The Centre for Celtic Spirituality

The Story of Nuadha

In the old cathedral in Armagh (Anglican) there is an ancient statue (his photo is somewhere on this site). It was exhumed in a nearby village called Tandragee, so locally it’s known as ”The Tandragee Man.’

However, archeologists say that the statue is 3,000 years old and dates back to the Bronze Age!

The statue represents an ancient Irish King called Nuadha, a ruler of the Tuatha de Danann. The ancient mythology says that Nuadha lost his arm in a battle and had to stand down as ruler because it was believed that a king should be totally whole in body. However, later the Herbalist and Physician, Dian Cecht. created a new arm for Nuadha from silver and he was able to resume his position as King. 

The ancient statue shows Nuadha holding his new arm!

You can find these and other ancient mythologies in the Táin Bó Cúailnge, the oldest stories of Ireland.

An Imram to the Island of Iona, Scotland with Dolores Whelan 2015

The sacred Island of Iona has been a place of pilgrimage for thousands of years.

It has been an important centre for Celtic Christianity since Columcille established his monastery there in the 6th Century AD.

What is its magical attraction? Not only the rugged scenery and the freshness of the air, but something deeper and less tangible. There is a sense of presence that dwells in the rocks and soil of this tiny island, something which touches the mystery of the soul.

This pilgrimage is being facilitated by Dolores Whelan, spiritual guide and author.

Dates: September 29th – October 3rd 2015.

Cost of facilitation: £250

Accomodation and travel costs are not included in this fee.

For further details , booking form etc. go to

There are limited places, so if you are interested you need to book quickly.


A Caim (Encircling) Prayer for the journey.

Circle us with peace – keep light and love within, keep danger without.

Circle us through this day – keep childlike trust within, keep fear without.

Circle us this night – keep health and peace within, keep dis-ease without.

Deep peace of the quiet earth, deep peace of the flowing air, deep peace of the ocean’s depth, deep peace of the God of peace. Amen.


The psychologist and mythologist, Joseph Campbell identified a common theme connecting many ‘indigenous’ spiritualities – including Celtic Spirituality. Their stories tell about the hero or heroine who is ‘called’ outwards from the familiar place to experience something completely new. These stories teach us that it requires courage to step outside of the familiar and to follow the call of the heart. This is why it’s ’the Heroic Journey’. This heroic journey has much to teach us about our own life journey. Joseph Campbell said – ‘I don’t believe people are looking for the meaning of life as much as they are looking for the experience of being alive.’


The heroic journey often leads the traveller into difficult and testing situations, but he/she returns from the journey a changed and more compassionate human being to share their gifts of wisdom and insight. The journey is also about the discovery of YOUR GIFT. The word in the Irish is DAN – which means both your poetry and your destiny – for your destiny is interlinked with the practice of your gift in this world. Because we are all individuals, no one can offer your gift to the world in exactly the same way as you can.

This workshop takes us on a personal journey and enables self exploration to uncover your giftedness and to hear ‘the call’ to the most exciting journey of your life – the Heroic Journey.

This workshop is avaialable to small groups and a group can be booked by EMailing

The Journey (by Mary Oliver)

One day you finally knew

what you had to do, and began,

though the voices around you

kept shouting

their bad advice -

though the whole house began to tremble

and you felt the old tug

at your ankles.

“Mend my life!”

each voice cried.

But you didn’t stop.

You knew what you had to do,

though the wind pried

with its stiff fingers

at the very foundations,

though their melancholy

was terrible.

It was already late

enough, and a wild night,

and the road full of fallen

branches and stones.

But little by little,

as you left their voices behind,

the stars began to burn

through the sheets of clouds,

and there was a new voice

which you slowly

recognised as your own,

that kept you company

as you strode deeper and deeper

into the world,

determined to do

the only thing you could do -

determined to save

the only life that you could save.

So the heroic journey of finding your own voice and your ‘DAN’ begins…………………


Be Still, and know that I Am God.

NEW EARTHWALKS – 8th August 2015

EARTHWALKS are all about walking in nature with an approach that is more meditative – aware of the breath and walking more slowly.

