Wednesday, 27 February 2008


Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!
Philippians 4:4
Dr. Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning, was imprisoned by the Nazis in World War II because he was a Jew. His wife, his children, and his parents were all killed in the Holocaust. The Gestapo stripped him of his clothes. He stood totally naked before them. As they cut off his wedding band, Viktor said to himself, “You can take away my wife, you can take away my children, you can strip me of my clothes and my freedom, but there is one thing no person can ever take away from me—and that is my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me!” Even under the most difficult of circumstances, joy is a choice which transforms our tragedies into triumph.
Let’s face it, not everything goes our way. Things don’t always work out as we planned. Some days are disasters. Other days are worse than that.
Happiness comes easily when things go our way. Joy is different. It’s deeper. Joy is an attitude we select. Happiness is external and subject to what happens. Joy is an inside job in which we opt to rejoice regardless of the circumstances.
Don’t confuse happiness with joy. Happiness is a buoyant emotion that results from the momentary plateaus of well-being. Joy is bedrock stuff. Joy is a confidence that operates irrespective of our moods. Joy is the certainty that all is well, however we feel.
Joy is a divine dimension of living that is not shackled by circumstances simply because we have chosen to respond in a positive manner. Paul is saying in Philippians 4:4 that joy is not something that happens to me but rather something I deliberately and consciously select. Circumstances seldom generate lasting smiles and laughter. Joy comes to those who determine to choose it in spite of their circumstances.


Jesus Calms the Storm - Rembrandt



Thou art the Lord who slept upon the pillow;

Thou art the Lord who soothed the furious sea.

What matter beating wind and tossing billow

If only we are in the boat with Thee?


Hold us in quiet through the age-long minute

While Thou art silent, and the wind is shrill:

Can the boat sink while Thou, dear Lord, art in it?

Can the heart faint that waiteth on Thy will?


Amy Carmichael

Sunday, 24 February 2008


Aidan at the Limerick Hilton
~ 1947 ~ 2008~

The Funeral Service for Aidan took place yesterday (Saturday) morning at the Society of Friends Meeting House near Punches Cross. During the meeting Scripture readings and personal memories of Aidan were shared by his family and friends. The picture that emerged from the reminiscences was of a man who cared deeply for others, especially the troubled and downcast. The atmosphere of the meeting while sad was warm and uplifting.
The assurance that Aidan is now at rest with his God was present throughout the time of waiting on the Lord.

 At the burial adjacent to the Meeting House ,these verses from Matthew 25 were read 
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
.I shared this appreciation of Aidan …
I would like to say just a few words this morning about Aidan . This is going to be difficult as he himself was never a man of few words, and it is impossible to adequately remember his towering presence among us in just a few words. My connection with Aidan goes back over 30 years when I first met him at Mallow Street Hall. I had just become a Christian and was looking to find others who shared my ‘born again’ experience. Going to a Prayer Meeting for the first time was a bit nerve-wracking, and I felt like a fish out of water. I cant remember was it at my first meeting or a subsequent one, but very early on Aidan came over and in his easy conversational style, instantly put me at ease. Later on he would often drive me home after a meeting and the ten minute journey would stretch to an hour and beyond as Aidan parked the car and engaged in chat about various aspects of the Christian life. I had lots of questions about what the Bible said on this or that subject and Aidan usually was able to give an answer. And when he was stuck for an answer he would lean back and pick up a battered copy of Strong's Concordance from the back seat, and together we would chase the relevant Scripture. This was a regular occurrence for Aidan as he similarly encouraged and assisted dozens of young people who had come to faith around Limerick at that time. And this was the story of his life…drawing near to people…encouraging them and giving of his time and his money wherever he saw the need.

Aidan was a man without any guile, what you saw in Aidan was what you got, and what you got was given with a generosity of heart and spirit that was rare and wonderful. Another memory goes back a number of years ago when a few of us were living in Dungarvan and found ourselves stranded just two days before Christmas. Our transport at that time was an old Morris Minor which was held together by prayer and fasting, and let us down at the crucial last minute before we were to go home. Charming as Dungarvan was, we were anxious to get back to Limerick and we called a few numbers for assistance with no success. Then someone, it might even have been me thought of Aidan. We made the call and without a moments thought he made the trip down to collect us. The road conditions were hazardous because of frost and ice and the journey was slow and laboured. Casually on the road home Aidan told us he had to go to work at midnight.
Aidan's life was like his house, the door was never locked. He was always there for others, whether it was to meet for a chat or whether you needed a place to stay. There are some here today who enjoyed this hospitality and knew first hand how open and kind he was. These are the marks of a life well lived, the marks of a man who loved his God and sought to serve his fellow-man.

