John O’Donohue, poet and philosopher, is being laid to rest in my home parish of Fanore in the Burren, County Clare today. John passed away suddenly last week while on holiday in France. I remember John as a friendly, kind and intelligent man, and I was lucky enough to attend some of his inspirational sermons when he visited Fanore church during his time as a priest. He received his PhD from Tubingen in 1990, was a renowned expert on the philosopher Hegels, and he wrote many influential books on Celtic spirituality. John was certainly the most important ambassador for the the Burren and Connemara that I can think of, and he also spoke Irish as his native language while living in County Galway. I know that many others will join with me in sending sincere thoughts to his family and friends at this time.
You can also read this tribute to John on the Huffington Post, and view some recent articles about John from the Galway Advertiser (1, 2). KLCS-TV, a PBS station in Los Angeles, will feature a special tribute to John at 8:00 PM tonight on the show “Between the Lines”. There will be a public memorial service for John in Galway on February 2nd. More information on John is available from his official website and (in German) from Wikipedia.de. You can also listen to interviews with John from NPR in 1999 and 2005.