There are no words for the deepest things. Words become feeble when mystery visits and prayer moves into silence. In post-modern culture the ceaseless din of chatter has killed our acquaintance with silence. Consequently, we are stressed and anxious. Silence is a fascinating presence. Silence is shy; it is patient and never draws attention to itself. Without the presence of silence, no word could ever be said or heard. Our thoughts constantly call up new words. We become so taken with words that we barely notice the silence, but the silence is always there. The best words are born in the fecund silence that minds the mystery.




To Bless the Space Between Us
Celebrating the Life and Legacy of John O'Donohue

President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins

Dan Siegel, M.D. and Ellen Wingard

July 5-7, 2018
County Clare, Ireland

We extend a warm invitation to the first John O'Donohue Symposium in the heart of John's beloved Burren landscape in County Clare, Ireland. Join an international circle gathering around John's themes of connecting with self, others, community and the world. At the heart of John's awakened beliefs was the premise that ancient wisdom could offer desperately needed nourishment for the hunger experienced in our modern world. His work directs our search to crucial thresholds: past and future, life and death, the visible and the invisible world, encouraging us to become agents of transformation and change. Our time together will be celebrating the rich Irish traditions of conversation, poetry and music, with John's close friends and family.

We will be joined by guest speakers: President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins, Dan Siegel, M.D. and Ellen Wingard.

See biographies below for Dr. Dan Siegel and Ellen Wingard.

All Symposium Events will be held at the beautiful Falls Hotel and Spa, in Ennistymon, County Clare, Ireland:

  • Thursday, July 5, 2018

  • 3:00 - 6:00 Symposium Check-In
  • 6:00 - 7:30 Wine and Cheese Reception on the Terrace
  • 7:30 Evening Concert & Opening Address by
    President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins
    Featuring John's nephew and niece, Peter and Katie O'Donohue
  • Friday, July 6, 2018

  • 9:00 - 5:00 Conference
  • 7:30 Celebration of Irish Music:
    Featuring Sean Tyrrell, Luka Bloom and Blackie O'Connell Trio
  • Saturday, July 7, 2018

  • 9:00 - 5:00 Conference

Symposium ticket includes all conference activities and the following: wine and cheese reception, buffet lunches (special diet requests accommodated) morning/afternoon tea and coffee. Lodging is not included and the responsibility of the ticket holder to make arrangements.

Lodging and Transportation:

The Falls Hotel and Spa has rooms held at special pricing for Symposium guests. Please contact the hotel directly to make reservations: Numerous additional lodging options are available in the surrounding area with Lahinch, Doolin and Ennis in close proximity. We encourage making lodging reservations immediately to ensure availability. The closest airport to Ennistymon is the Shannon International Airport, with ground transportation options available.


dan200Dan Siegel, M.D.

As a scientist and physician, my own mind was lit up with a spark of connection with John, ignited by our contrasts, and joined by the integration emerging in our mutual interests in exploring the nature of reality. John and I were working on a living bridge linking science and mysticism, finding common ground in the poetic study of the soul and the empirical explorations of the mind and brain. John’s insights into the nature of the invisible world, what he would call the “mystical,” resonated powerfully in new ways with the emerging science on the deep nature of reality—of our brains, our bodies, our minds, and our relationships with people and the planet. John’s work was grounded in contemplative and scholarly study and we discovered it to be consistent with rigorous cutting-edge research. His insights continue to inspire me each day, as they may do for so many, old and new to his life’s work, through John’s powerful presence on the visible page and audible recording, opening a window to awaken us to a deeper, more joyful, and meaningful life filled by the "surprise of its own unfolding."

Daniel J. Siegel received his medical degree from Harvard University and completed his postgraduate medical education at UCLA with training in pediatrics and child, adolescent and adult psychiatry. He served as a National Institute of Mental Health Research Fellow at UCLA, studying family interactions with an emphasis on how attachment experiences influence emotions, behavior, autobiographical memory, and narrative.

Dr. Siegel is a clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA. An award-winning educator, he is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and recipient of several honorary fellowships. Dr. Siegel is also the Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, an educational organization, which offers online learning and in-person seminars that focus on how the development of mindsight in individuals, families, and communities can be enhanced by examining the interface of human relationships and basic biological processes. His psychotherapy practice includes children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. He serves as the Medical Director of the Lifespan Learning Institute and on the Advisory Board of the Blue School in New York City, which has built its curriculum around Dr. Siegel’s Mindsight approach.

Dr. Siegel has published extensively for the professional audience. He is the author of numerous articles, chapters, and the internationally acclaimed text, The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are (2nd. Ed., Guilford, 2012). This book introduces the field of interpersonal neurobiology and has been utilized by a number of clinical and research organizations worldwide. Dr. Siegel serves as the Founding Editor for the Norton Professional Series on Interpersonal Neurobiology which contains over sixty textbooks. The Mindful Brain: Reflection and Attunement in the Cultivation of Well-Being (Norton, 2007) explore the nature of mindful awareness as a process that harnesses the social circuitry of the brain as it promotes mental, physical, and health. The Mindful Therapist: A Clinician's Guide to Mindsight and Neural Integration (Norton, 2010), explores the application of focusing techniques for the clinician’s own development, as well as their clients' development of mindsight and neural integration. Pocket Guide to Interpersonal Neurobiology: An Integrative Handbook of the Mind (Norton, 2012), explores how to apply the interpersonal neurobiology approach to developing a healthy mind, an integrated brain, and empathic relationships.