In recent years Aidan was deeply affected by the death of his beloved brother, Paddy. For over many years he cared for him and nursed him. And Paddy's death hit Aidan hard. All of Aidan's life was a quest for truth and reality. He would often challenge himself and others to show the substance of the Christian life and not just the talk or the theory. He need not have agonised over himself, as he lived that life and walked that path in the multitude of kindnesses and compassionate acts which he showed towards others.
But Aidan also wrestled with this question…Why do bad things happen to good people? Perhaps more than anything else this puzzle occupied him over the last two years. He often said to me “It’s hard to understand it all” I would agree with him, and that question will occupy many of us leaving this place today. Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t have the answer to that, but I trust in One who does. And I believe today that Aidan has at last the answer, as he enjoys fellowship with his Lord.

Just to conclude let me say this about Aidan,he was great company. We would meet regularly with Tony Carey and Tony Ryan and he usually ensured a lively and wide-ranging discussion. No subject was taboo and a stimulating exchange of views ensued.Aidan always made sure that no matter where the conversation rambled he would always bring it back to the Bible, you could say that his second language was Scripture and he shared it with a fluency and a passion that was arresting. He had a great grasp of the Book and a sharp memory for appropriate verses related to whatever you talked about.Aidan studied the Bible diligently and he would quote from the Psalms or Thessalonians or one of the Gospels with ease and familiarity.

My last meeting with Aidan was just a week before he died, when we drove out to Doonass on a beautiful sunny afternoon. We walked along the river bank and admired the scenery and talked. Later we went inside 'The Anglers Rest' and over a few drinks we continued our chat. Aidan was in great form and spoke enthusiastically on a variety of topics That is how I will remember Aidan , animated ,passionate, sharing of himself with others, oozing gentleness and acceptance to whoever he met.

I can't imagine my life without Aidan. His huge re-assuring presence has been removed from us. I can't imagine the grief and heartache of Aidan's family at this time. May God enable all of us who loved Aidan, his family, his friends to cope with his huge loss.
Gerard O'Shea
If you have a memory of Aidan that you would like to share, you can leave it in the 'comments' section just below this piece.

Thursday, 21 February 2008


Aidan Power R.I.P.


Only a few short days ago I wrote here about a wonderful afternoon that I spent with my old friend Aidan Power out at Doonass, I am sad to now report the sudden and tragic death of Aidan at his home in the early hours of last Tuesday morning.I knew Aidan for over 30 years and considered him my close friend and brother-in-the-Lord for all of that time. Since I first surrendered my life to the Lord Jesus and first tasted of His love for me, Aidan has been a mentor and pal, a lovely gentle man full of grace and wisdom who was a bulwark in my often faltering walk of faith. Since the death of Aidans beloved brother Paddy two years ago, his own faith had been severely tested and in the end it seems his will to persevere wavered ,and now we are left to deal with the loss and the heart-wrenching pain. -GOSh.
POWER (Limerick) Feb. 19, 2008, (suddenly), Aidan, (5 Mount Vincent Cottages, Rosbrien); deeply regretted by his loving brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces, extended family and kind friends. Reposing at Thompson's Funeral Home, Thomas Street, tomorrow (Friday), from 4 o'c. to 7 o'c. Funeral Service at the Quaker Meeting House, Southville Gardens, Ballinacurra, on Saturday at 10 o'c. for family and close friends. Followed by Interment in the adjoining burial ground. No cross, no crown
Obituary Notice from Irish Independent

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honour at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.” No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39

Friday, 15 February 2008


My grandson was visiting one day when he asked,
"Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?"
I mentally polished my halo while I asked,
"No, how are we alike?"
"You're both old," he replied.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008


