Inspiration for all Seasons: Celtic Wisdom for Today
by John Scally
(Black & White Publishing, Edinburgh, £14.99)
Coming to hand just at the end of one year and the beginning of another, with many changes of all kinds in the offing here in Ireland, and around the world, this book was a delightful surprise.
Here, for once, is a book on “Celtic wisdom” that lives up to the author’s expectations and the reader’s hopes. I enjoyed greatly from the first pages, and warmly commend it, and would suggest that here is a book that will outlive its moment of publication. St Francis and G.K. Chesterton would have loved it, or at least parts of it. But that is the joy of the book there is something here either in the edited materials or the author’s own words, for everybody.
It is pervaded by the influence of John O’Donoghue, all those books beginning with Anam Cara and so many others. John Scally may well become ‘a soul friend’ too to many of his readers. But it was also enjoyed by Alice Taylor who is in touch with the feelings that move many ordinary readers.
The material is arranged over the course of a year, but according to the ancient seasonal calendar of the Celts. It does not end, so much as recycles, for with winter ending another spring begins.
It is an anthology of extracts, poems and essays by the author and comments from friends deeply engaged as poets in the real depths of Celtic wisdom and the societies of yesterday and today that produce it. It also contains – which books of this kind rarely do – a strain of real humours and amusing witticism.
John Scally is a well-established broadcaster and author with some 40 books to his credit, mostly relating to the GAA and rugby matters. But all that, he says, is only in his “spare time”.
With a doctorate in theology, his “real job”, so to speak, is as Beresford adjunct assistant professor of ecclesiastical history in the department of religions and theology, Trinity College Dublin. So perhaps reaching out to large numbers of people may come more easily to him than it does to many other theologians.