I am a great believer in invitations, particularly ones that take us out of our ordinary and habitual way of perceiving the world and our connection to it. Ireland — its landscape, history, people, culture, and flora and fauna — extends a particularly strong invitation that has called to me so thoroughly and repeatedly
Ireland has something to say to us through its gentle landscape of rolling hills and hedges of oak and blackthorn trees. And through its fierce one of wicked winds and pelting rain blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean, scouring the land of all but rock and bog. It is a land of sheep cropped pastures dotted with harebells, celandine, and miniature daisies, and bounded by stonewalls that lead down to the sea where, often as not, you will find cows enjoying walking on the sand and eating seaweed.
It is a land with a deep and scourging past that has left heart-breaking whispers of the Great
John Moriarty, the Irish writer
What is the nature of this hold Ireland has on me and on others? What is it? I have asked the sheep, but they are too intent on their grazing to be bothered with such questions, and perhaps they are right — why not let it remain a mystery.
Kate Hennessy is a writer, whose latest book is Dorothy Day: The World Will Be Saved By Beauty (Scribner 2017). Kate and her musician husband, Garry Jones, lead writing retreats and tours in Ireland. Finding Your Spiritual Voice: A Writers’ Retreat will be held April 11-18, 2019, and September 25-October 2, 2019 (information at www.katehennessybooks.com), in addition to a 10-day tour, Pilgrimage to the Other – World, April 22-May 3, 2019 (information at www.irishbyways.com).