Beannachtaí na Féile Bhríde – Imbolc

While 1st February is Brigid’s Day according to the solar and Gregorian calendar, 19th February 2021 will be Imbolc according to the lunar calendar. Our thanks to Emer Cloherty for this information.

We have access to one of the many talks Mary Condren has been giving this year. This is hosted and recorded by WATER (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual)  available on YouTube here. The audio recording is  available on SoundCloud here. (Be aware that the sound quality improves and is perfect from 4min:28 into the recording).

To make a Brigid’s cross, see Ruth Marshall’s demonstration HERE.

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Cailleach revealed in ice!

photo courtesy of Ruth Marshall
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An Online Celebration in Preparation for Hallowe’en

Samhain flyer

This is an event reclaiming the Spirit of Hallowe’en from the clutches of commercialism. Our virtual event will reflect on the ancient spirit of the Cailleach at Samhain , remember the old traditions for celebrating the festival, and honour our ancestors at this special turning point of the Old Year.

Tickets available through eventbrite below

Resource Persons

Stuart McHardy

Topic: Tigh na cailleach: – A gateway to the landscape of the Goddess in Scotland. A surviving ritual site in Glen Lyon illustrates just how much the Cailleach still inhabits the landscape of modern Scotland – and elsewhere?

Stuart McHardy is a writer, historical scholar, poet, musician, storyteller and for many years has been a Teaching Fellow at Edinburgh University’s Centre for Open Learning. His unique take on Scotland’s history and culture comes from a thorough immersion in the storytelling arts and history alike. Past President of the Pictish Arts Society and one time Director of the Scots Language Centre, his recent research in Geomythography focusses on cultural continuities that provide clear links to the pre-Christian beliefs of the indigenous peoples of the British Isles and beyond.



Emer Cloherty

Topic: Meaning and Purpose of Samhain

Emer is a Druid, Saoi, and Elder of Old Irish native spirituality, who was brought up in the tradition and trained since childhood in the art of remembering. Emer can offer invaluable information and perspectives on our almost forgotten rituals, and practices and for Samhain she will offer rich resources to those envisioning Samhain anew. She does not have a website, but has imparted her wisdom and traditions through other means, to many around the world.

Dolores Whelan

Topic: The Gifts of Samhain.

Dolores Whelan is an educator, author and spiritual guide in human and spiritual development for the past 30 years. Dolores draws on wisdom and insights from many spiritual traditions, modern psychology   especially  the evolution of consciousness and “The work that reconnects”   She has woven  all of these threads into  the fabric of  work  she shares in the world, and understands the importance of  recovering lost wisdom including such resources to  evolve  towards  more wholeness.

The Irish spiritual, mythological, and wisdom teaching are at the heart of her teaching.   She is passionate about the protection of sacred landscapes and the celebration of ancient Celtic traditions, especially the seasonal rituals.

Author: Ever Ancient, Ever New – Celtic Spirituality for the 21st Century (second edition 2011).

Contributor: Celtic Threads ( 1999)   The  Quite Quarter Anthology  (2009) and Constant Heart  (2010) Brigit  Sun of Womanhood (2013)She co-created  of the perpetual  Celtic  Calendar with the American  artist the late Cynthia   Matyi.

Festivals: Co-founder of the Brigid of Faughart   Festival:   and a cofounder of the  Brigid’s Way walking pilgrimage:  See 

Ruth Marshall

Topics: Masks, Poetry, Games and Stories

Ruth Marshall is a poet, storyteller and crafter living in Co. Clare.  Author of three books, Ruth facilitates poetry, arts and heritage workshops for children, and creativity and personal transformation for adults. She brings storytelling to schools, accompanied with craft work, songs, voice work movement and her ukulele. She is a regular contributor to the Clare Museum’s education programme, with a speciality around the seasonal festival traditions.


Limerick Folk Tales,The History Press, 2016; Clare Folk Tales,The History Press, 2013; Celebrating Irish Festivals, Hawthorn Press, 2003.  

Poetry: Electric Acorn, 9, 2001 (Bird Woman; Sleeping Beauty); Women’s Work IV,The Works,Wexford, 1993 (My Grandmother’s Ring); NorthWords, Scotland 1989 (Winter Comes Earlier); The Stony Thursday Book, Limerick, Autumn 2001 (Island Event ); The Three-legged Stool, Freedom Press, 2003 (Bird Woman;Woollens); Into the Further Reaches, anthology edited by Jay Ramsay, PS Avalon, 2007 (The Country of Love; Three; Celebrating Brigit; Out of the Night of Stars;The Low Road); Clare Champion, Ennis, Co Clare, 2015 (Poetry Knit Prayer); The Stony Thursday Book, Limerick, 2015 (Instructions: Preparing for Dark Times) ;

Links: How the Forget-me-not Got its Name:

The Whale of Mull

King of the Sea:

The Key Flower:

Jane Brideson

Topic: A slide show of some of Jane’s paintings of the Cailleach will be shown during our event.

