Féile Bríde 2019

Féile Bríde 2019

Féile Bríde 2019 will take place in Solas Bhríde on Saturday, February 9th with Registration at 9.50. The theme of this year’s Féile is Education, Action, Compassion, Hope.
Education, (including self-education) is an essential dimension of transformative action; and compassion in all we do has never been more necessary.  Our speakers this year embody all of these vital qualities. 
Richard Moore, whose living example of compassion is such that the Dalai Lama calls him his hero, will speak about ‘Education the Heart’ in the context of his extraordinary story. Caoimhe de Barra has devoted her energies to pursuing justice and human rights, as Michael Doorly has directed his to promoting global education and equity. Kay Mulhall personifies the spirit and aim of the Brigidines ‘to stand in solidarity with the oppressed and seek to build a more inclusive community.’ While Meghan Carmody represents a new generation of activists with passion and determination to see our world transformed.  
Such people and actions – as well as Laoise Kelly’s magical music – bring us hope, the vital antidote to cynicism and despair. A new year, a new spring and a renewed sense of purpose can see us decisively turn the tide in 2019.

Book online here  or download the brochure and the booking form and return by post to Afri, 8 Cabra Road, Dublin 7, D07 T1W2

Reflections from Féile Bríde 2018


Afri’s 2018 Féile Bríde took place on Saturday 3rd February in Solas Bhríde in Kildare town.  It was a rich and full day with contributions from Peadar Kirby about caring for our global village, Hanny Van Geel (Via Campesina), Rose Hogan (Trócaire) on ‘food for life’, John Maguire on ‘Peace Meal Change’ and wrongfully imprisoned Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle, as well as music and poetry.  You can get a flavour of the day in a short film made by RoJ.

Here is a report from Sr Patricia Mulhall, who attended the conference:

This is the twenty-sixth year of another well-attended Afri conference hosted at Solas Bhríde Centre, Kildare.  As visiting speaker, Peadar Kirby named it, the Ard fheis of Afri. Some 200 people attended in the beautiful setting of the Centre & Hermitages, a centre of hospitality, brightness radiating a warm welcome. Brigidines – Mary, Phil and Rita – organise and manage the Centre with Cairde Bhríde, faithful friends and staff.

 ‘Light out of Darkness’ was a fitting theme for a day punctuated by music and message of hope. Speakers with academic presentations and personal stories enlightened and entertained the participants. The day began with a presentation from Peadar Kirby, entitled ‘Caring for our Global village.’ Peadar is Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy in the University of Limerick, Ireland. He is associated with the eco-village of Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, a 67-acre site with 50 acres of land for allotments, farming and woodland as well as 50 low- energy homes. Continue reading “Reflections from Féile Bríde 2018”

Date for your diary – Féile Bríde 2017

Drawing by Audrey Walsh

Among the issues to be explored at this year’s conference will be forced migration – the inevitable consequence of war and climate change.

Speakers will include distinguished peace activist and author Kathy Kelly and Scottish writer and campaigner Alastair McIntosh.  Find out more in our brochure.

To book tickets online go here or download the booking form and send to Afri by post.

To see who’s going on facebook go here.  

Reflections from Féile Bríde 2015

From left to right: Bruce Kent, Emanuela Russo, Joe Murray, Salome Mbugua and Colin Archer.  Photo: Pauhla McGrane
From left to right: Bruce Kent, Emanuela Russo, Joe Murray, Salome Mbugua and Colin Archer. Photo: Pauhla McGrane

Imagination and celebration were the order of the day at our 22nd annual Féile Bríde gathering in Kildare. ‘Occupy the imagination’ was the theme and the new Solas Bhríde a cause for celebration – built with the utmost attention to detail, as explained by Rita Minehan, in the teeth of the recession – a prizewinning example of a sustainable building in the heart of the Curragh. Warmth and welcome is added in abundance by Mary, Phil, Rita and members of Cairde Bríde who continue the tradition of hospitality for which Brigid was renowned.

Bruce Kent and Colin Archer, who have devoted most of their lives to promoting peace and – daringly – to the abolition of war, gave dynamic and thought provoking presentations on the extent to which ‘the world is over armed and peace is underfunded’. Bruce, who is in his 8th decade is an inspiration, with his indomitable spirit, his great sense of humour and his constant commitment to the cause of peace.

Film of Féile Bríde by RoJ

The essence of Bruce’s presentation was that ‘unless war is eliminated, the human race will be’ and so he has founded the Movement for the Abolition of War. This may seem like a far-fetched idea but so did the elimination of the slave trade when small groups of Abolitionists met in various parts of the world in the 17th century. (Of course we now have a new slave trade in the form of human trafficking but – unlike the slave trade – it is generally  regarded as the odious crime that it is).

