Impressions from Féile Bríde 2014

This year’s Féile Bríde aimed to mark the issues of “Life: Source or Resource-Enslavement versus sovereignty.”  The day started with the beautiful music of harpist Fionnuala Gill as the Brigid flame was carried into the conference hall.  The event made connections across borders, nations and nationalities, attracting speakers and partners from East Africa to the West of Ireland, in order to tackle together the unequal distribution of resources and the threats to food sovereignty.

Contributors to Féile Bríde 2014: (from left to right): Abjata Khalif (Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network); Mia De Faoite (Turn off the Red Light campaigner); Donal Dorr (author, theologian and Turn off the Red Light campaigner); Fergal Anderson (farmer and Food Sovereignty Ireland), and Pete Mullineaux (poet, dramatist and arts facilitator). Photo: Joe Murray

Speakers included Afri’s partner Abjata Khalif of the Kenyan pastoralist Journalist Network, Fergal Anderson a small farmer from the west of Ireland, veteran writer and campaigner on issues of human trafficking, Donal Dorr, and Mia De Faoite, a survivor of prostitution speaking from her experience. Continue reading “Impressions from Féile Bríde 2014”

Date for your Diary – Féile Bríde 2014

Féile Bríde 2014 will take place on Saturday 8th February in the Osborne Centre in Kildare town. The title of this year’s Féile Bríde is “Life: Source or Resource – Enslavement versus Sovereignty”.

Féile Bríde 2014 will look at issues of life, light and liberty with perspectives from our partner Abjata Khalif of the Kenya Pastoralist Journalists Network; from Fergal Anderson linking food sovereignty issues locally and globally, as a ‘small farmer’ from the West of Ireland; and Donal Dorr will be joined by a woman with personal knowledge of the issue of human trafficking to explore the meaning of slavery, sovereignty and sustenance. Continue reading “Date for your Diary – Féile Bríde 2014”

Post Hedge School Impressions: A Disarming Event

Rob Fairmichael attended the International Peace Bureau council meeting and Afri Hedge School in Dublin in November and wrote this report…

Ruairi McKiernan speaking at the 2012 Hedge School, “Non Violent Struggles for Democracy”. Tomas Magnusson (IPB) and Lina Ben Mhenni (Sean MacBride Peace Prize laureate for 2012) are seated on the right.

A Disarming Event
‘Disarming’ in English can mean two quite different things. So far as the peace movement is concerned it implies the process of disarmament, of overcoming militarism, and building a real and lasting peace. But ‘disarming’ can also imply pleasant and charming in a low key way, possibly through calming hostility and building confidence. I certainly was not hostile to the International Peace Bureau (IPB) to begin with but I think I could describe the IPB council meeting and related conference as being disarming in both senses. Significantly, this was the first ever IPB council to be held in Ireland.

Andy Storey (Afri), Rose Kelly (Afri) and Paddy Reilly (Kimmage DSC). Photo by Derek Speirs.

There were two or three related events. The first was the IPB council business event. The second was a conference which Afri runs in different locations throughout Ireland every autumn but which this time was co-organised with IPB, using IPB people as speakers and resource people. Also speaking at the Hedge School were Afri’s Rose Kelly and Kimmage DSC’s Paddy Reilly, in a session on “Climate Change, Resources and War” chaired by Afri Chairperson, Andy Storey. The conference title was “Joining the dots: Disarmament, Development, Democracy.” In order to make a tangible response to the threat of Climate Change, participants in the Hedge School planted a rowan tree which was then named “Lina [Ben Mhenni]’s tree”. In addition there was the award of IPB’s Sean MacBride Peace Prize to two prominent women involved in the ‘Arab Spring’. Continue reading “Post Hedge School Impressions: A Disarming Event”

Awakenings – Afri’s Féile Bríde Conference 2010

The Afri Féile Bríde Conference 2010 took place on 6 February in the Derby House Hotel, Kildare.

The event celebrated the wonder of our Universe, captured remarkably in the film ‘The Awakening Universe’, and through the reflections of Nellie McLaughlin whose book ‘Out of Wonder’ is also a celebration of the incomprehensible beauty, intricacy and vastness of the Universe.

The indomitable human spirit too can often confound us in its power and ability to inspire. Such is the case of Richard Moore who, amazingly, despite being blinded by a rubber bullet at the age of ten, has never wallowed in bitterness or hatred. ‘I learned to see life in a different way’ is how he describes his remarkable acceptance of circumstances that would plunge most people into understandable despair, bitterness and desire for revenge. Not only did Richard accept his blindness but he had an abiding ambition to meet the soldier responsible for firing that rubber bullet on that fateful day. He persevered in his quest until he succeeded and Charles, the soldier, joined Richard on stage during a very moving and inspiring session entitled: ‘Transcending Conflict: Freedom in Forgiveness’.

Richard and Charles told their inter-twining story highlighting the consequences of war and conflict. Richard also went on to talk about his work in Development in Tanzania and Ethiopia and the importance of achieving the UN Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the number of people suffering from hunger by 2015.

As every year, the discussions were embedded in music through the wonderful performances of Fionnuala Gill and Liz Madden and her band.

Féile Bríde 2010 – Image Gallery

Unless indicated otherwise, all pictures taken by Susan Hensel, Afri.

Féile Bríde 2010: Awakenings

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Derby House Hotel, Kildare.


1.10 Lighting of the Flame – Richard and Charles

1.30 Registration

2.00 Opening Music – Fionnuala Gill

2.10 Introduction

2.15 ‘The Awakening Universe’ – short Film

2.30 Response

2.40 The Evolving Story of the Universe – Nellie McLaughlin

3.40 Music – Fionnuala Gill

3.45 Tea Break

4.15 Music – Liz Madden

4.20 Transcending Conflict: Freedom in Forgiveness – Richard Moore with Charles

5.00 Discussion

6.00 Concluding Music – Liz Madden and friends

7.30 Dinner

9.00 Céili (free admission for conference participants)


Admission to the conference: €20 (concession: €15)

Dinner: €20

For the full programme of the week long Féile Bríde Festival check out