A Great Year for…,,,

Well it’s a great year for Roses :

A better year for elderberries:

The best year I can remember for foxglove:

But , as Paddy McElligott would say: ” an atrocious year ” for apples.

My neighbour, Anne Linnane noticed in her pear and apple orchard that the blossoms came very early but got badly singed in the wind, rain and frost. I had noticed myself how few apples were forming. So the apple press won’t be out as often in Carrigane this summer for Anne’s wonderful bottled cider called “Carrigane Dew”, which warms up our winters. For Carrigane is a place where every man gets his due!! 

John must be a friend of the great Patsy Kennedy who recently celebrated thirty years of married bliss to the wonderful Frances. John turned up on his face book page and he must have a sense of humour if Patsy knows him! The stone is wet these days!

I made “Kerry’s Eye ” again this week. I feel a small bit uncomfortable with the language of war fare so often used in relation to cancer. Illness can often come as a teacher with necessary lessons. It inserts me in a different and more aware setting. I don’t feel I’m in ‘a battle.’ I’m certainly on a learning curve. I feel the awarenesses I bring to any situation will greatly effect the outcome. Sometimes illnesses  brings a message with them which needs to be heard and then when its heard moves on.


June 27 th

From the ‘Ireland in Pictures‘ section of the RTE website comes this beautiful picture of a sunset on Beale strand, taken recently by Monica Dillane .

Back in 1982, 34 years ago today, I was ordained to the priesthood in St. Michael’s Church in Ballylongford. Looking back, it seems like such a short time and I’m so grateful for the many graces and blessings I’ve received over the years.

Yesterday, I let the people of the Parish of Duagh and Lyreacompane know of my decision to resign as Parish Priest of there.

I arrived at that decision because I feel the need to give my full attention to recovery. And my treatment is going so well, I have over six weeks of chemotherapy done and this afternoon I’m starting a month of daily radium. This time the treatment is less severe and focused on one small place. 

I’m looking forward to going back to parish work when I’m fully recovered. So on the weekend of Brexit  – it’s Duexit for me!

Some words that inspired me back on ordination day still do today – from Karl Rahner.

The Priest is not an angel sent from heaven;

he is a man chosen from among men,

and a member of the Church, a Christian. 

Remaining human and Christian, 

he begins to speak to you the Word of God. 

This Word is not his own.

 No, he comes to you because God has told him to proclaim God’s Word.

Perhaps he has not entirely understood it himself. 

Perhaps he adulterates it. 

But he believes; 

and despite his fears, he knows that he must communicate God’s Word to you.

 For must not some of us say something about God, about eternal life….must not some of us speak

of sin and the love and mercy of God?

So, dear friends, pray for him. 

Carry him, so that he might be able to sustain others by bringing them the mystery of God’s love,

revealed in Jesus Christ.

Anocht oiche Shin Sean.

Bonfire Night, an tine mar shiombal an gile agus an cumhacht.

                   Ta draoicht ann.

I think I may have been only six years old when our neighbour, Jimmy Mulvihill, who died too young, lit a fire on St. John’s Eve just down the road from here. We gathered and there was a great sense of outdoor ritual. It was pagan, wild and real.

Over in Asdee there is the Holy Well of St. Eoin. For these days were Christianised as St. John’s Eve.

And I remember an account of life along our road written by Tom Linnane in The Shannonside Annual in 1956. His memory reached back into the mid 1700’s. He recalled the old people saying that when the Viking Chiefs were dying back home they bequeathed to their families some lands in the shade of Cnoc an Fhomhair. For they had settled along the estuary when they came here and set up our first towns. Sankt Hans is the name of the mid summer festival the Danes observe these nights as their Viking Celebration.

Memory is to the person


Tradition is to community.


That’s the shout that went up around the world when Robbie Brady scored in the 85th minute in Lille last night. Tears, screams and leaps as Ireland beat Italy. The fans are keeping us all going.

It is good to be outdoors even if the weather isn’t perfect.

The elegance of the wild iris, dressed in the Kerry colours.

We gathered round the fire to mark the Solstice. 

Until we were invaded by Kylo Ren, from Star Wars! 

“Forgive me again. I feel it. The pull of the light.” 

“Let us die to make things cheap”


Leonard Cohen has given us some memorable quotes in his long history.

“Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash.”

In the week’s New Yorker, Cohen has a poem and the feeling it evokes makes it memorable. You know the way you always remember where you were when a single event happened?

I won’t forget today’s Summer solstice after reading this poem.

It has a WOW Factor!



Steer your way through the ruins of the Altar and the Mall

Steer your way through the fables of Creation and the Fall

Steer your way past the Palaces that rise above the rot

Year by year

Month by month

Day by day

Thought by thought


Steer your heart past the Truth you believed in yesterday

Such as Fundamental Goodness and the Wisdom of the Way

Steer your heart, precious heart, past the women whom you bought

Year by year

Month by month

Day by day

Thought by thought


Steer your path through the pain that is far more real than you

That has smashed the Cosmic Model, that has blinded every View

And please don’t make me go there, though there be a God or not

Year by year

Month by month

Day by day

Thought by thought


They whisper still, the injured stones, the blunted mountains weep

As he died to make men holy, let us die to make things cheap

And say the Mea Culpa, which you’ve gradually forgot

Year by year

Month by month

Day by day

Thought by thought


Steer your way, O my heart, though I have no right to ask

To the one who was never never equal to the task

Who knows he’s been convicted, who knows he will be shot

Year by year

Month by month

Day by day

Thought by thought


And then there was the language of the wind..