Emanuela Russo spoke about the urgent need to wrest control of food production from the hands of profit-driven, environmentally destructive corporations and to establish food sovereignty, defined as “the right of people to grow and consume food that is socially, culturally, ecologically and economically appropriate to local conditions.” She went on to say: “the current global food system creates hunger and obesity at the same time. There are 900 million hungry people in the world and almost the same amount of obese people. One of the reasons why this is happening is that all around the world, more and more food systems are controlled by big corporations and agribusinesses with the support of national governments and international institutions (such as IMF and WB, WTO), these food systems regard food as a commodity and their main goal is not to feed the people but to make profit.” Continue reading “Reflections from Féile Bríde 2015”

Date for your Diary – Féile Bríde 2015

Afri - Feile Bride 2015
Féile Bríde 2015 will take place on Saturday 7th February in the Solas Bhríde Centre in Kildare town. The title of this year’s Féile Bríde is “Occupy the Imagination”.

‘Another world is possible’ – A simple and confident expression of an ability to step outside the existing paradigm and imagine an alternative! This ability to imagine, to voice the imagined, and to take action to manifest it, is a wonderful gift and holds the potential to a life well spent; a seed full of potential for change. Whether it be in the small fields of power within which we operate on a day-to-day basis or whether the net of imagination is cast farther to embrace other fields and other people, the role of the imagination in creating change is a vital one.

Speakers at this year’s Féile Bríde include those who similarly inhabit their dreams and make them visible. Bruce Kent, a name synonymous with peace-making and founder of an organisation that challenges the military mindset of countless generations, the Movement for the Abolition of War; Colin Archer of the International Peace Bureau, another life-long peace activist who similarly and consistently presents the kind of world that would be possible if we stopped sacrificing life in its many forms to the god of war and chose instead to put our focus and energy into the protection of life; Emanuela Russo, member of the Via Campesina and founding member of Food Sovereignty Ireland, by word and example occupies the imagined world where food production is in the hands of the people in respectful alliance with Mother Earth; And Salome Mbugua, working to bring about the world she dreams of in common with Brigid where justice, peace and human rights are upheld and hospitality is a belief in practice.

We invite you to join with us; to bring along your dreams and to add your voices to the dreamers’ discourse. Together, let’s ‘occupy the Imagination’ and discover what great changes we can help bring into being. Continue reading “Date for your Diary – Féile Bríde 2015”

Feile Bride 2012: Fire and Food

Saturday 4th February, Derby House Hotel, Kildare Town

This year’s Féile Bríde is a celebration of fire and food. There will be contributions from Mayra Gomez from Bolivia, who has worked around the world on peace and justice issues, and from Roisin O’Brien from Be The Change.

The programme also includes a short theatre piece, musical contributions from a Bolivian musician, some planting, workshops, and the lighting of the Brigid Flame!

Mayra Gomez will light the flame at the new Solas Bhride Centre site at 1pm and registration will follow at 1.30pm at the Derby House Hotel.

You can book on by downloading our brochure: Feile Bride Brochure 2012.

Dalai Lama says ‘vast possibilities are available to the people of Ireland’ in advance of April visit

PRESS RELEASE, 1 February 2011

Issued by POSSIBILITIES 2011 (Children in Crossfire, SpunOut.ie, Afri)

Speaking in advance of an April visit to Ireland, Nobel Peace Laureate and exiled Tibetan Leader the Dalai Lama has today delivered a message to the people of Ireland in which he calls for people to demonstrate courage and hope.

“Our world is in turmoil but this also provides an opportunity for true transformation towards peace, justice and happiness if we show courage and hope.” he said in the message which can be viewed in full on the new website http://www.possibilities.ie

The Dalai Lama’s message comes ahead of his April 13th – 14th visit, which is in support of the new POSSIBILITIES 2011 social change initiative, which is being launched by 3 non-profit organisations; Children in Crossfire, SpunOut.ie, and Afri.

“It is my hope that POSSIBILITIES 2011 will open up a space of dialogue, action and reflection and strengthen the realization that vast possibilities are available to the people of Ireland at this time.” said the Tibetan spiritual and political leader.

During his visit the Dalai Lama will deliver a talk entitled ‘A Call For Universal Responsibility’ at a major national Social Forum at the Citywest Hotel, Dublin on April 13th, which also includes Mary Robinson, the popular Irish music group Kila and other yet to be announced very special guests. He will then visit Kildare, in partnership with the Solas Bhríde Centre, where he will speak on ‘The Spirituality of Compassion’, before concluding his visit on Thursday April 14th with a talk entitled  ‘The Power of Forgiveness’ at the University of Limerick.