Eveningtime At Doonass

I spent a pleasant afternoon lately out at Doonass, the Falls and river sparkling in the warm Spring sun. This is one of those 'gifted' locations only a few minutes outside bustling Limerick city, a veritable oasis of green and water where the soul is refreshed and the senses made keen by the beautiful sights that abound at every turn. And when the light dims it is pleasant to retire inside the Anglers Rest and slake the thirst instilled by the sensory delights outside! I was with my good friend Aidan and thats exactly what we did at the end of the day,engaging in conversation over a few drinks until well into the evening. This visit put me in mind of the song that celebrates the Falls of Doonass made famous many years ago by singer Ann Muqueen GOSh.-



As I roved out one evening as Sol cast his rays,

Behind yon western mountains and the wide western seas;

I carelessly roved out, my leisure hours to pass,

For to view the Shannon water that flows through Doonass.

My mind was enraptured at this enchanting scene,

Such a place in all Ireland there is not I ween;

Proud, beautiful and crystal bright, shining like glass,

Is that pure Shannon water that flows through Doonass.


In Doonass I was born and ‘tis there I’d like to die,

And down in its old churchyard my old bones lie;

For if fortune proves in favour the seas I ne’er will cross,

Nor bid adieu to Clonlara, Castleconnell or Doonass.

Have you been to Killarney, the Causeway or Quay,

The proud bay of Dublin, Loophead or Kinsale?

The city cove of Cork seems but shadows or gas,

When compared to the proud rolling falls of Doonass.

And if you’re tired of walking proceed on further still,

To the right of Massey’s mansion ‘tis there you’ll get your fill;

And when you reach the summit, come fill up your glass,

Drink a health, wealth and honour to the falls of Doonass.


Go into the rock-gardens to take a refreshing breeze,

Where the holy hand of time has spread beneath its trees;

‘Tis there you’ll see the anglers, both bonny, bright and gay,

With their artificial flies in the sweet month of May.

Go eastward and westward and into the churchyard,

Quiet sober and silent, ‘twould win your regard,

With its crumbling walls of ivy and graves of green grass,

And the dead lying beneath them near the falls of Doonass.


And if you’re not tired of walking, proceed on further still,

Until you come up with Saint Senan’s holy well,

Where the lame, blind and weary a cure ever has,

In that healing gift from heaven near the falls of Doonass.

Oh, when shall that day come, that dear and happy hour,

When I’ll walk undisturbed ‘neath the turret’s green bower,

With my mind free from care, and by my side a lass,

And she lives in a cottage near the falls of Doonass.


The Park - Elvis was here!


I see Elvis a lot lately, walking alone
On Spring afternoons across Thomond Bridge
With the bright sunshine searing through the old towers
Of King Johns Castle,
Or sauntering up William Street
Non-chalantly past the Two Euro shop
Oblivious to the perfumed nod of Boots
And gazing idly in the window of Oxfam.
Elvis presses on non too-concerned
That most of those he passes believe he has long since died
And do not recognise the King of Rock and Roll
Solitary, strolling through their town.

The other evening ,after dark
I saw him leave the Peoples Park
At the sound of the Attendants bell
The living legend exited at speed,
And, by himself walked down through Pery Square,
And no one recognised him there.
But he soldiered on
And stopped at Enzos for fish and chips,
While reminiscing about his many hits.
He reached home about half-past ten,
And tomorrow Elvis will walk again
Unnoticed in our midst
And non-chalantly cross the Thomond Bridge
As the sunlight streams
Between the ancient castles towers…

Gerard O'Shea

Monday, 11 February 2008


I read how, in the spring of 1981, a young man was flown into desolate northern Alaska to photograph the natural beauty and mysteries of the tundra. He took along 500 rolls of film, several firearms, and 1,400 pounds of provisions.
As the months passed, the words in his diary changed from wonder and fascination into a nightmare. In August he wrote, "I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure. I'll soon find out."
In November he died in a nameless valley, by a nameless lake, 225 miles northeast of Fairbanks. An investigation revealed that though he had carefully planned his trip, he had made no provision to be flown out.
Difficult to imagine isn't it? How could anyone be so foolish. He made every provision for his journey except how to get home! Unbelievable!

Time ...
We enter it at birth,
We pass through it in life,
We exit it at death.
It is our preparation ...
for eternity.

