For a long time the lofty grandeur and imposing presence of Mount Errigal in Co Donegal has charmed painters, photographers and film-makers. This great iconic peak of the North West has also been for over half a century the focal point of much of Cathal Ó Searcaigh’s acclaimed poetry in the Irish language. He is the celebrant of its mysteries, the archivist of its seasons, the poet of its beauty.
In Errigal: Sacred Mountain, Ó Searcaigh (one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets, in both Irish and English) goes on a pilgrim path around Errigal and – in the active meditation of walking – summons up the spirit of this revered mountain, the largest in Ireland. In his “Passages of Light” as he calls them, we get a vivid and an insightful word-journey around a mountain that has shaped the thinking of one of the most eminent poets in the Irish language.
Eloquently written, this book is a sure-footed mix of memoir, acute observation, wry humour and wisdom. It includes an engaging Preface by the Irish-American writer Patrick Breslin; a scholarly Afterword by renowned historian and archaeologist Brian Lacey; and translations of Ó Searcaigh’s poems by some of Ireland’s most outstanding poets (Seamus Heaney, Paddy Bushe, Thomas McCarthy and Gabriel Rosenstock).
This rare and lovely book is guaranteed to be a rewarding read and an uplift to the spirit. It is also a marvellous addition to the genre of mountain writing, both Irish and international.