His visit, which is his 3rd to the Republic of Ireland (having visited in 1973 and 1991), follows a personal invitation from Derry man Richard Moore who the Dalai Lama describes as his personal hero.  In 1972, aged 10, Richard was blinded by a rubber bullet and years later he befriended the soldier who shot him. He has gone on to become a leading advocate for children through his Children in Crossfire international development organisation, of which the Dalai Lama is patron.

According to Richard, the Dalai Lama represents the type of progressive leadership that is badly needed in Ireland right now: “The Dalai Lama offers a deep wisdom to help us better understand and address the urgent and interconnected range of economic, social, political and environmental problems facing us today. He is someone respected by people from all walks of life, someone who can help us realise the real possibilities for change that exist in amongst all the tough times.”

More information on POSSIBILITIES 2011 and the Dalai Lama’s visit to Dublin, Kildare and Limerick, including ticket information, is available from www.possibilities.ie. Tickets go on sale for the POSSIBILITIES 2011 Social Forum tomorrow Wednesday February 2rd at 9am from Ticketmaster.ie and Ticketmaster outlets north and south.




His Holiness The 14th The Dalai Lama’s Message to the People of Ireland (via Office of Tibet )

“I am looking forward to visiting Ireland in April to participate in a range of events organized by Children in Crossfire, Afri and SpunOut.ie. I very much look forward to speaking in Dublin, Kildare and Limerick at events which I hope will help people realise their own potential, as well as the immense possibilities that exist for realising much needed personal, social and global change. It is my hope that POSSIBILITIES 2011 will open up a space of dialogue, action and reflection and strengthen the realization that vast possibilities are available to the people of Ireland at this time.

Our world is in turmoil but this also provides an opportunity for true transformation towards peace, justice and happiness if we show courage and hope.  As I have said before, I truly believe that individuals can make a difference in society and it is up to each of us to make the best use of our time to help create a happier and fairer world.
It will be especially important to visit at a time when Ireland is facing serious turmoil, as is the world as a whole, grappling as it is with economic upheaval, climate change, and great and growing chasms between rich and poor.

I hope that my time in Ireland – in the company of my good friend and my hero Richard Moore – will contribute towards the building of a new civic and cultural force for change.”



Dalai Lama specific queries/comment
Richard Moore: Founder of Children in Crossfire | Tel.: Derry +44 (0)28 7126 9898 | Email: ursula.moore@childrenincrossfire.org | Web: www.childrenincrossfire.org |

POSSIBILITIES initiative, including April 13th Social Forum
1) Joe Murray: Coordinator of Afri, | Tel.: 086-2116956 / 01-8827563/7581|Email: admin@afri.ie | Web: www.afri.ie |
2) Ruairí McKiernan: SpunOut.ie Founder | Tel. 091-533693 | Email: ruairi@spunout.ie | Web: www.spunout.ie

Kildare visit
Rita Minehan csb, Solas Bhríde Centre | Tel.: 01-8642440 or 045-522890 |Email: Rminehan@gmail.com or info@solasbhride.com | Web: www.solasbhride.ie

Limerick visit
Sheena Doyle, Press Officer, University of Limerick | Tel.: 061 202219 / 086 3807859 | email: sheena.doyle@ul.ie | Web: www.ul.ie/dalailama

1. Children in Crossfire

Children in Crossfire are a Derry based international organisation founded by Richard Moore in 1996. Children in Crossfire works to protect and promote the rights of some the world’s most vulnerable children, and in particular to ensure primary school access to all children and to reduce infant mortality.

Richard Moore, Founder:

“Children in Crossfire are delighted and honoured that His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, has agreed to come to Ireland to speak at the Possibilities event.  We can not think of anyone more suited to provide leadership, hope and inspiration at a time when the world and in particular Ireland needs it most.  Through the series of events that His Holiness is speaking at in Dublin, Limerick and Kildare we envisage that people will be empowered and given the confidence to act and bring about change at a personal, local and global level.”

2. Afri

Afri is a peace and justice organisation who for the last 35 years have been active in promoting peace and development in Ireland and abroad. Afri holds the annual Féile Bhríde peace conference in Kildare, a winter school on social justice issues and an annual Famine memorial walk in Co. Mayo. Supporters include musician Christy Moore, Former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who is the Patron of the organsiation.

