Art of Living & Dying Irish Team

Margaret Brady MA, MSc, MIAHIP

Margaret Brady is a psychotherapist, spiritual director and dreamworker in private practice. She is passionate about working with people on their inner journey and helping them to explore and discover a path to greater wholeness.

Margaret holds a BA in Philosophy and English Literature from Trinity College Dublin, an MA in Consciousness Studies from John F Kennedy University (Pleasant Hill, CA), and an MSc in Integrative Counseling and Psychotherapy from the Turning Point Training Institute / Dublin City University. She is an accredited member of the Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP). Before becoming a psychotherapist, Margaret worked as a research journalist and editor for several years. She still loves to write and has been on the Editorial Board of Inside Out, the IAHIP journal, since 2014.

Margaret loves to work in that space where the mental, emotional and spiritual journeys meet. Her interests include spirituality, dreams, nature, yoga and mythology. She discovered the Sacred Art of Living Centre in 2014 and was initially drawn to the work by a love for Celtic spirituality. She went on to complete the Art of Living and Dying Programme and later the Anamcara Apprenticeship, and is delighted to be involved in the continuation of this work.

Margaret lives in Dublin, Ireland with her husband and three children who inspire her daily and help keep her feet firmly on the ground.


Martina is a psychotherapist, supervisor, and health specialist.  Martina holds a number of creative therapy qualifications and she has run her own therapy centre for a number of years.  She holds a degree in Gestalt Psychotherapy with IGI (Irish Gestalt Institute) and an M.A. in Applied Christian Spirituality from All Hallows College in Dublin.  She trained in Supervision with the Dublin Counselling and Therapy Centre.  She is currently studying Integrative Medicine with Arizona University as her role in VHI as an Integrated Health Specialist.

Martina began her personal development journey in the early ’90s when, being a lone parent in Ireland at that time entailed social isolation, poverty and stigma.  Feeling a sense of hopelessness with her life, it heralded a time of challenge and change.  This search for meaning became the compass of her life and since that time she has been consistently working on her personal and Spiritual development.  Martina believes that we are mind body and Spirit and these dimensions of the self are inter dependent.

Martina started her journey with ALD in 2011 and followed through with the apprenticeship training to become an Anam Cara.   She followed the Spiritual Discernment track on this training and followed on with a further year on Age-ing to Sage-ing.   Since then, she has deepened her studies of working with conscious ageing with Sage-ing international, undertaking a number of their training workshops.  She has a strong interest in working with groups and Conscious Ageing.    Martina has the lived experience of the healing power of writing and has been working with Progoff method of journaling for a number of years. (Based on the work of Ira Progoff and Depth Psychology).

Martina lives in Athlone and what brings her joy are her sons and her 5 grandchildren. She has walked the Camino de Santiago and completed a vision quest in the Czech Republic.  On pilgrimages like this – she has learned that listening to her own heart and genuinely seeking to serve, help and appreciate others is her life path.

Patricia (Pádraigín) Hallahan, RN, SCM, B.Soc. Sc., MSc, MBA

Patricia is a coach, mentor and group facilitator specialising in personal development, spirituality, healthcare and international development.

She trained as a nurse midwife before completing a degree in Social Science in UCD which sparked a keen interest in the challenges faced by the global south. Thereafter, she spent many years working in international development in Asia and in Africa, living and working in Bangladesh and in Kenya where she developed the competency and humility to work with diverse communities. She has trained in diversity and supports individuals in circumstances which lack sensitivity to and awareness of cultural and ethnic identities.

Patricia has over 25 years’ experience in senior management positions working in public and not-for-profit organizations such as St James’s Hospital (Director of DSIDC), The Alzheimer’s Society (Head of Services), Concern (Asst. Country Director), Trócaire (Regional Representative), Sight Savers International (Regional Director) and Our Lady’s Hospice where she was the Director of Education, Research and Training until 2019.

She has been involved in the Art of Living and Dying and the Anamcara Apprenticeship Programmes since 2010. She has 10 years of experience in Circles of Trust, having trained with Professor Groves as a Circle of Trust Animator before going on to train others. She is currently mid-way through training as one of the first European facilitators for The Centre for Courage and Renewal.