See this interview for Jane’s background and current concerns.

Websites and Social Media:

Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin

Topic: Beannú: Padraigin’s latest recording, Beannú, will open and close our event.

Of County Armagh and Louth parentage, Pádraigín Ní Uallacháin was raised in an Irish speaking family of eight. She is a multifaceted traditional artist: a professional singer since 1999 and a researcher, song writer, author and composer.

Publications: She is the author of A Hidden Ulster – people, songs and traditions of Oriel (Four Courts Press, 2003), and the author/editor of Oriel Arts Project, a major digital project launched in 2017.

Songs & Recordings: Singing has been the main focus of her professional career – recording nine studio albums and restoring song in the corpus of the Irish language Oriel song tradition and also new song composition. To date she has restored and recorded over 40 Oriel songs that had been lost to the tradition, and has recorded nine other studio albums of song.

Traditional: She has recorded nine studio albums including traditional songs on An Dara Craiceann (1995), and a recent double album, Ceoltaí Oirialla (2017).

Current Work: Her interest in devotional and spiritual song has seen the composition of sacred music in the traditional style, and various devotional songs recorded on the Fonn Ceoil album.

Research on Breifne song, harp songs and songs of Oriel poets is ongoing.

In 2020, Pádraigín released ‘Beannú’, the first composition in an upcoming body of work on the Irish keening tradition.

Website:   (With extensive further biography)

Time Zones: In Ireland and UK the time switches from summer to winter time this weekend, “falling back” from UTC+1 to GMT / UTC. This website will give you a useful link from your timezone to ours.

RECLAIMING THE SPIRIT OF HALLOWE’EN (Samhain) : Listening to the Voice of the Cailleach.

Use the eventbrite link below for TICKETS.
Please note, your credit card details must be entered first, BELOW the checkout button and before RETURNING UP to click “checkout”.


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We regret to announce the death of Margaret MacCurtain

WomanSpiritIreland regrets to announce the death of Margaret MacCurtain, our dear friend, resource person, advisor, and founder member of the Institute for Feminism and Religion, now using the name: Woman Spirit Ireland. 

Margaret had been ill for some time and she spent her final years in the care of Santa Sabina Nursing Home, where she was tended by her loving sisters, nurses and staff. 
Nevertheless, her final years saw the publication of three of her books, and her brilliant mind was fully functioning up to her final days.  

Woman Spirit Ireland extends our deepest sympathy to her Dominican Sisters, and extended family including her beloved sister, Eilis.

The links below, including one from the Irish Times, will give some flavour of a life well lived, to those who had not the privilege of knowing her in person. 

May she rest in peace and love, and may her generous, compassionate, humourous, kind, and mischievous spirit live on in all of us. 

Woman Spirit Ireland

Irish Times Link

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Sacred Gaia

Sacred Gaia

A Memorial Day in Honour of

Anne Primavesi

Pioneering Irish Eco-Feminist Theologian

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019
10:30 — 17:00
Mercy International Centre
64A Lower Baggot Street, Dublin 2

Anne PrimavesiBorn in Dublin, Anne (Sheridan) Primavesi, initially joined the Holy Faith Congregation. Following her marriage to Mark Primavesi, Anne (with Mark’s great support) continued her commitment to spirituality, theology and ecology through her many published works, seminars, lectures, and study days in Europe and around the world.  Several Irish and other European congregations were privileged to have her speak at their events. Beyond Ireland, many deeply appreciated her ground breaking work on the relationship between ecology and theology. As some have remarked since her death, she was way before her time, having been deeply influenced by James Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis in relation to feminist theory and theology.

Sacred GaiaWoman Spirit Ireland, in conjunction with her family, are privileged to host this Memorial Day in her honour.  Several resource persons have kindly agreed to be present with us, both to honour her great contribution to feminism and ecology, and also to ensure that her contribution continues into the future.


Jacob J. Erickson, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics, School of Religion, Trinity College Dublin:

Nellie McLaughlin, RSM  works in cosmology, ecology, sustainable living, together with retreats and conferences in creation spirituality throughout Ireland and internationally. › library › nellie-mclaughlin-rsm429

Sheila Curran, RSM holds a Doctorate in Practical Theology and MA in Biblical Ministry from Catholic Theological Union, Chicago along with an MA in Equality Studies, University College Dublin. Sheila worked in Peru for many years alongside the liberation theologian Gustavo Gutierrez.,

Meghan Carmody: Friends of the Earth Mobilisation Co-ordinator. Her passion for building and maintaining partnerships and networks is central to her work, and she hopes to see the work she does inspire people to work together to take action for positive change.

