Macushla – A Tribute to John O’Donohue PhD

by inspire on January 7, 2008

John O’Donohue PhD

“Macushla! Macushla!
Your red lips are saying
That death is a dream,
And love is for ever,”

It was 30th December 1999, our fifth wedding anniversary. It was the first Christmas after my Father died. I got up early to reflect on the day. As I wondered around the kitchen I thought about my Dad and wondered how he was healthy and strong at our wedding but was no longer with us. It was one of those moments when you really miss someone who had such a great influence on your life and no matter how you think about it, it’s impossible to make sense of their parting.

My Father, John J. Kelly, loved the music of John Mc Cormack (1884 – 1945) a famous Irish Tenor. One song which he sung was called Macushla. For me this song always meant “my son, my son”. While my Father was in hospital with cancer I gave him a gift of a CD, entitled “Faith of our Fathers”, with Macushla on it. It was to be the last gift I gave him.

As I wondered around our kitchen that morning, unusally, I turned on the radio. Gay Byrne (a famous Irish presenter) was interviewing John O’Donohue. He asked him what song he’d like played. John requested Macushla. I stopped for a moment. The first few bars of this wonderful song began and I felt a warm presence surround me. I felt it was my Father wishing me “Happy Anniversary”. With each singing of the line “Macushla, Macushla” the feeling got stronger and of course more emotional. When the song finished I whispered “Dad, if thats you … thanks”.

John O’ Donohue, philosopher and poet died peacefully in his sleep on Jan 3rd 2008, aged 53. I’m sure his warm and gentle presence will continue to enlighten us and help connect us with the divine purpose behind lifes lessons and challenges. May he rest in peace.

Here’s a few lines from the song Macushla. 

“Macushla! Macushla!
Your red lips are saying
That death is a dream,
And love is for ever.”

If you’d like to listen to Macushla sung by John Mc Cormack click here:

If you’d like to read an article which John O’Donohue wrote entitled:

Awakening the Mind, Awakening the Soul, clik below:

Sean M Kelly

May Your Most Fulfiling Dreams come true

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Seann Farrell January 7, 2008 at 10:31 am

Nice one Sean – great mail & blog

Sarah Bird January 8, 2008 at 5:27 am

John was a friend who touched our hearts with his wisdom and poetry.
His early passing was a shock.
He will be sadly missed but I rejoice in the legacy he has left us.
From his book Benedictus
“That you would gather yourself
And decide carefully
How you now can live
The life you would love
To look back on
From your deathbed”
Thank you John, may you ever be at peace.

Now we must live our dreams!

Thank you Sean for your tribute.

Barbara January 11, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Thank you for your words about John, the link to the beautiful music and the article. John was a friend and mentor for me, and it is lovely to read this from you.

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