The New York Times bestseller Mind: A Journey to the Heart of Being Human (Norton, 2016) offers a deep exploration of our mental lives as they emerge from the body and our relations to each other and the world around us. His upcoming book Aware: The Science and Practice of Presence (Tarcher/Perigee, August 2018) will provide practical instruction for mastering the Wheel of Awareness, a life-changing tool for cultivating more focus, presence, and peace in one's day-to-day life. Dr. Siegel's publications for professionals and the public have been translated into over forty languages. Dr. Siegel’s book, Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation (Bantam, 2010), offers the general reader an in-depth exploration of the power of the mind to integrate the brain and promote well-being.

He has written five parenting books, including the three New York Times bestsellers Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain (Tarcher/Penguin, 2014); The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (Random House, 2011) and No-Drama Discipline: The Whole-Brain Way to Calm the Chaos and Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind (Bantam, 2014), both with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Child (Bantam, 2018) also with Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., and Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children Who Thrive (Tarcher/Penguin, 2003) with Mary Hartzell, M.Ed.

Dr. Siegel's unique ability to make complicated scientific concepts exciting and accessible has led him to be invited to address diverse local, national and international groups including mental professionals, neuroscientists, corporate leaders, educators, parents, public administrators, care providers, policy-makers, mediators, judges, and clergy. He has lectured for the King of Thailand, Pope John Paul II, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Google University, and London's Royal Society of Arts (RSA). He lives in Southern California with his family.

EW2018200Ellen Wingard

Ellen Wingard consults to leaders from Fortune 100 companies, government, social enterprise, academic and non-profits who seek to connect “soul to role” in making a significant impact in their organizations and society. Ellen began as an early innovator in the leadership development field, linking mindfulness to presence-based coaching practices in the early 1980s, expanding her practice in the 1990s to address gender disparities through global women’s empowerment and evolving in the past 20 years to address gender, privilege, and race bias in the workplace.

Throughout her career, Ellen has been a key contributor to transformational practices that elevate a leader’s sense of purpose to positively disrupt “business as usual” of top-down, patriarchal practices to create workplace communities that foster shared purpose through a sense of belonging and imaginative freedom to invent and create solutions. Currently, Ellen works to build multi-stakeholder collaborations of “leader coalitions of the willing” who see their leadership as a sacred calling to address social injustice, gender/race inequities and environmental degradation as urgent and critical issues.

From 1994 to 2003, Ellen was fortunate to bring John O’Donohue into numerous workplace environments at Harvard Medical School, the Museum of Science, the International Coaching & Mentoring Conference, Linkage Inc. and multiple financial service institutions to address the responsibility of leadership as a sacred calling.

Ellen is currently a member of the Executive Coaching pool at the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program. She serves as Board Chair Emeritus of World Pulse, a digital media channel linking 60,000 grassroots global leaders in 190 countries. Ellen is also a board member of Auburn Seminary, a leadership development center dedicated to preparing the next generation of social justice leaders.

A graduate of Boston University and Antioch University, Ellen has extensive post-graduate training in systems thinking, mindfulness practice, culture change, team development, and executive assessment. Ellen received certification from the Harvard Negotiation Project in mediation. She is the coauthor of Strengthening Leadership Skills Through Coaching in Culture Shift, AHA, 1997, co-editor of the Jossey-Bass book Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, released in April 2005 and the forthcoming The Global Coach, 2018.

Join the O'Donohue family and John's close friends for an intimate journey of the landscapes and people that formed him, later to deeply influence the world through his writings. We will return to the mythic lands of the Burren and venture to the pilgrim paths of the Aran Islands, tracing John’s steps and weaving his words throughout our days. From the sacred thresholds of ancient ruined chapels and holy wells to meandering the pastoral green roads, our pilgrimage together will be spent at the ‘Hearth of the Soul’ immersed in the ethereal landscape of County Clare, the ancestral home of the O'Donohue family.

Ireland is an ancient island where many worlds intermingle. For anyone awakening to the spiritual world, a visit to Ireland can be a life-transforming event. It is a land of spirit glimpsing the invisible world. The Irish spiritual tradition trusted the invisible world to harvest the wisdom to guide, shelter and nourish. The eye of the invisible world sees more deeply and clearly than we can. In these frightened and empty times of stress, anxiety, and confusion, we need to turn aside from our crowded lives and become still. We need to learn how to anchor the frenetic self in the tranquility of the invisible world. Then we will begin to discover fresh wells, new landscapes and exciting invitations of transformation of spirit. Forsaken spaces will gradually transform into new pastures. We will find new courage of hope and rekindle that which has grown cold within us. This sacred journey will long linger in the memory of the heart.

"My earliest memories are of the landscape of the Burren in the West of Ireland. The Burren is an ancient kingdom of limestone sculptures carved slowly by rain, wind and time. It is an ancient conversation between the land and the sea."


Our days will be a balanced blend of engaging the mind and body, spirit and soul, looking through the lens John came to know well as a trusted interior companion excavating the themes of Awakening, Transfiguration and Homecoming. Come join us at the edge where there is an ancient conversation between the land and the sea…we look forward to welcoming you!


In order to gather a balanced group of approximately 25 people on the tour, we will be accepting applications until February 15, 2020 and notifying via email by March 1, 2020.

Tour Application

Upon acceptance, additional registration materials and the first payment will be due immediately.

Please contact Ann Cahill with any questions: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Our warm greetings with appreciation for your interest in John O'Donohue's work and the public events we are hosting.

We have just announced our week-long Irish tour in September 2020.

We were thrilled to welcome 400 international guests to our 2018 O'Donohue Symposium in Ireland! Shortly, we will be announcing our next symposium, April 24-26, 2020, in John's beloved County Clare.

And finally, deeply grateful for the warm reception for John's latest book, Walking in Wonder: Eternal Wisdom for a Modern World - more information here.

Abundant blessings on behalf of the O'Donohue family,

Ann Cahill
Director, John O'Donohue Literary Estate