Gabrielle Stuart, RSM will coordinate the day; Margaret Roche (One Spirit) will preside over a closing ceremony honouring Anne’s memory.

Tea/coffee will be available at the venue, but please bring your own packed lunch.

Sacred GaiaEventbrite: There is no registration fee, but please register your attendance through Eventbrite to facilitate our organisation.

Sacred GaiaMemorial for Anne:  On the day, we will accept contributions toward a living memorial for Anne, probably a tree to be planted in her honour in an appropriate place, yet to be determined. If you cannot attend on the day, but would like to honour Anne’s memory, you can donate through our Womanspiritireland website:  The Donate button is on the far right top corner, and please indicate that this is for “Primavesi”.

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RECLAIMING SUPPRESSED HER-STORIES – view narrated material on Zoom

Woman Spirit ireland and Max Dashu Mary Condren study day imageWe are indebted to Max Dashu for sharing this material from our recent study day with her and Mary Condren – Reclaiming suppressed HERstories:  Exploring Irish Indigenous Wisdom in a Global Context.  Please click the link below Max’s introduction.

This short piece is part of what I showed at the request of Mary Condren when we did a daylong last month in Dublin. She’s the author of The Serpent and the Goddess (a book I highly recommend for anyone who wants to delve under the surface of Irish history for female power and the  sexual politics of patriarchy). Currently she’s completing another magnum opus on Brigit and the Cailleach, and she wanted to tie in Brat Bhríde (the Mantle of Brigit) and her weaver aspect with my show The Cosmic Weaver. She has also written extensively on matriarchal Mercy vs. punitive patriarchal  Sacrifice. 
So while i was putting together the images i wanted to share on Irish heritage, I collated these images of the Madonna with her Mantle of  Mercy western European and Greek and Slavic Orthodox iconography. The Russians call her Pokrov, she who covers, or who protects. And that led to the Vierge Ouvrant (“virgin who opens”) in France, Germany, and Portugal, who encompasses god the father and son, plus basically everything, within her body. 
The video also looks at the Brideog (bree-juk), straw icons wrapped with cloth which were carried from house to house and laid as baby Brigit in cradles during the feast of lights the Irish called Imbolc and Candlemas more widely in church calendars; a bit on the Lithuanian goddess Laima (“fortune”), spinning, and embroidered signs; the Woman’s Belt and birthing belts, including la Guadalupana and the Hagia Zoní of the Greek Orthodox Madonna.

Comments, or questions?
Max can be contacted through her Suppressed Histories Archives,


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WOMAN SPIRIT RISING – view talk on Youtube

PngTree.eabf96c084873f7716e5d24dadd2f569We are delighted to share this link with you.  Please click to view the event, Woman Spirit Rising, held back in September 2018.
Thanks to videographer Peter McGee.


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Woman Spirit ireland and Max Dashu Mary Condren study day imageReclaiming suppressed HERstories:
Exploring Irish Indigenous Wisdom in a Global Context.

Join us for a study day excavating and examining indigenous spiritual symbols, ceremonies and stories of old Ireland drawing on the encyclopaedic knowledge of Max Dashu and  the large image collection of the Suppressed Histories Archives, in dialogue with writer, Mary Condren, author of The Serpent and The Goddess.

DATE:  Sunday 18th November 2018
TIME:  10am – 6pm

Early Bird €45 (until 12th Nov). Full fee: €55
Concessions: Early Bird €20 (until 12th Nov). Full fee: €25

VENUE:  Sophia Wisdom Conference Centre, 25 Cork Street, Dublin 8. On street parking available free on Sundays.

Tea/coffee available at the Centre. Bring a packed lunch, or use any of the local eateries.

This event aims to do the following

  • To excavate and examine indigenous spiritual symbols, ceremonies and stories of Old Ireland
  • To recuperate the worldwide cultural memories of the great creatrix, The Cosmic Weaver, and to challenge the dominant narratives that now prevail — World Warriors
  • To contribute to symbolic paradigms focussed on inclusiveness and mercy, (symbolised by the cloak of the Cailleach and Brigit) that transcend the divisions and practices of sacrifice (symbolised by blood stained altars).

Some topics for the day

Weavers: Weaving was the first form of writing throughout the world, and in Ireland, embroiderers had a higher honour price than queens. Weaving is also a concept of creation/ creatrix/ and relates to the web of life; spinning, fate and time; metaphors of textile, text, sutra/thread, tissue/flesh.

Cloak: The creation cloak of the Cailleach and Brigit and its relationship to the Virgin of Mercy with the protective mantle, from France to the Russian Pokrov (“she who covers”), and the Vierges Ouvrantes.

