So many of the memories of my time lived in the Killarney Valley are highlighted when I think of times spent with Padraig and Fiona O Donoghue. Padraig embodied the vision, enthusiasm and love of nature of St. Francis, Fiona embodying the beauty and practically of an earth goddess. Torc, Mangerton, the Reeks, were like films we went to with such ease. Afterwards they were discussed in great detail and attempts were made to talk of a creation centered spiritually. Their wedding was different in its simplicity and depth (held in Fossa as a second choice because Fiona’s mother refused to travel to the remote Black Valley!) They chose to live in the country side near Killarney where they turned a house into a home. I couldn’t help but feel how little it had changed on a recent visit as I experienced the same warmth.
Friendships with John O Donohue, John Moriarty gave language and images of lived experience. Then there was the births of Tomas, Cliodhna and Fergal. Padraig shared his enthusiasm for mountain and sea with everyone that was lucky enough to encounter his generous spirit, like the free flowing Torc. Fiona turns a classroom into a safe, creative learning space in Coolick.
Then the news that Christmas time of a serious diagnosis, and the limp silences and helplessness felt by us all. Then the strength of character shown by Padraig and family and a loyal circle of friends as they journied through a bleak landscape. Out into the land and sea scape they went, finding support in nature and inspiring everyone. No one ever heard a grumble or a moan during that last summer together and death came at home as autumn just began. An inspiring inclusive ceremony was held in Killarney that everyone who attended felt very deeply and appreciated so much.
I couldn’t be there but the very next day Fiona phoned me and as I sat in a car and looked at a bare sally bush, Fiona took the time to tell me in a very moving way of a journey bravely undertaken. I felt inspired and healed, that at such a time of great loss and readjustment Fiona reached out to me.