This collection of Irish prayers has been drawn from many sources. Some are simple prayers composed by the people for their daily use. Others are more sophisticated, the work of poets and theologians. All of them have the deep faith and the closeness to nature and to everyday human life that are characteristics of Irish spirituality. Each of the prayers is provided with an English translation on the facing page. These translations do not aim at literary polish but at faithfully rendering the Irish way of speaking and thinking. This should help those with a limited knowledge of Irhs to understand the original versions and to use them as prayers. At the same time, it should make it possible for those with no knowledge of the language to enter in to the unique world of Celtic Christianity, stretching from the time of St Patrick to our own day. These are not prayers for reading. They are prayers for praying.
Born in 1927 in An Daingean, Co. Kerry, Pádraig Ó Fiannachta is a prolific writer and publisher, directing the work of the publishing company An Sagart. Since retiring from his Professorship in Modern Irish at Maynooth University in 1994, he has served as parish priest in Glenflesk and then in An Daingean. He died in July 2016. Desmond Forristal was the former parish priest of Dalkey, Co Dublin, before his retirement in 2001. He was educated by the Christian Brothers at O’Connell Schools and by the Jesuits at Belvedere College. While at Belvedere, he received the George Dempsey memorial prize in 1948 for an essay he had submitted. He later moved on to study philosophy in UCD and theology at Holy Cross. He earned his PhD in 1956, a year after he entered the priesthood. He died in September 2012.