Tom Mccutcheon Kildare Town Heritage Centre, Cllr Suzanne Doyle, Sr Phil O'shea Solas Bhride
Our Stories

Humans of Kildare – Sr. Phil from Solas Bhríde

𝙏𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙪𝙨 𝙖 𝙗𝙞𝙩 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙎𝙤𝙡𝙖𝙨 𝘽𝙝𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙚.

Well, Solas Bhríde is a Christian spirituality centre that focuses on St. Brigid and her legacy, unfolding that legacy, and how it can speak to us today. I suppose St. Bridge is growing in popularity… not only in Ireland, but in actual fact all over the world. St Brigid was a spiritual leader and she was a woman leader, which is also very important! She was an advocate for the poor and a peacemaker, a woman of the land and a woman of welcome and hospitality… they are the values we celebrate here at Solas Bhríde.

We’re located close to the Irish National Stud, within walking distance of St. Brigid’s Cathedral, and we welcome pilgrim groups from all over the world. We organise short and gentle pilgrimage days for reflection while visiting St. Brigid’s Well or exploring St. Brigid’s Trail, which was developed by Into Kildare and is absolutely lovely!

𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙘𝙩 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙪𝙥𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙁𝙚𝙞𝙡𝙚 𝘽𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙚?

It’s definitely a very vibrant, exciting time for Kildare Town, with many groups and organisations working together to prepare for the festival. This year, we have a series mixture of online and in-person events. We have pilgrimage rituals, sacred dance workshops, lectures, walks and much more. In fact… SULT Artists, the Kildare artists group, are running an exhibition for the duration of Feile Bride in the centre which is so lovely because the theme is going to be around St. Brigid herself.

𝙏𝙚𝙡𝙡 𝙪𝙨 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙎𝙤𝙡𝙖𝙨 𝘽𝙝𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙢𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙠𝙣𝙤𝙬.

Well… Solas Bhríde means ‘Flame of Brigid’ – which is one thing. The centre is also an ecologically sustainable building in the shape of a St Brigid’s Cross. Also many people who visit talk about a certain sense of peace and tranquillity that the experience. In fact, some people come for retreats… like at the present time we have an author who is proofreading her book, and she wanted a little bit of quiet time and to get away from Wi-Fi and television, a little bit of solitude… it is a place where you can hear your beat again, yeah.

𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩’𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙤 𝙙𝙤 𝙞𝙣 𝙆𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙤𝙛𝙛?

Ohh… there’s a lovely Slí na Sláinte walk around by us. It’s about three to five kilometres that also takes you around by St. Brigid’ Well. I actually love the Curragh, I think the Curragh plains is such a beautiful place. Oh… and Donadea Forest, any woodland walks. Yes walking I suppose, would be a big thing for me during my time off.

𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚’𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙚𝙖𝙩 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙆𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙖𝙧𝙚?

I mean, Kildare Town is just a wonderful place for eating out in, you know? You currently have the Silken Thomas, you have Harte’s, and then you have Mary Catherine’s Delicatessen on Academy Street. There’s just such a lovely, wonderful atmosphere in Kildare Town… even during the pandemic. Many people who visit and stay really have a lot of praise for it.

𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩’𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙨𝙤𝙣𝙜?

I’m more of a classical person, but if you ask me my favourite singer I’d have to say I think Luka Bloom is wonderful. He has a lovely song that was composed around St. Brigid’s Day many years ago and it’s become so popular. It’s called ‘Don’t Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You’, and I love it. It’s a timeless message, especially as we’re coming outta the dark of the winter at the moment, and the dark times of COVID, please God, that we’re gonna leave behind us.

𝙒𝙝𝙖𝙩’𝙨 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙛𝙖𝙫𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙚?

Oh… I think I’ve watched Shaw Shank Redemption about five times. I think it’s just an incredible piece of film, and it’s one I go back to and watch over and over again. Um, Fried Green Tomatoes was another one of mine. I think if I saw Meryl Streep’s name in a film, I’m probably going to watch it cause she has such diverse characters and maybe I’m drawn to the woman heroine, absolutely.

For more information on upcoming events & activities for Féile Bríde visit, click here