Joe Murray, Coordinator:

“Afri is delighted to welcome the Dalai Lama, the Head of State and spiritual leader of Tibet, to Ireland. We welcome him as the representative of the people of Tibet who continue to experience suppression of their rights on a daily basis. We welcome him as one who knows at first hand the reality of colonialism and political violence as a result of Chinese aggression towards his homeland. We welcome him as a symbol of resistance to cultural domination and political annexation. We welcome him as a refugee, forced into exile on St. Patrick’s Day 1959. We hope his visit will be a source of support for refugees in Ireland and generate a more enlightened, generous and welcoming approach to refugees and asylum seekers here. We welcome him as a Nobel Peace Laureate, the first to be recognised for his concern for the global environment. We hope that the Dalai Lama’s life of service to humanity will be an example that will inspire others. Mindful of our own history, Afri has always striven to develop links between Ireland and oppressed people around the world and has worked in solidarity with oppressed communities in Latin America, the Philippines, South Africa, East Timor and the Niger Delta, amongst other places. We see the visit of the Dalai Lama as a way of strengthening the links between Ireland and the people of Tibet. We believe that this visit is happening at a crucial time, when hope, courage, integrity and true leadership are urgently required.  We believe that his visit will be a sign of hope to those here who are marginalised and have their rights trampled upon by government or corporations. We hope for a re-awakening and a deepening of awareness about the way in which our planet is being devastated and our resources squandered. The Dalai Lama’s dream for Tibet is that it would be a zone of peace at the heart of Asia. We believe that Ireland could become a zone of peace at the heart of Europe, rejecting warfare and the violence of corporations who put profit before people.”

3. SpunOut.ie

SpunOut.ie is a pioneering driven youth organisation that works to empower young people to make a difference in their own lives and in the world around them. SpunOut.ie provides information, support and opportunities for young people to engage in health and social issues and discuss, debate and act on the issues that affect them such as mental health, education, employment and climate change. SpunOut.ie also runs an Academy of Activism and will soon launching a micro-grants awards scheme amongst other youth health and civic initiatives.

Comment by SpunOut.ie Founder, Ruairí McKiernan:

“We welcome The Dalai Lama to Ireland and what is a turning point in our country’s history. We are having to face up to our past, present and our future and many people are looking within to question our values and our culture. The Dalai Lama is one of the greatest messengers for peace and inner revolution alive. He echoes Gandhi’s ‘be the change you want to see’ mantra and is an all too rare figure of integrity and courage. As a teenager and leader of a peaceful isolated country he was forced to deal with a brutal invasion of his country and later into negotiations with the infamous Chairman Mao. The Dalai Lama has a great affinity for young people and SpunOut.ie believes he can add huge value to our work in empowering and mobilising Ireland’s massive population of young people, who desperately need support and opportunities to transform our struggling island.”

4. Solas Bhride Centre, Kildare

Solas Bhríde is a small Christian centre, established in Kildare in 1992.  It is committed to unfolding the legacy of St. Brigid of Kildare in a creative and life-giving way in the 21st century.  The Centre welcomes peoples of all faiths and none in their search of meaning.  It has become a popular destination for pilgrims and visitors, local, national and international.  Brigid’s flame, tended in Solas Bhride since it was relit at an Afri Justice and Peace Conference in Kildare in 1993, burns as a beacon of hope, justice and peace for our country and our world. Plans are in place for a larger ecologically sustainable Centre and Hermitages in the near future.

Rita Minehan csb, Solas Bhríde Centre:

“Solas Bhride is honoured to welcome His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Kildare. The people will extend a warm Céad Mile Fáilte to the Dalai Lama.  He is renowned worldwide as a spiritual leader and a man of peace and we eagerly await his message of peace and compassion.  The Dalai Lama will have an opportunity to imbibe some of the rich heritage of Kildare.  St. Brigid, its founding saint, is renowned through the ages as a spiritual leader, peacemaker, a woman of the land, an advocate for the poor and a woman of legendary hospitality. The Dalai Lama will be presented with the Brigid flame, and will give an address to those assembled on the theme of Compassion.”
www.solasbhride.com (Dalai Lama visit info published in late February)

5. University of Limerick

University of Limerick Professor Don Barry, UL President:

“We are extremely honoured to host this Lecture and to welcome the Dalai Lama onto our campus at UL.  His Holiness is respected all over the world as a truly inspirational spiritual teacher whose energy, compassion and wisdom touch everyone he meets. He has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and the US Congressional Medal in recognition of his tireless efforts to promote the compassionate and peaceful resolution of human conflict and we very much look forward to hearing his message on the Power of Forgiveness when he speaks at UL”