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John O'Donohue in Ireland

One of the exciting aspects of my job as a producer is the opportunities our web site opens up for multimedia content. As soon as we started producing this week’s program, I wanted our audience to be able to see the Irish landscape John O’Donohue described in his conversation with Krista. I desperately wanted to see it. I’m of Irish ancestry (75%!, I’d proudly tell people on St. Patrick’s Day as a kid, dressed in my Kelly green shirt with a “Kiss me, I’m Irish” button), and someday I hope to make it to that emerald isle.

When I asked John O’Donohue’s business manager, Linda, if she had any photos of John in Ireland, she graciously offered to put out a request to friends and family. Within days I’d received over a dozen photos of both the Connemara region where John most recently lived, and some of Fanore, a town in County Clare where John attended elementary school, and where he is now buried. Will O’Leary, a veteran Washington Post staff photographer and close friend of John’s, shared some of his photos. His wife, NPR reporter Jacki Lyden, was also a close friend of John’s (she recently offered a remembrance of him on NPR’s All Things Considered). Another longtime friend and professional photographer, Nutan, shared photos he took of John in 2005.

In producing the audio slideshow, I was struck with how well the photos illustrated O’Donohue’s language in his poem “Beannacht” — a word I’ve heard translated as both “blessing” and “passage.” It’s about finding comfort in loss, and I consciously tried to match the photos to the poem’s tone, mood, and pace. I learned that John wrote this poem for his mother, Josie, at the time of his father’s death. According to Linda, his father “…was a farmer and a gifted builder of dry stone walls — a dying art still much revered — from whom, John’s brother Pat said at his funeral, John learned the art of fitting words delicately and fittingly together.”


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27 Comments

This was so beautiful I listened to it, and watched it twice. Thank you for such an amazing tribute.

Thank you for this WONDERFUL program. I caught part of it on Sunday. Since then I've downloaded the full interview and I'm savoring that.

John melodious voice brought me back to many days spent on the west coast in both Clare and Connemara.

I even wrote a blog entry about his poem Beannacht at http://tinyurl.com/2336oh. I appreciate the introduction to this man and his work.

What a wonderful gift Mr. O'Donahue has given to us. His work truly speaks to the heart! Beautiful!

I just discovered John , wow, what a comfort, knowing a man like him existed and still does in his words, in the landscapes. I savor his words. Thanks for a wonderful interview.

Over the past few hours I've been listening to the long radio interview between John and Krista. My imaginings awakening through this journey and now to have heard his voice again while walking through the fields and pastures of his life celebrate the gift of his personhood., the radiance of his Soul through word and image. Thank you.
It is my deepest hope that these interviews and videos are always available on the web, for they behold mystery and a beauty beyond word.

So incredibly beautiful, so terribly sad that we have lost such a beautiful mind.

Tudi mi v Sloveniji se ga spominjamo.

Bil je pravi buditelj hrepenenja.

It was a beautiful reportage, i will always treasure it(This night has opened my eyes)

A dear friend introduced me to John O'Donohue's "Anam Cara" around the time of my mother's sudden death 8 years ago. It was a great help in helping me understand and make my way through much grief and it's a book that I have reread and kept close ever since. I had never heard his voice before this morning's repeat of the interview on "Speaking of Faith"--it was so moving to hear his recitation of "Beannacht"

I had begun the day reading from "Eternal Echoes" and then to listen to "Speaking of Faith". What a nice surprise to hear the John O'Donohue interview again. It always seems to come at the perfect time. The first time I heard it, I purchased "Anam Cara". This book has been a keystone book in my life and moved me to read other books by O'Donohue. It's truely a mystery how writers can touch and speak to so many. John O'Donohue was able to connect to his gift and share it with so many during his lifetime, and through his writings and interviews, afterwards as well. He is a "soul friend".

This story was a story of mighty proportions. A story which tears at the heart of the beauty of the soul. One whose life is touched by that of the one whose life is now past. A life of Ireland's beauty: its life through the experience of a man. A man of faith.

This story was a story of mighty proportions. A story which tears at the heart of the beauty of the soul. One whose life is touched by that of the one whose life is now past. A life of Ireland's beauty: its life through the experience of a man. A man of faith.

What a great expression of life is John O' Donohue, thank you so much, Kenneth , Clermont Florida.

My deepest gratitude to you for providing this beautiful website. A relative sent me the link to the audio file,"Blessing for a Friend at Arrival of Illness," because my close friend is dying of liver cancer. I had never heard of O'Donohue before this, so googled his name and unearthed this MARVELOUS resource. I am exploring the site fully and have downloaded the podcasts. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Debbie, our best to you and your friend. We're glad our interview with Mr. O'Donohue can provide some comfort. Mr. O'Donohue passed away shortly after this interview and we're fortunate to have met him and recorded his wisdom for others.

The unedited interview with John O'Donohue is grand. It appeared at a most welcome time - whilst I'm in the midst of a difficult recovery from a badly broken leg. His inspiration, labor and talent soothed and engaged through difficult months. I've purchased all his available CD's. They engage the mind thoughtfully and provide no end of gentle comfort. A million thanks for this introduction to the Wisdom of the Celtic World, a generous gift for heart and soul.

Thank you for taking a corner of the veil with John O'Donohue, and pulling it back
so we may imaginatively and soulfully step into the raw and serene landscape of our
life's higher calling: gracious wonderment. Your appreciation of this poetic soul
and your elegant interview, reveal your own higher dimensions in the world of media.

Outstanding interview with Jogn in this cold industrial venue of Detroit I need the injection and spirit of his words today...I feel good after his presence entered my soul today I also feel a sense of lost knowing he is gone..

thank you for this. I love On Being and all it has to bring.

Thank you for sharing the exceptional, spiritual, poetic and beautiful work of JOD. May his sprit of gentleness, innocence and goodness live on in this world!

A beautiful piece which brings much peace, and like the wildness and melancholy of Celtic music, has that lilt and mellowness about it. Inspiring

I listen to that last interview with John by Crista over and over again. I wish I could memorize the whole of it. It gives me peace and strength. I would like to integrate into myself everything that John wrote and the music he loved.

thanks a lot for this wonderful interview. john is what he promotes-a beauty; of words or evocation that surpasses the mundane and reveals the beauty in the mundane. his brief visit to this earthly resort has left it enriched and i feel in his sleep and demise he has arrived home that talked about. 

Amazing stuff

I discovered John about 13 years ago and have re-read and re-listened to him over and over again (I even have my old collection of cassette tapes). I feel so lucky to have had him with me on my journey. Thank you so much for your effort to spread his gift to everyone.

Wonderful conversation with John. I can hear his west Clare spirit as he talked about the burren. County Clare has a lot of traditional music and you can hear that cadence in his voice. Who ever picked the music picked some gems. The Bright Lady is one of those beautiful airs that fit the uilleann pipes really well. Thanks for ending it with Altan's version of King of the Pipers. I'm learning it on my uilleann pipes and thought the podcast changed over to my learning list. Well done. I'm into my second pass listening to your conversation. And, I've gone off and purchased Anim Cara