“Ageing is not merely about the body losing its poise, strength and self-trust. Ageing also invites you to become aware of the sacred circle that shelters your life”. John O Donohue
He was educated at the local primary school, alternating his studies with the farm life of tending livestock, raising crops and cutting the turf. John later described the profound influence of his childhood home as, "A huge wild invitation to extend your imagination…an ancient conversation between the land and sea."
At 18 years of age, John entered the University of Ireland in Maynooth, studying English Literature, Philosophy and Theology. During this time John began writing in poetic form. John was ordained into the priesthood in 1982 and began his doctoral studies at the University of Tubingen in Germany where he was awarded his PhD in Philosophical Theology in 1990.
In 1997, Anam Cara, was published, instantly becoming an international best-seller and propelling John onto the world's stage. Eternal Echoes: Exploring our Hunger to Belong, followed in 1998. In 2000, John retired from public priestly ministry and went to live in a remote cottage in Connemara. He devoted himself full-time to writing and a public life of speaking and advocating for social justice. Subsequently, John's reputation as a renowned and gifted speaker, as well as seminar leader and organisational consultant, brought him to large audiences around the world. A collection of poetry, Conamara Blues, was published in 2001, followed by Divine Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, in 2004. In 2007, just two months before John's sudden and unexpected death, Benedictus and To Bless the Space Between Us was published.
John's legacy directs our search for intimacy to crucial thresholds: tradition and modernity, past and future, life and death, the visible and the invisible world. At the heart of John's beliefs was the premise that ancient wisdom could offer desperately needed nourishment for the spiritual hunger experienced in our modern world. John is fondly remembered by an international readership as one who could blend critical analytic thought with imaginative evocation, enabling people to release themselves from the false shelter of the familiar and repetitive to become agents of transformation and change.
In 2018 President Michael D. Higgins speaking at a symposiam on John’s life quoted the words he had spoken after John’s death in 2008
“His two collections of poetry, and his Echoes of Memory and Connemara Blues delivered their spiritual and luminous wisdom in shorelines that made a form of music, or offered condensed suggestions for reflection in the style of Meister Eckhart.
In Anam Cara, Eternal Echoes, Divine Beauty and Benidictus, John created a legacy that will pass on to future generations.
Most important of all, these books, during his all-too-short life shared with us, found - and will continue to find - their way to those most in need of their affirming message.
These books had as threads running through them an evocation and a sensitive tracing of the human condition following the themes of longing and belonging. His contribution as a prophet will continue. His work as a writer, poet will endure.
His spirit will always be with those he loved, his family, his partner, but with all of us too, for he has been lodged in all of us in a way that can never be erased, connected to us all in our common stardust.”
Facilitated by Solas Bhride Team
Time: 7.30p.m-9.00 p.m.
Admission: €10.00 (incl. Tea/coffee)