St. Patrick’s Day — John O’Donohue on Beauty and the Celtic imagination


Images of Ireland and quotes from John O’Donohue’s book, “Beauty, The Invisible Embrace.”

“When we experience the Beautiful, there is a sense of homecoming.”


Ireland 2

“When the imagination is alive, the life remains youthful.”

“Beauty calls us beyond ourselves and it encourages us to engage the dream that dwells in the soul.”

coastal road

“We feel most alive in the presence of the Beautiful for it meets the needs of our soul.”

“The imagination creates a pathway of reverence for the visitations of beauty.”

Skellig stairs

“With swift, sheer grace, the Beautiful is like a divine breath that blows the heart open.”

“Beauty is quietly woven through our days.”houses and green hills

“The imagination is the great friend of possibility…In a sense, that is what beauty is: possibility that enlarges and delights the heart.”

“Beauty does not linger, it only visits.”

Cliffs of Mohr

“To experience beauty is to have your life enlarged.”

“When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way.”

Ireland 3

“The earth is full of thresholds where beauty awaits the wonder of our gaze.”

“Ultimate beauty is a profound illumination of presence, a stirring of the invisible in visible form.”


“When we awaken to the call of Beauty, we become aware of new ways of being in the world.”

“The eye of the imagination will often be drawn to the edges of things where the visible and invisible worlds coalesce.”

lighthouse stars

“True beauty is from elsewhere, a pure gift.”

“Everywhere there is tenderness, care and kindness, there is beauty.”

window kettle flowers

“Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue was a native Irish speaker, a former priest, and author of books that provided sustenance for many souls hungering for connection.” (

clover key

(Images from Pinterest)

Saint Patrick’s Day thoughts

inner 2May you have warm words on a cold evening,
A full moon on a dark night,
And the road downhill all the way to your door.


If there is a way into the wood, there is also a way out.


Ireland church

May God look down and bless you.
May you look up and give thanks.


moonlit walk crop

“Yes. I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” – Oscar Wilde


green door

‘Tis afterwards that everything is understood.


Irish landscape

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.” – Oliver Goldsmith


rainbow crop

Be happy with what you have and you will have plenty to be happy about.



Saint Patrick’s Day


tea set

My mom being Irish (third generation), I grew up with limericks, rhymes, and poetry. She always read a poem or two before going to bed from a slender collection that rested on her nightstand, and books of poetry lay scattered about on bookshelves and counters to be picked up and browsed through at leisure.

Nothing laborious or unduly difficult—rather a light touch here and there that added a dash of beauty or insight to the day, the same way other people set candles and frames around the house.

On the telephone desk stood an old earthenware mug filled with pens and pencils, and printed on it in black lettering was an Irish Blessing. From seeing it so often, I think we all had the poem memorized at an early age.

Blessing 1

And on the telephone notepad or perhaps at the bottom of a grocery list, we often came across a dashed off rhyme or limerick by Mom, some effervescent burst of wit that couldn’t be suppressed.

On the living room wall hung one of her favorite poems. She asked an Irish friend, known for his beautiful calligraphy, if he would copy it out for her. Then she bought an antique wooden frame and placed the poem where everyone could read the stirring lines.

the music makers 2

Poetry was woven into the day, offering a moment to ponder some idea, a dip into profundity, a gasp at a beautiful thought or image, a smile at some witty phrase.

On this cold, snowy Saint Patrick’s Day, I’m going to celebrate by making a cup of tea and opening one of the books of poetry that lay scattered about my house.