Patricia believes that the programme of the Art of Living and Dying has great potential to impact positively the lives of individuals, communities and our society. During a recent close illness and bereavement, she was conscious how the tools and competencies developed in the Anamcara Apprenticeship programme gave her the confidence to provide an environment for ‘being with dying’ and to design and implement healing and nurturing rituals for her family. She stays connected to her inner life through daily meditation practice, walking in the natural cathedrals of forests, reading and supporting and being supported by her Anamcairde.

Pádraigín enjoys speaking in Irish with her six sisters, singing with Cór Dubhlínne (an Irish language choir) and studying the language and culture in the Gaeltacht areas of the country.


Noreen Holland,  M.Sc., B.Sc., RCN, RN

Noreen is the Assistant Director of Nursing for Palliative Care at Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services in Dublin. She began her career as a children’s nurse. She was drawn to hospice care for its mission and values, while working in an acute adult hospital in early 1980, due to its lack of appropriate care for people at end-of-life. She moved to work in Our Lady’s Hospice in 1983 and learned all there was to learn about hospice and palliative care, at that time.  She worked as a staff nurse in-patient unit, then as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the community setting. In 1991 went back to the same teaching hospital as a Clinical Nurse Specialist for Palliative Care, to assist in the development of the first acute hospital palliative care team in Ireland. Her work experience has taught her that what people need most in times of life-limiting illness, is to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that those providing care know and understand how to approach their particular set of care needs.

Noreen holds diplomas in Research, Oncology, Palliative Care and more recently undertook a Diploma in Integrative Clinical Supervision. She is a mentor, a coach, a supervisor and an Anam Cara, who believes in the value of leading by example and learning from experience. She has co-authored, a palliative care text book for healthcare support workers and pre-nursing students.

Noreen completed Irish ALD Programme in 2009-10, followed by the Anamcara Apprenticeship (Spiritual Direction module) in 2011-12. She was captivated by how the programme, incorporated a whole spectrum of care by drawing on the wisdom of rituals and tradition, folklore and legend from a varied range of cultures and diversities. Having grown up in West Cork, she had learned to look to nature for inspiration and reassurance from an early age. Her approach to life, work and play is rooted in being with nature. In her spare time, Noreen enjoys being with family and friends, reading, writing, walking, hiking, exploring and learning.

Gilíosa Kiernan

Gilíosa Kiernan was born in Wexford, the sunny south east of Ireland.

Having studied Recreational Management, she moved to Co. Kildare in 1986 where she managed a leisure facility and supported the local community to enjoy both creative and active times of fun and togetherness. At that time she was involved both locally and nationally in creating and implementing youth service programmes and later designed and tutored Adult Education programmes.

In the early 1990s she had to withdraw from active life while she recovered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. This became a time for life reflection and ultimately led to a change in career. Gilíosa qualified in Massage, Reflexology, Reiki and Seichim and established her path in Holistic Healing in 1996.

In 2005 she began offering healing treatments in a residential care home. Her work there as Holistic Facilitator has blossomed to currently include creating and developing remembrance and celebration services. She supports staff to plan and carry out these services. She also trains staff in activity programmes created specifically for the residents in the care home.

In 2008 Gilíosa began the Art of Living & Dying Programme and continued on to qualify for the Anamcara Apprentice Programme. Participating in the programmes transformed her life and she continues to use tools and practices she learnt in them to support her work with clients, residents and staff of the care home. In 2018 she qualified as a Funeral Celebrant which she feels has brought a new depth to her work.

Gilíosa is honoured and excited to be training as Ritual Facilitator on the Irish Art of Living and Dying Programme and to support others to be introduced to this transformative work.

Phil Larkin PhD, MSc, B.SC [Hons] RN,RCN,RNT

Phil Larkin PhD, M.Sc, B.Sc (Hons), RN RCN, RNT is currently Professor of Palliative Care Nursing at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He was previously Chair and Professor of Clinical Nursing (Palliative Care) UCD School of Nursing & Midwifery and Health Systems & Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services in Dublin where he completed the first Irish ALD and Anamcara Apprenticeship Programme in 2012, focusing on Spiritual Direction.

