John O’Donohue on Being and Beauty

A good friend of mine recently shared with me this interview with John O’Donohue, an interview that had moved him greatly. It was, we learn, one of the last interviews the Irish poet and philosopher O’Donohue gave before he died in 2008.

I was so blown away by the startling beauty and perceptiveness that my desire to share it with friends quickly burgeoned into a desire to carry it into the larger world. So I do now. I include below a short biography of O’Donohue that accompanies the episode of “On Being.”


The Irish poet and philosopher John O’Donohue was beloved for his book Anam Ċara, Gaelic for “soul friend,” and for his insistence on beauty as a human calling. In one of his last interviews before his death in 2008, he articulated a Celtic imagination about how the material and the spiritual — the visible and the invisible — intertwine in human experience. His voice and writings continue to bring ancient mystical wisdom to modern confusions and longings.