EARTHWALKS enable us to enter into the experience of the natural world and all its beauty in a deeper way.

EARTHWALKS are about excercise and company, and also about discovery and gratitude and fun!

The first Earthwalk for Lugnasadh will take place on Saturday 8th August from 10.30a.m. to 12.00 midday at The Argory, near The Moy, County Armagh.

We will meet in the courtyard at 10.30a.m. just beside the coffee shop. The walk will be led by Frances Daly (M.Sc. Ecology) and Grace Clunie, Director of Celtic Spirituality.

Wear good walking boots and bring  a rain-coat and a cushion in a plastic bag for sitting down.

COST: £5.00

To register and for further information EMail







The Centre for Celtic Spirituality is based at The Navan Centre at the ancient site of Emain Macha just outside of the city of Armagh, Northern Ireland.



                                 (The large A.V Theatre at The Navan Centre) 



(Rev’d Grace Clunie, Director of The Centre for Celtic Spirituality, addresses a group in the Centre’s AV theatre).


    (Rev’d Grace Clunie and Rev’d Kiran Young Wimberly in the Celtic Studies Library)


Restaurant/Coffee shop, gift shop, AV theatre, workshop room, outdoor living history exhibit, indoor exhibition, ample parking for cars and coaches, small Celtic Studies library stocked with books on many aspects of Celtic Spirituality, including theology, Celtic prayer, history, Art, mythology and culture – a valuable resource to those seeking to learn about what Celtic Spirituality has to offer our contemporary world.

To contact The Centre for Celtic Spirituality at The Navan Centre Tel: 028 37529644.

Address: 81 Killylea Road, Armagh BT60 4LD.

A prayer for the work of The Centre for Celtic Spirituality:

Bless us, Lord, this day with vision.

May this place be a sacred place,

a telling place,

where heaven and earth meet.

(from Celtic Daily Prayer, p. 290)





 These classes will be helpful for anyone seeking a deeper spiritual life – especially anyone interested in exploring basic teaching on Christian meditation as a way to finding stillness and meaning in their life.

Meditation is a very powerful aid to inner peace.

This simple practice is based on the teaching of the Benedictine Monk, John Main, who said – ‘The important aim in Christian meditation is to allow God’s mysterious and silent presence within us to become more and more not only a reality but the reality which gives meaning, shape and purpose to everything we do, everything we are.’

John Main’s work is carried on by the World Community for Christian Meditation and its Director FR LAURENCE FREEMAN OSB clip_image002 (

If you would be interested in learning more about the practice of Christian Meditation, come along to a class and find out more for yourself. NEW MEMBERS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.

Meditation classes take place on the first and third Mondays of each month at The Navan Centre, Armagh – from 10.15a.m. to 11.00a.m.

At present meditation classes are over until September 2015. Classes recommence on the first Monday of September at 10.15a.m.


If you are interested in joining a class please EMail or telephone 02838870667.

John Main said -   “To learn to meditate you have to learn to be silent and not to be afraid of silence…. ..In meditation we cross the threshold from background noise into silence. This is vital for us because silence is necessary if the human spirit is to thrive and to be creative. Silence releases a creative response to life, to our environment and friends because it gives our spirit room to breathe, room to be. In silence we do not have to justify ourselves, apologise or impress anyone. Just be.”

(From Word Made Flesh by John Main, Medi Media, US, 1991.)


The Centre for Celtic Spirituality has a small study library at The Navan Centre with books on pilgrimage, Celtic saints, peace and reconciliation, Celtic Prayer and liturgy, Irish history and mythology and much more. 

It is particularly useful for anyone on a study experience.

There is no charge to use the library, though donations towards the upkeep of the library and the work of The Centre for Celtic Spirituality are very much appreciated.

To ensure you are able to use the library at the time/date that suits you, contact The Navan Centre on

028 3752 9644/9655.






I am the calm, I am the quickening,

I am the intoxication and the force,

I am the silence, I am the singer,

I am the stallion galloping to its source.

I am the bright pavillion and the feasting,

I am the wedding couple and the bed,

I am the morning chorus and the heartbeat,

I am the goal to which all paths are led.


