Thoughts and memories of a sustaining nature

Thoughts and memories of a sustaining nature
Memory Near and Far
by Éamon Flanagan CM

(Published by the author at St Peter’s, Phibsborough, €6.00 plus postage; available directly nationwide from Veritas, and also through the Knock Shrine Bookshop.)

It is appropriate that the  impressive city church of St Peter’s in Phibsborough should be in the charge of  The Congregation of the Mission, otherwise known as the Vincentians.

That church stands symbolically at a crossroads, where paths divide, in an area which has seen very great changes from a Victorian suburb into a now bustling area filled with the new urban life provided  by Ireland’s new communities. There is certainly mission work to be done here, of a novel kind.

Fr Eamon Flanagan has given to his public since 1998 some fourteen publications: nine volumes of his poetry, three selections of poetry and prose, the two most recent being in prose on spiritual themes.  This book to hand continues the themes he began writing about in Life in Abundance in 2022.


Though Ireland seems to  have a thriving publishing industry,  bringing out works of devotion and spirituality is difficult, given the decreasing market, as perceived by the book trade generally. But the readers are there. They only need to be reached. Fr Flanagan’s  new little book will reach them as his track record shows.

The cover blurb, defined as “a persuasive summary” of a text, provides a snapshot of the contents:  “While the focus is mostly Catholic, there is also a strong recognition of human-divine values that are universal and carry great potential.

“Fr Flanagan, a Vincentian priest with wide experience, imagines the Catholic Church collaborating with people of goodwill, and working towards a new transformation of the world ‘to the glory of God the Father’ (Philippians 2:11). “This sound spirituality is presented in holistic Christian humanism.”

These days poetry has become such a matter of academic concern that the simple pleasures of writing personal poetry  has been overshadowed”

So what is so special about this book?  Basically it is an exploration of memory, which he sees as God’s greatest gift.  Memories which allow us to see what is very close to us, laying before us on the beach of life, memories too that come from the past in the distance, perhaps a little more difficult to see, but enriching to comprehend.  His poem exploits an image of Lough Gara in South East Sligo, “in St Attracta country”, taken by a family member.

Though he everywhere reflects on the current scenes, often in striking phrases,  what really strikes the reading  is the recall of the past, as in a poem in the third section  ‘My Parents’, which alone places all the rest in perspective.

Also very appealing is a poem in the second part called ‘Great Potential’.

These days poetry has become such a matter of academic concern that the simple pleasures of writing personal poetry  has been overshadowed.

Fr Flanagan casts a beam of personal illumination across the face, mind and soul of Ireland. Every reader will find in these echoes of their life and recognition of things as they are in contrast to what they might or ought to be.