Pilgrimage To The Land Of John O'Donohue

This fall I'll be writing my thesis on the work of the Irish poet and former priest John O'Donohue. He died unexpectedly in 2008 at the age of 52, leaving behind a treasure-trove of writing and a number of remarkable interviews. John's language for the sacred was inventive and resonant far beyond the realms of the Catholic church. He wrote about beauty, friendship, landscape, and for me most importantly - belonging, and I hope that this will form the central theme of my thesis.

It felt important to honour the man I'll be reading so closely, so together with my dear friend Caroline, I set off to the west coast of Ireland - particularly to Connemara, where he lived, and County Clare, where he grew up and is buried.

Wild daisies picked to lay on John's grave.

Wild daisies picked to lay on John's grave.

Walking through the grounds of Kylemore Abbey in Connemara

Walking through the grounds of Kylemore Abbey in Connemara

The Poulnabrone Dolmen in the Burren, County Clare

The Poulnabrone Dolmen in the Burren, County Clare

Corcomroe Abbey, where John would lead a dawn Easter Mass, The Burren in County Clare

Corcomroe Abbey, where John would lead a dawn Easter Mass, The Burren in County Clare

Ireland's lush greenery

Ireland's lush greenery

Mullaghmore Mountain in County Clare, which, together with many others, John saved from development

Mullaghmore Mountain in County Clare, which, together with many others, John saved from development

Mweenish Island, Connemara

Mweenish Island, Connemara

Caroline and I enjoying the chocolatiers of County Clare

Caroline and I enjoying the chocolatiers of County Clare