The History of The Irish...Worldwide
A significant loss. John was an extraordinary writer and great online contributor with endless merits both historically and creatively. His intelligence showed in every well-wrought post he shared on The Wild Geese site as well as on his personal Facebook page, where many followed him enthusiastically. He had a delightful sense of humor, a thorough knowledge of popular music, and a passion for Irish history. He saw the influence of Celtic mysticism in the modern world and held fast to his Irish roots proudly. He was a poet in possession of seemingly effortless talent, and I marveled at his skill. A true scholar, writer, and artist by all measures, John will be deeply missed, for he was a sincere, memorable fellow who left a great impact.
Such sad, sad news. There was a time when 72 was considered old, but today often we have many good years left past that age. He left us far too soon, but here on the pages of TWG his memory will remain alive in his many wonderful articles for some time yet. Having read so many of them, and given how personal many of them were, we certainly got a sense that we knew him though we never met face to face. I think he would have like to be recalled by a poem like this:
I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.I’d like to leave an afterglow of smiles when life is done.I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,Of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun;Of happy memories that I leave when life is done.
I did have the pleasure of meeting John. He came to a gathering in September 2014, of The Wild Geese in NYC Group, a Manhattan screening of "A Terrible Beauty," a remarkable documentary about the Easter Rising from Tile Films. About 10 of us gathered for the screening, subsequent discussion with the filmmakers, and lunch. John came with Jeanne D'Brant, pictured together below on the far left. John was earnest, loquacious and welcoming -- his commitment to personal fulfillment, and storytelling was very much in evidence. He and I communicated occasionally in the subsequent years, usually about John's inability to get his posts on TheWildGeese.irish to display the way he wanted. In 2016, he asked me about playwriting, and I encouraged him to pursue that art form. I thought he'd be a natural! I never heard whether he pursued that interest, but I suspect his dialogue would have been colorful and even biting. John was prophetic, too, in my view, for so many of us who fear our own talent, as he foresaw in his 2014 memoir "Don't Die With Regret." In the book, he sensed that failing to harken to his muse he leave him spiritually bankrupt. That sense spurred him to write scores of articles and poems and publish several books. John was arguably, along with you, Joe, the most prolific and consistent contributor to our network in our 25-year history. His loss to us, and to our many readers and his family and friends, is steep, indeed. It's still feels surreal that he's gone!
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