Originally from Co. Wexford and formerly a singing teacher and voice coach, Phil has worked in palliative care for 30 years as a clinician, academic and researcher. He is past president of the European Association of Palliative Care and was Chair of All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC), 2013-2016. He was also a US Fulbright Scholar in 2014 where he undertook research into compassion and as a result, is author of the book “Compassion – The Essence of Palliative and end-of-Life Care” with Oxford University Press. He leads compassion-based workshops and study days for healthcare practitioners to understand the blessing of self-compassion as a foundation for caring for self and others. He has taught about the care of dying people across the world and is a member of the International Workgroup on Death, Dying and Bereavement [IWG]. He divides his time between two of the most beautiful places on earth; Connemara, Co. Galway where he lives with his wife, Jane and in Lausanne, Switzerland where he currently works.

Dr. Elizabeth McCrory

Dr. Elizabeth McCrory is a Clinical Psychologist, Anamcara and Adult Development Facilitator. Elizabeth received her BA, MA and Ph.D. from University College Dublin and MBA from Warwick University, UK. She has additional qualifications in Psychotherapy, Spirituality, Coaching, and is a Reiki Master.

Her life work has been to facilitate individuals in their personal and professional lives to embrace transformation and growth with the express purpose of unearthing a sense of well-being within and a fountain of wisdom that allows them to live rich and deeply insightful lives.

Elizabeth’s deepest calling and passion is to help those who seek to walk their life ‘s journey in a deeply spiritual way and to experience their spiritual journey in a profoundly human way.

The approach taken within her practice is based on a Transpersonal model of human development underpinned by Celtic spirituality. The transpersonal approach is holistic, giving attention to mental, physical, social, emotional, creative, and intellectual needs, with an emphasis on the integration of all elements of an individual to enable healing and growth.

Her primary focus is to provide opportunities for individuals to grow in a deeper awareness of their best/True self and from that threshold of internal wisdom, create more mature and insightful relationships with both themselves and others. It is in a liminal place of transition, self-discovery, and care that involves the participation of both the psychologist and client in an authentic co-creational dialogue that helps individuals and groups to grow and find a hidden wholeness that pervades all facets of their lives.  Elizabeth completed the ALD programme and then went on to complete the Anamcara Apprenticeship.

Úna McKeever

Úna grew up on the Irish border, between The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.  This is an area steeped in the mythology of Fionn Mac Cumhaill, Cuchulainn and also the birthplace of the Goddess Brigid.  She began her career as a secondary school teacher and left her position after four short years to become a full-time mother to her three children.  She returned to academia in her mid forties and was awarded an MSc. Rehabilitation Management by University College Dublin.  She subsequently took up a position in UCD as Director and Lecturer on a post graduate programme there.  This was a Masters degree for professionals working with those who are often marginalised; people with physical and intellectual disabilities, brain injury, mental health issues, also prisoners and asylum seekers.

While working in the university she acquired her qualification and accreditation to become a humanistic and integrative psychotherapist.  She left the city and spent ten years working in private psychotherapy practice in Connemara, Co Galway.  After a cancer diagnosis, she was introduced to the Art of Living and Dying and subsequently to the Anamcara Apprenticeship.  She completed both programmes and thanks to the richness of the content she experienced a “coming home” to her own ancient Celtic spirituality.  She feels honoured to be involved in continuing to share the priceless treasures of this work.

Úna delights in the joy of living on the west coast of Ireland.  She loves writing and storytelling. She has a passionate interest in theatre, literature and poetry.   She loves to dance, to walk by the seashore and is learning to slow down.  She is beginning to recognise her role as an elder, becoming more confident in sharing what has been beneficial on her own spiritual journey.  Her greatest joy is being Mamó to her beloved grandchildren.

Richard F. Groves JCL, MA, MDiv

Richard and his late wife Mary co-developed and founded the Sacred Art of Living Center in 1997. Richard is an internationally popular teacher and author who continues to present educational and spiritual development programs for health care institutions, faith communities of all traditions all over the world. Richard worked for more than 25 years as a chaplain in health care and hospice. He was also an executive director of hospice and ethics consultant for national health care organizations. A professor of world religions, Richard was ordained a Catholic priest in 1977 and earned graduate degrees in theology, ethics, pastoral counseling and law. His doctoral research focuses on cultural and inter-faith perspectives of the Sacred Art of Living and Dying. Richard is the co-author of The American Book of Living & Dying: Lessons in Healing Spiritual Pain which is now in its third printing and has also been translated into Japanese and Spanish. Most of all Richard is proud of his family that includes three sons, four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.