Date Published: 12-May-2011
She’s not a hermit, and she’s not a mystic, but Deirdre Ní Chinnéide is on a spiritual journey – one that links directly with Ireland’s ancient past and a time when Ireland’s Christianity belonged to the Celtic rather than Roman Catholic tradition.
Deirdre, who lives on Inis Mór, runs a spiritual hostel on the island for “people who are taking time out from the ‘busyness’ of life to be creative and to meet fellow journeyers. It’s for people of all religions and no religions”, she says.
For the past two years she and others have been doing residential retreats there, incorporating yoga, music, movement and sacred arts.
Galway based Go West tours have now begun promoting these retreats under the auspices of its company Celtic Footstep, which organises “Christian, Cultural and Spiritual journeys of Ireland”.
Inis Mór has long been regarded as a sacred place, both in pre-Christian and Christian times and Dublin born Deirdre found herself drawn to the island from an early age.
She trained as a teacher and worked as a school principal, during which time she studied psychotherapy, feeling it would help her pupils maximise their potential.
After specialising in the area of Trauma and Recovery she worked throughout Ireland, and then in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, helping people who had been raped and traumatised during the bitter conflict in former Yugoslavia.
During that time, Inis Mór offered a haven from the death and destruction she witnessed, explains Deirdre, whose clear voice and use of her hands to stress her points feel strangely familiar on our first meeting. And well they might, as she is a sister to Nationwide presenter, Mary Kennedy, who joined the rest of the family on the island recently, helping Deirdre to redecorate her house/ hostel.
They are a close bunch, says Deirdre and they have supported her in a journey which saw her give up a secure job teaching for a freelance life centred on spirituality and music. Many people might think she is mad, but this is not a “New Age thing” for Deirdre – it’s grounded in the island and in her music.
“I’m open to the fact that there’s more to life than material things,” she says.
Deirdre’s biggest musical project to date has been the CD, Celtic Passage, a mix of music, song and chant in Irish and English, which was released in 2007.
She spent six months on the island writing Celtic Passage, which was inspired by her experiences in the Balkans as she needed to respond creatively to the death and destruction she had witnessed there.
“I’d always been singing but this was my first time writing music. Celtic Passage goes on a journey of the heart, returning to a place of peace within ourselves.”
Celtic Passage was performed in the Balkans shortly after its composition, and she was amazed by the way people understood the emotion, if not the words.
When Deirdre sang it in Glenstal Abbey, one of those who heard it recommended her to US record label Sounds True, who released the CD in America and Ireland. It won Celtic album of the Year in the US in 2007.
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.