This is an amazing collection of daily readings. I almost think the title could be something like, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Ireland.”
Bell gives an interesting entry for each day of the year and then a short lesson from it. One might read about a legend or a historical fact. He sometimes writes about people or places. He includes some poetry and short biographies of Irish poets. One of his favorites is Seamus Heaney but he also includes works from Yeats, Oscar Wilde, and others. There are stories of heroes like Robert the Bruce and spiritual figures like Saint Patrick.
I learned about the making of Irish linen and the origin of the Gregg Shorthand System. At times he describes buildings or beautiful locations he has seen on his hikes. He includes explanations of customs, experiences with food and celebrations.
I read about Hounds, Leprechauns, Faeries and Banshees, and then read his lesson on living life from the perspective of God, not from a perspective of superstitious fear. Sometimes his lessons are about a Christian insight while other times they reflect common sense or promote courteous behavior. At times he gives something as simple as a word of encouragement.
An added bonus are the beautiful photographs that are found at the beginning and end of the book, as well as before each collection of monthly readings. They are gorgeous!
Bell wanted to leave a legacy so created this collection of readings from his 25 trips to Ireland over 45 years. Some entries are serious while others are whimsical. They cover all areas in Eire and in Northern Ireland, from wild Donegal to the ethereal southern coast, from the tiniest villages to Dublin and Belfast. The content can be enjoyed by anyone of any background, even though Christian faith is the foundation of the lessons.
You can find out more about the book and watch a book trailer here.
J. Craig Bell was born of Scottish descent but when he married into a Northern Irish family, his focus changed. Bell is semi-retired and teaches English in Vancouver. He and his wife live in Tsawwassen, BC,and have two daughters, both married to men of Irish descent.
Xulon Press, 435 pages. You can buy a copy here.
I received a complimentary digital copy of this book from the author for the purpose of an independent and honest review.