pass by, asking only that we respect the habitat in which they live, so that all of us can enjoy this part of planet earth that is our home for a while.” Nuala Madigan of the Irish Peatland Foundation drew the walkers attention to the wonder of the biodiversity people encountered on their walk.

“Awakening New Ways of Hope”


Retelling the Legend of the Harps, Feile Bride 2011

In this workshop the Solas Bhride Team explored the Legends of the Harp. In her interpretation of the Legend Brenda Kindregan reflected on how the legend can speak to us today. “Like the chieftain in the story, we need to allow ourselves and one another to have a “change of heart.” Maybe we need to look with the love of compassion to enable and to bless. Maybe we need to recognise the music in all people no matter who they may be. The universe is calling us to break the silence and speak out and act on its behalf as a species among other species. Thomas Berry said “we no longer hear the voices of the rivers, the mountains, or the sea.. What is needed on our part is the capacity for listening to what the earth is telling us.” Maybe today this legend asks us to listen to the music of what happens.









Feile Bride 2010 Celebrations

Weaving of St. Brigid’s Crosses
Large numbers of people gathered at Aras Bhride to learn about the customs and traditions associated with St. Brigid. The highlight of the event was the opportunity provided for all participants to make a St. Brigid’s cross. The workshop facilitator Margaret Walsh was ably assisted by Brenda Kindregan and Joyce White.
February  1st,  La Fheile Bride – St. Brigid’s Day
“A Walk on the Curragh Plain”

Under the expert guidance of Dr.John Feehan U.C.D author of “The Curragh Of Kildare” over 60 people walked on the plains to explore areas of archaeological and geological interest with its significant sacred and historical sites.
During the expedition however people witnessed at first hand the reckless damage done to this unique landscape by the careless and damaging methods used to control the gorse.  Dr. Feehan said that it was incumbent on all of us to find ways to protect the Curragh for future generations.  He encouraged the formation of a group who would come together to learn t about this unique landscape and to become involved in an environmental campaign to protect The Curragh.

Afri Conference
The Afri Féile Bríde Conference 2010 took place on 6 February in the Derby House Hotel, Kildare
Brigidine Sisters Mary Minehan and Phil O’Shea handed over the Brigid Flame to Charles Inness and Richard Moore under St. Brigid’s Perpetual Flame in the Market Square, Kidlare town.  The flame is a symbol of Hope, Peace and Reconciliation.  Charles and Richard are living witnesses that peace and reconciliation are possible.  Read more about their story and presentation “Transcending Conflict – Freedom in Forgiveness” on the Afri website
Sunday, February 7th
Large crowd gathered on Sunday, February 7th to celebrate mass at St. Brigid’s well.