The Summer quarter of  BEALTAINE  brings the gift of increased confidence and is a time of growth and greater sociability as the weather grows fine and hot.

It is traditionally the time for celebrating the essential eros of the year, the vitality of summer and the joys of youth.

In the human growth cycle, Bealtaine corresponds to the period of young adulthood when the blood is hot, when ideas are sometimes impetuous and ambitions pursued with vigour and ardour. 

Bealtaine is a good time to celebrate the lives of all heroes and heroines, all protectors of the land, all who were involved in innovative and resourceful means of help, all holy ones whose great love complements their spiritual practice with human grace.

Activities for BEALTAINE/ SUMMER

Practice your physical skills e.g. sport/ exercise/dance etc. drawing upon the vigor of this season.

Regularly assess your motivations and your use of the gift of life.

Remember spiritual kindred – those whose spiritual focus you share.

Be active, with like-minded others, in providing support for environmental concerns both at local and global levels.

Be aware of those who have made the spiritual pathways come alive for you!

Plant and plan your garden to provide a treasury of colour in late Summer and Autumn.

Create an outdoor prayer-shrine – or if you live in the city, befriend a tree in a park or find a place where you can go regularly to pray/meditate outdoors.

Identify flowers and animals in your locality and learn about their life and habitat.

As you travel through the land of Summer, relate your spiritual journey to the bright gifts of this season.

(From Celtic Devotional, by Caitlin Matthews, published by Gill and Macmillan, 1996)




A 3-stage journey following in the footsteps of St Patrick is detailed at

The route is from Belfast to Armagh (60.4km/40 miles) then to Downpatrick (82.6km/40 miles) and finally back to Belfast (34.9km/21.6 miles).

All the details can be explored on the above web-site, including maps, accommodation along the route and all places to visit.

Make sure you call in at The Centre for Celtic Spirituality! We’re based at one of the oldest places in Ireland – Emain Macha – which has a beautiful interpretive centre called The Navan Centre (for more information just google The Navan Centre). It’s situated 3 miles from Armagh City on the Enniskillen Road (the road leading past the Armagh City Hotel).

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

may the earth bless your feet,

and may you find your place of resurrection.




SACRED LIVING – An introduction to Celtic Spirituality – A six-part Study Course to order.

This Six part study course is available to order as a PDF document.
It is written as a simple introduction to six themes of Celtic Christian Spirituality – Nature, Hospitality, Sacred Living, Creative Spirituality, Journey and The Other World.
Each chapter concludes with questions for discussion and reflection – for individuals or for group discussion and action.

This introduction will be useful for anyone seeking basic information about Celtic Spirituality, anyone preparing for a pilgrimage journey, groups seeking new material for study and anyone who wants to be inspired in new ways of living. It also contains a section on further resources for reading and for further study.

“May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.”


1. Go the web-page marked ‘Donate.’

2. Click on the ‘Donate’  button at the bottom of the page.

3. Send £15 to The Centre for Celtic Spirituality via PayPal. This money will go towards the work of The Centre, which is both non-profit and inter-church with a focus on peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland. Please also sned an EMail to us at This will ensure that we have your EMail address so that we can then send you the PDF document.

4. When we receive your payment, we will send you your own copy of Sacred Living: Practical Inspirations for the contemporary Spiritual Journey as a PDF document to download. You also have the author’s permission to make copies for your own use, individually or in group situations such a small study groups. (However, please note that this work is copy-righted and cannot be re-sold for commercial gain).



QUEST FOR THE SACRED FEMININE: An exploration of the Feminine in ancient and contemporary spirituality.

This 10 week course will be taught on Thursday mornings from 11a.m. to 1p.m. in Belfast. It will include an exploration of the Bible and women, the Desert Mothers, medieval women mystics and contemporary feminist theology alongside an exploration of the Goddess Archetype, especially in Pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland.

Facilitators:  Grace Clunie and Kate Fitzpatrick.

Venue: Queen’s university Belfast 

More details will be available soon on Queen’s Universities Open Learning web-site.