Somewhere John Moriarty mentions the twelve languages of the wind and the eighteen languages of the rain. Yesterday evening, in downtown Asdee, the winds blew up, in loud conversation with everything in full bloom. Mary White reminded us all that the pigs can see the wind which of course is a great advantage when they are flying! Everything got tossed about and now it is settling.

“All the bloomy flush of life,” is in an abundance of colour.

Stepping into another week, I’m again empowered  by the wisdom shared by Caroline Myss.

The Language of the Rain.

Well the rains, falling gently and gently falling, have come to downtown Asdee.

But this too will pass and it makes for a little bit more introspection. 

Nina, that great source of wisdom and awe,told the following story lately from the work of John Moriarty.

“Once upon a time there was a man who lived alone. Every day, even on bad winter days, he went into the forest hunting. Coming home one evening he saw some clothes of his hanging out to dry. Going inside he was surprised to see how clean and tidy his house was. There was a freshly made fire and a hot meal on the table. Again the next evening there was a freshly made fire and a meal, steam rising from it. And his clothes, washed and dried, freshly mended. He left, as usual, for the forest early next morning. But he didn’t go all the way. Curious to know who it was, he turned back, hiding himself in some bushes not far away from the house. After a while he saw a fox trotting towards the door. The fox went in. And not long after the hunter went in. There was a woman making the fire. There was a fox skin hanging on the back of the door.

I’m your wife now the woman said.

They lived together happily. 

One night the man complained of a bad smell in the house.

A fox smell, he said. I can’t stand it, he said. The woman got up and went to the door. Taking down the fox skin, she put it on. A fox again she trotted away into the wilderness.”

What’s that story about I’m asking myself this reflective morning?

Is it a story about us humans being able or not being able for the animals around us?

A story about us humans not being able for the animal in us?

“To think well of others.”

I got a lovely supportive card yesterday from Kate and Paddy with a quote that I had never heard before from St. Theresa, “Nothing sweeter than to think well of others.”

On calm evenings the Shannon dolphins fish by Littor Point, 80 million years ago the left land to go back into the sea, an interesting evolutionary decision!!?

Helen Higgins shares helpful insights from Caroline Myss  that I find helpful and empowering.

There is a great outburst of activity in downtown Asdee as the Solstice approaches. Ray Keane has the turf home for us all. Silage is cut , slurry spread, yet milk has slipped again in price for the farmer producer.

Sean Stack, our local artist,did an outdoor instillation for my neighbours Bernie and Mike Daly.

The only difficulty is that you have to turn off the water to play the piano, never mind getting the feet wet. 

Now that the turf is home and we have to wait to dig the spuds, my nephew Gearoid went to Ascot for the second time this week, to make enough for to pay for the suit rent!

There is also a bit of style at Mass in Asdee as the Bunabha summer collection was featured!

So be happy!

On the Journey

You’d never know what you’d meet in the highways and byways of North Kerry!

Twas Dante said in The Divine Comedy,  “Midway upon the journey of life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost.”

It might happen a bit later or earlier but it happens. 

It is all on the journey and the joy of discovery, for the woods are lovely these sun filled days, “dark and deep”. 

The great outdoors calls these sun filled June days as we approach the Summer Solstice. And we carry the darkness too with us as we carry the light. 

Sean Stack lead the discussion the other night on “The Game of Thrones.” Donie O Keeffe has lost the thread on the second series since summer came, the great outdoors calls and it’s a great year for bananas as the potassium levels were high this spring in downtown Asdee. Con O Hanlon has taken to drawing cartoons inspired by the setting of the scenes though he doesn’t care much for the various plots that he sees developing in the series that he is missing a lot like all of us.

All in all, Kevin summarised proceedings by giving the series a poor enough rating mainly because Downtown Asdee is far more interesting than what’s happening in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos. Sean Stack did acknowledge the brillant work done in the series by Listowel man PJ Dillon, the world class Cinematographer. The music, A Song of Ice and Fire, it was agreed was brillant.

Anyway we finished off the night with a feed of Kevin’s strawberries.

Thoughts on Bloom Day

There is a ditch full of foxglove festooning the path back to the fort.

 It is a great year for roses and they are to be found in the most unsuspecting places. The wilder the rose the greater the scent.

The lily reminds me of St Anthony who we pray to for Hope and healing. His feast day was last Monday, June 13th. As I sat in hospital in Cork on chemo treatment the medical team discussed with me a review of my treatment in line with my positive response so far to treatment. I felt a connection at that time.
A week earlier while waiting for a particular type of scan in the Mercy Hospital in Cork I got great consolation from the Madonna on the wall. The desolate background, her far off upward distant gaze, creating the restful heart held space for the sleeping child. A waiting space for hospital procedures can be a place where time stands still though seconds tick. There I could rest for I felt held.

 Then my grand nephew came to see me to celebrate his first birthday. He brought his parents!
And Debbie returned to the land of the brave and the free after spending a month minding me here with loving care.  Before she went we were lucky enough to witness the wedding of Amy and Ger. To be in their company with parents, grandparents, family and friends was joyful and renewing and lifted the spirits.

I’m finding I’m in a different place this time during my treatment. I’m more aware of what is going on, more able to integrate and pace myself and more focused. I am still blessed with the support at so many levels, from the medical attention to my carers to the wall of prayer I fell around me that so many people contribute a brick to!


Keep me rooted in Divine Awareness.