Healing and Birthing belts: The Irish crios in birthing and healing rites; its role in oathswearing; the Moylough Shrine, and rites of “measuring”

Cairns: Cailleach of the Cairns; womb symbolism of the megalithic sanctuaries; images from Loughcrew, Irish vulva petroglyphs; possible meanings of basins within megalithic chambers at the Bru and other sites, and the significance of spiral iconography.

Further information on Resource Persons

Max Dashu:

Mary Condren:


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Reclaiming the Spirit of Samhain – Dreamtime of the Old Irish Year

Woman Spirit Ireland Poster Draft V3

The Greening Woman (artist – Jane Brideson)

A Woman Spirit Ireland Study Day – Saturday October 20th 2018

Click HERE to register and pay for the day

One can, by performing the four pilgrimages, at the a priorist times, put oneself into harmony and empathy with the life of nature as personified in the life-cycle of the goddess. At a period of history in which we face an acute ecological crisis, it is a first step to recovering a lost link to the earth and the mysterious, life-giving cycle of the seasons.”  Seán Ó Duinn  

Aim of event: To reclaim the Spirit of Halloween from the clutches of commercialism, as well as from other destructive forces which can run riot at this time of year, and to offer resources to parents, teachers, community activists, artists, dramatists, poets reflecting on the ancient spirit of Samhain as a major turning point of the Old Irish Year.

Proposed Programme: Our programme will include Stories of the Grandmothers (Wise Women of Old Ireland — living and dead); reflecting on Images and Symbols of the Cailleach and recuperating her from the negative images portrayed in commercial venues; exploring the multiple symbolism and artefacts associated with Samhain; ritual, poetry and dance reflecting on the darkness of the year, and preparing to enter into Dreamtime or hibernation (in whatever form it takes) for the period between Samhain and Imbolc.

Resource Persons
Emer Cloherty: Emer is an Elder of Old Irish native spirituality, who was brought up in the tradition and trained since childhood in the art of remembering. Emer can offer invaluable information and perspectives on our almost forgotten rituals, and practices and for Samhain she will offer rich resources to those envisioning Irish Spirituality anew.

Mary Condren: Director Woman Spirit Ireland, author of “The Serpent and the Goddess, Women, Religion and Power in Celtic Ireland, and currently researching the ancient roots of Brigit and her connection to the Cailleach of Old Ireland (and beyond). 

Venue: October 20th 2018 at the Kilnamanagh Family Recreation Centre, Greenhills Road, Dublin 24

Registration: Fee  €40   Concessions €20

To ensure that we have enough resource materials, advance booking strongly encouraged.  Please use our “Donate Button” on our Website, Facebook, Eventbrite, or Email list pages. 

OR: Send cheques to our registered address: Woman Spirit Ireland, 30A Parkhill Rise, Kilnamanagh, Dublin 24DH33g

Time:  14:00 – 20:00

Please wear warm comfortable, washable clothing, and shoes for dancing, and bring something to share (sweet or savoury — estimate for six) for our pot-luck supper, your own utensils, and a bottle of something nice, if you wish.   Tea/coffee will be available

Further Information:

For those coming by pubic transport: The 27 bus stops at the Cuckoo’s Nest on Greenhills Road, and the KFRC is across the road, surrounded by trees, with plenty of parking facilities.   
For directions to Kilnamanagh from Luas Kingswood click here.

For daily updates on Facebook, click here.  

twitter @womanspiritire1

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Reclaiming the Spirit of Samhain – Dreamtime of the Old Irish Year

October 20th 2018

Kilnamanagh Family Recreation Centre, Greenhills Road 

photo John

Hag of Beara, photo John Eagle

Woman Spirit Ireland is currently putting the final touches to our planning for a Study Day on Samhain, to be held October 20th 2018 at the Kilnamanagh Family Recreation Centre, Greenhills Road, Dublin.


Aim of event: To reclaim the Spirit of Samhain from the clutches of commercialism, as well as from other destructive forces which can run riot at this time of year, and to offer resources to parents, teachers, community activists, artists, dramatists, poets reflecting on the ancient spirit of Samhain as a major turning point of the Old Irish Year.

Proposed Programme: Our programme will include Stories of the Grandmothers (Wise Women of Old Ireland — living and dead); reflecting on Images and Symbols of the Cailleach and recuperating her from the negative images portrayed in commercial venues; exploring the multiple symbolism and artefacts associated with Samhain; ritual, poetry and dancereflecting on the darkness of the year, and preparing to enter into Dreamtime or hibernation (in whatever form it takes) for the period between Samhain and Imbolc.

Timing: We aim to start in the afternoon with various forms of input. We will then break for a pot-luck supper, and then enter into our final ritual space.  Provisional timetable: 14:00 to 20:00

Further details available in next two weeks.

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