What is Our Purpose?

Welcome to the website of Cairde an Anama—”Friends of the Soul”—a spiritual community of those who seek to follow the way of Christ in company with the Early Irish saints.

We are a dispersed gathering of people seeking to integrate into our daily lives a spiritual “Way of Life” inspired by the Christian example of St Brigid and St Brendan.

A “Way of Life” is a guide to the seamless integration of our spiritual life with our daily life; the idea owes much to the kind of life offered within a monastic setting, without actually having to be secluded, enclosed or otherwise separate from others. This is why we consider ourselves a dispersed community—a 21st Century version of monasticism—whilst we live in our own houses and work in our own jobs we adopt this key ‘characteristic’ of the monastic life.

We are the Irish part of the Community of Aidan & Hilda—itself established in the UK some 25 years ago—and share their vision and foundational principles. There is also a part of the community—called Anamcara—in Norway. Other such parts also exist eg in the USA and Australia. We welcome into our part of the community people of any Christian tradition within the island of Ireland. This worldwide community seeks inspiration from the “Celtic” saints with particular emphasis on Aidan (who was an Irish saint who laid his life down to bring the ways of Christ to the pagan English) and Hilda (who offered a merciful heart to those who followed either the Irish or the Roman ways). Here in the island of Ireland we draw especial inspiration from the Early Irish saints, in particular from St Brigid of Kildare and from St Brendan the Navigator of Ardfert. Membership of this community supports us in continuing as committed members of our own denomination or tradition.

We support each other in prayer and in spiritual encouragement to embody the vision, vivacity, and vigour of the Early Irish saints in ways appropriate to our modern way of life. After a period of prayer and reflection you may decide to start out in our Irish community as “Explorers”, seeking to discover if the offered “Way of Life” can be contextualised to your circumstances such that you are led forward on your journey of faith and that you are encouraged in adapting your lifestyle with the deeper precepts of a life of embodied faith. You might then, after a period of years, choose to move to the level of a “Voyager”—inspired by the tradition of St Brendan—whereby you commit to an annual vow to keep the “Way of Life” which, although suitably contextualised to your circumstances, is designed to lead you to a deeper spiritual commitment through Creation to its Creator: a life-changing and life-enhancing move.

We seek to meet annually in mutual support and fellowship. The prayers and liturgies we adopt are those derived from and inspired by the Early Irish Christian tradition.

Download our introductory leaflet.

Want to know more?


I would like an abundance of peace.

I would like full vessels of charity.

I would like rich treasures of mercy.

I would like cheerfulness to preside over all. 

St Brigid of Kildare (attributed)

Help me to journey beyond the familiar and into the unknown.
Give me the faith to leave old ways and break fresh ground with You.

St Brendan the Navigator of Ardfert