Teach pobail

No, the title of this post has nothing to do with instructing indigents on how to get out of jail. It's an Irish word that means "church." The correct pronunciation for American English speakers would be approximately chack PO-bwil (it would more or less sound like "Jack Pobble").What's neat about this word, though, is to dissect its meaning by looking at each word individually. "Teach" means "house." "Pobail" means community (it's a cognate of people). In other words, this Irish word for … [Read more...]


To all my USA readers, happy thanksgiving!Thanksgiving reminds me of an old Irish festival called Lughnasa. Lughnasa (literally, "the assembly of Lugh") was a month-long harvest festival that took place at the time of the grain harvest (probably late July or early August); it was marked not only by feasting, but also by sporting events and much pageantry. Here in America, we've moved our harvest festival to the end of the season (late November), but thanks to the mass media, in addition to our … [Read more...]

Brigid’s Well

I've created a new page for this website that I'm calling the Holy Well. Eventually I'd like it to be a page devoted to Celtic Spirituality, in much the same way as my Mystics page is devoted to the great contemplatives of the western tradition and the Spiritual Formation page is devoted to the practice of Christian spirituality. But for now, I needed some content just to get the page going, so I resurrected a page from the old "Brigid's Well" website I had set up in my druid days. Basically it … [Read more...]

I arise today through the strength of heaven…

Courtesy of the good folks at Beliefnet, here's a wonderful flash-animated "meditation" built around St. Patrick's Lorica prayer:Christian Morning Meditation: The Prayer of St. Patrick of IrelandThe music — a Gaelic ode to Brigit sung by Katy Taylor — is particularly lovely and haunting. … [Read more...]

Mystery of the Missing Irish Monasteries

I recently purchased the Folio Society edition of Christopher Brooke's The Rise and Fall of the Medieval Monastery (it's a beautiful book, so if you don't already have it, you'll want it. But do like me and locate a used copy, although you may have to be patient — they're hard to come by). My copy arrived today, and in between oohing and aahing at all the lovely illustrations, I noticed something very mysterious indeed. On the inside covers is a hand-drawn map of the "Monastic Sites of Europe." P … [Read more...]