WATERtalk Follow-Up

Nóirín Ní Riain, “Sacred Rituals: A Simple Book for Everyday Prayer” (Hachette Books Ireland, 2023)

January 10, 2024

Wednesday, 1 PM ET (6 PM Irish)

WATER and Womanspirit Ireland in Collaboration


WATER thanks Nóirin Ní Riain for her generous sharing of her work and music. Her new book is “Sacred Rituals: A Simple Book for Everyday Prayer” (Hachette Books Ireland, 2023).

WATER’s work brings feminist/womanist spiritual values and intellectual work to efforts at social change. We are delighted to collaborate with Womanspirit Ireland and have Nóirin Ní Riain with us to talk about “Sacred Rituals for Everyday Prayer.”

Watch the video of this WATERtalk.

Introduction of Mary Condren, Director of Womanspirit Ireland
What a joy to welcome and reintroduce our beloved friend and colleague Dr. Mary Condren from Dublin, Ireland, the director of Womanspirit Ireland, who will then introduce her colleague Rev. Dr. Nóirín Ní Riain. Mary was with us for a WATERtea in January 2021 titled, “Preparing to Celebrate the Festival of Brigid.” Check it out on WATER’s website.

Mary Condren did her doctorate in religion, gender and culture at Harvard University and she is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies, Trinity College Dublin. Her book, The Serpent and the Goddess: Women, Religion, and Power in Celtic Ireland, is a classic in the field. Her forthcoming work on Brigit promises to shape the field of Brigit studies for generations to come.

Many of us have been part of Mary’s unforgettable and inspiring Brigit rituals. She led us in one at the WATER office some years ago. Mary embodies Brigit and was certainly a force behind Ireland’s observance of St. Brigid’s Day on February 1. Welcome Mary. Please introduce us to your colleague Nóirín.


Introduction of Nóirín by Mary Condren

Mary Condren gave a beautiful, personal introduction of Nóirín that you can listen to on the video of this WATERtalk. The following is from Nóirín’s website homepage https://www.noirin.love/:

“Rev. Nóirín Ní Riain PhD is an Interfaith Minister (One Spirit Interfaith Seminary), an internationally acclaimed spiritual singer, theologian, writer, musicologist, and Celtic Spirituality expert. Rev. Ní Riain performs weddings, naming ceremonies, concerts, lectures, and gives workshops all over the world.  She lives near Glenstal Abbey, county Limerick, Ireland.”

“Noirin is my biggest influence and heroine in music,” says Sinéad O’Connor.

Nóirín’s Powerpoint Presentation

Following is a link to Nóirín’s Powerpoint from her presentation. We are grateful to her for it as it allows an accurate account of her presentation.


Nóirín’s Website: Nóirín offers online courses, pilgrimages and one-to-one Spiritual Counselling. See her homepage https://www.noirin.love/ and https://www.turasdanam.com/

Questions / Reflections / Conversation from participants

Among the issues raised are the following:

  1. One person lifted up the importance of hearing over seeing. She inquired about the use of ritual in dealing with PTSD.Nóirín distinguished between psychological and spiritual counselling, the former looking back, the latter looking forward.
  1. Several people expressed appreciation to Nóirín for her work, especially her chants, and to Womanspirit Ireland and WATER for their work.
  1. Another person spoke of rituals that center and energize. She mentioned the ice lantern as a powerful symbol.Nóirín emphasized the power of gathering.
  1. A few people spoke from their specialties—sound work, poetry, musical composition—to affirm Nóirín’s methods. “Word becomes flesh and flesh becomes words.”
  1. The need to “think visually” came up with the new insight of the day being to think with the ear.

Nóirín finished with a song based on the poetry of William Butler Yeats, “The Song of Wandering Aengus”:

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And someone called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

Samples from the chat:

“Thank you Noirin for a most exquisite sharing. I have descended into a deep space of silence as a result of your words, your singing, your presence and your insights.”

“Felt that blessing in every cell. Taím fíorbuíoch díot, Noirin, dilís.