"How tragic," we say. And yet, how many of us make every provision for life here on earth but no preparation for our departure? God has warned us in his Word, the Bible, that there is life after death ... after which is God's judgment. And as he warned the nation of Israel to prepare to meet God 1 he warns us to do the same. We need to do this today. After death it is too late. As God's Word also says, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."2
And how do we prepare to meet God? By confessing our sins to God and accepting his Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior.He died on the Cross to pay the price for our sins. When you call on Him He releases the power of the Living God into your life, enabling you to live the life you were born to live! Doing this is getting your "passport to Eternity in Heaven." Whatever you do, don't leave earth without it!

1. Amos 4:12. 2. Hebrews 9:27


'The Light of Spring' - Kevin Macpherson
Spring officially arrived in this part of the world over a week
ago on February 1st,however in reality its ‘sacramental’
presence was not felt till last Saturday. It was the first of those
lovely gentle days filled with sunshine and birdsong ,when one
can sense the process of natures rebirth reverberating in
every breath and breeze.Emily Dickinson captures the
sensation well in this wonderful poem. -GOSh.-






A light exists in spring

Not present on the year

At any other period.

When March is scarcely here


A colour stands abroad

On solitary hills

That science cannot overtake,

But human nature feels.

It waits upon the lawn;

It shows the furthest tree

Upon the furthest slope we know;

It almost speaks to me.

Then, as horizons step,

Or noons report away,

Without the formula of sound,

It passes, and we stay:

A quality of loss

Affecting our content,

As trade had suddenly encroached

Upon a sacrament.


Emily Dickinson

Saturday, 9 February 2008


Media - Jellyfish or Juggernaut ?


There is a hoary old chestnut doing the rounds amongst certain ‘religious’types that the Media has replaced the Church (Catholic in our Irish context) as the supreme autocratic institution in the state. According to this piece of populist wisdom the journalists and presenters of the print and visual media are the new priests bludgeoning the flock with their liberal agenda in place of the P.P’s blackthorn stick of old. For historical clarity the Parish Priests in the past were not averse to rooting out ‘courting’ couples up and down this island, displacing the arm-locked unfortunates with a few well placed blows from the blackthorn stick! So the argument goes, with the decline of the Church’s influence (accelerated greatly by the numerous sex-scandals amongst some of its predatory clergy), the scribes and broadcasters of T.V. and newspapers have taken up the cudgel of oppression against the ‘plain people’ of Ireland. What a lot of half-baked nonsense.
To start with there is no comparison between the stranglehold that the Catholic church wielded on the people of this country and the influence of a disparate and multi-faceted free press. The overlooked point is that the media represents a plethora of opinion and comment from the far right to the liberal left. There is a distance indeed between the editorial views of the conservative Irish Daily Mail and the liberal tone of the venerable Irish Times. And while individual priests of old may have differed in their opinions, they were all obliged to implement the edicts and dogmas which emanated from Rome whether they liked them or not. While a free press may opinionate and report for ever and a day, their influence relies on persuasion not coercion and their real power is in shining a light into the dark corners of our less than open society. We must not forget that it was the work of dogged journalism that lifted the cloak of secrecy on the abuse of children by clerics, and in so doing allowed the victims to come forward and tell their horrific stories. The work of dedicated journalism also asked the hard questions of our politicians when corruption was revealed at the heart of the planning process, and so the various tribunals of enquiry were set up to investigate these claims.
We must decide what kind of place we wish to live in, an open and honest society where a free press is allowed to thrive and indeed act as a guardian to the values of democracy and freedom of expression to which we all pay lip service ? Or do we wish to censor our media and only allow it to say the things we want it to say and only to expose those dark places that we decide need exposing? A nation that muzzles its press is on a highway to repression.
Of course the media does not reflect the Christian ethos, neither should it. It doesn’t reflect an Islamic ethos or any one sectional interest, it must remain independent and free so that it can at best, frankly report and comment on every area of life without fear or favour. Of course we become infuriated by aspects of the reported news and we often detect a less than fair treatment of spiritual values in our print and T.V.,but rather than bury our heads in the sand or bemoan the ‘media’ why don’t we take a proactive approach and get involved ,seasoning the world of communication with the salt of the gospel.We can contribute to the Letters page of newspapers or pick up the phone and express our point of view on radio chat shows, or even alert publications to the‘good news’ stories happening in our communities. Corazon Aquino made this true observation on the real power behind our media“The media’s power is frail. Without the people’s support, it can be shut off with the ease of turning a light switch.” We get the media we deserve, the stories become more salacious as our appetite for the bizarre becomes greater, the boundaries of ‘decency’ are stretched as our interests become more so called ‘broadminded’. The media is not the enemy but often reflects us as we are, as distinct from what we would like to be . In its dispassionate glare we are uncomfortably scrutinised and like Cromwell ,painted ‘warts and all’

Gerard O'Shea

Thursday, 7 February 2008


I came across this lovely blog called Can You Hear The Birds Sing?


Psalm 133

1Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! 2It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; 3As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.

Last night, my wife was stuck in the airport in Chicago . Last night in a college town nearby, my daughters were spending the evening together. I feel badly for my wife, but I am real happy for my children. Parents want their children to get along, to spend time together, to enjoy each other.

God our father also wants his children to enjoy each other. To come together as brothers and sisters. To see the good. To be the good. To put ointment on the wounds of those who hurt. To love one another in a way that displays the grace of Jesus Christ. God is happy when his children are nice to each other.

Surely somewhere today, there is someone with whom you disagree. Someone that has disrupted your world, someone who has insulted you. See them as God's child. Look past the pain. How beautiful it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in unity. People are more important than ideas.It's a beautiful day in God's world, be sure to see the good.

Jeff Brinkman

Monday, 4 February 2008


This is 'Pouncey' the venerable farmyard
cat-in-residence at the Broderick farm in
Pallaskenry,Co. Limerick.
For 13 years he has prowled this patch
with occasional 'breaks' for nefararious feline
activities ! In this picture 'Pouncey' tries
a spot of gardening,lying down beside a
withered hydranga blossom.
Oh my master, do not take me for a slave,
for I have in me a taste for liberty:
Do not seek to divine my secrets,
for I have in me a taste for mystery;
Do not constrain me with caresses,
for I have in me a taste for modesty,
Do not humiliate me,
for I have in me a taste for pride,
Do not abandon me,
for I have in me a taste for fidelity,
Love me and I will love thee,
for I have in me a taste for friendship.



“I shut my eyes in order to see,” said French painter, sculptor, and artist Paul Gauguin. As a little girl, though completely unaware of this insightful quote on imagination, I lived this maxim. Nothing was more exhilarating to me than closing my eyes in order to imagine far away exotic lands, a handsome prince, or a deep enough hole leading straight to China!
In fact, like many, imagination fuelled my young heart and mind. After reading C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia I would walk into dark closets filled with warm winter coats fully expecting to be transported like the Pevensie children into the land of Narnia. Charlotte’s Web took me to a farm where I could talk to my dog, like Fern talked to Wilbur, or to the spiders that hung from intricate webs in my garage. Pictures on the wall came to life and danced before me; ordinary objects became extraordinary tools enabling me to defeat all those imaginary giants and inspiring me toward powerful possibilities fuelled by vivid imagination.
Sadly, as happens to many adults, my imagination has changed. I don’t often view my closet as a doorway to unseen worlds, nor do I pretend that my dogs understand one word of my verbal affection towards them. Pictures don’t come to life, and I no-longer pretend my garden rake or broom is a secret weapon against fantastical foes. Often, I feel that my imagination has become nothing more than wishful thinking. Rather than thinking creatively about the life I’ve been given, I day-dream about what my life might be like if...I lived in Holland, for example, or could back-pack across Europe, or lived on a kibbutz, or was a famous actress, or a world-renowned tennis player, or any number of alternative lives to the one I currently occupy.
Sadly, the imagination so vital in my youth doesn’t often infuse my life with creative possibility, but rather leads me only to wonder if the grass is greener on the other side. Mid-life regrets reduce imagination to restlessness, and shrivel creative thinking to nothing more than unsettled daydreams. Rather than allowing my imagination to be animated by living into God’s creative power, I allow it to be tethered to worldly dreams of more, or better, or simply other.
The psalmist was not in a mid-life imaginative crisis when he penned Psalm 90. Nevertheless, this psalm attributed to Moses, was a prayer to the God who can redeem imagination for our one life to live. Perhaps, Moses wrote this psalm after an endless day of complaint from wilderness-weary Israelites. Perhaps it was written with regret that his violent outburst against the rock would bar him from entry into the Promised Land. Whatever event prompted its writing, it is a song sung in a minor key, with regret so great he feels consumed by God’s anger and dismayed by God’s wrath (Ps. 90:7-8).
Whether prompted by deep regret, disillusionment, or a simple admitting of reality, Moses reflects on the brevity of life. He compares it to the grass “which sprouts anew. In the morning, it flourishes; toward evening it fades, and withers away” (Psalm 90:6). Indeed, he concedes that “a thousand years in God’s sight are like yesterday when it passes by, or as a watch in the night” (90:4). Before we know it, our life is past, and what do we have to show for it? Have we lived creatively? Have we used our imagination to infuse our fleeting, one-and-only lives to bring forth offerings of beauty and blessing? Imagination, like any other gift, has the potential for good or for ill. It has power to fill my one and only life with creative possibility, or it has the potential to become nothing more than wishful thinking. As the psalmist suggests, our lives can be full of creative possibility when we desire hearts that seek to live wisely, live joyfully, and live gladly before the Lord, the God of infinite imagination and creativity.
Imagination built upon a foundation of gratitude invites us to live our lives with hope and with possibility to imagine great things for our God-given lives. “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard....all that God has prepared for those who love him” (Isaiah 64:4; 65:17). Can you imagine it?
In light of our transience, we have the choice to live creatively and imaginatively or wishfully longing for another life. We can choose to dwell in the presence of the God of infinite imagination for what our lives can be or we can choose to waste our time peering over to the other side. Yet we only have one life to live, “so, teach us to number our days, that we may present to you a heart of wisdom....that we may sing for joy and be glad all of our days....and confirm the work of our hands” (90:12, 14b, 15a, 17).

Margaret Manning
(associate writer at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries)

Sunday, 3 February 2008



Before you judge a man,
walk a mile in his shoes.
After that who cares?...
He's a mile away and
you've got his shoes.


The Memorial Mass programme
for John O'Donohue which
took place yesterday
P.J. Curtis the well-known radio broadcaster told a packed Galway Cathedral that if they paused for a moments silence they could hear the full hearty laugh of the late John O’Donohue resonate throughout the vast space. He was one of several speakers paying tribute to Doctor O’Donohue at a Memorial Mass yesterday. Other speakers included the M.E.P. Mary Banotti, broadcaster John Quinn, poet Rita Ann Higgins and T.D. Michael D Higgins.All who spoke recalled the humour and humanity that permeated Johns life, he was a huge assuring presence in whatever company he found himself . Mary Banotti met him at the E.U. as part of a delegation opposed to a proposed interpretative centre at Mullaghmore, and was astonished at his impassioned plea to preserve the grand wildness of the Burren landscape. His presentation ,straight from the heart ,even swayed the European bureaucrats and the day was saved for one of our most cherished places.
Much as he was engaged in that sense of place, the human spirit always took first place for John and writer Gareth Higgins spoke movingly of his last meeting with John in July of 2007.He had arranged to meet John in Galway but rang to cancel at the last minute as he was feeling under the weather and a little depressed. John would have none of it and persuaded Gareth to meet for just 15 minutes in the car park of MacDonald’s. As Gareth recounted “Up to that point I had not considered this place ‘holy ground‘, but after that meeting I did!” The 15 minute meeting turned into a 24 hour rendezvous as the pair retired back to Johns Connemara cottage and talked into the small hours. It was good to hear about the ‘man’ behind the books, and refreshing to hear that the beautiful words and concepts he shared with readers around the world were deep bedded realities in his own everyday life.
Music for the Memorial was provided by the Lismorahaun Singers, organist Mark Dooley, soprano Regina Nathan and his niece Katie and nephew Peter O’Donohue who also sang. One of the most poignant pieces was a sean-nos song called The Vale of Fermoyle sang by Jack Carley.This was one of Johns favourite songs and the huge aattendance burst into spontaneous applause after its performance.
John O’Donohue left deep footprints in his 52 years on this earth, he left an indelible mark on the lives of those who knew him. The memory of a life so fully and well lived is a challenge to me to get out there and make a difference for others. Our Christian words are insipid indeed if not incarnated into our active lives where we touch and feel the pain and joy of our fellow travellers.
Gerard O'Shea