About John Moriarty

 John Moriarty sitting by a window reading a book

The Life of John Moriarty

Sketch drawing of John Moriarty by Professor Nathan Lewis, Sacred Heart University

Sketch of John Moriarty 
by Nathan Lewis

John Moriarty (1938-2007) was an Irish writer, poet, and philosopher who left a remarkable body of ideas to unravel and reflect upon. Born in County Kerry into a farming family, Moriarty’s post-secondary education was at University College Dublin where he received a double first-class honours degree in philosophy and logic. His adventurous spirit took him to the University of Manitoba, Canada, where he lectured on the western literary canon. After six years he returned to Ireland, but desired to seek a more reflective life; he became a live-in gardener at the Carmelite friary at Boars Hill, Oxford. This experience brought him closer to his goal of studying the human condition and the need to get in touch with the natural environment. Gardening allowed Moriarty to exercise his deep spirituality. The Carmelite friary was the locus for both a breakdown and a breakthrough; he experienced the “dark night of the soul” and he began the promethean task of ‘falling back into his story’. In the 1970s he lived again in Ireland to work as a gardener in Connemara, where he experienced bog land, native forests, and rough coastal shores, an environment shaped through time rather than by human interference. In 1985 he was discovered by Andy O'Mahony of RTE Radio 1, who introduced John by saying: "My guest tonight is the most remarkable person I have ever met." John also hosted the radio discussion programme, The Blackbird and the Bell, for RTE and lectured widely, using his extensive knowledge of mythology and religion to enliven his talks with entrancing storytelling. In 2002 his dream of establishing a Christian monastic hedge school began to unfold when he purchased land near Kilgarvan, County Kerry. He called it Sli na Firinne, which translated means the ‘path of truth’, yet this distinctive Irish phrase is used for someone who has died, and it means they have set out on the adventure of their immortality.  

Books by John Moriarty

  • Dreamtime. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1994 - revised 1999.
  • Turtle Was Gone a Long Time: Crossing the Kedron. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1996.
  • Horsehead Nebula Neighing. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 1997.
  • Anaconda Canoe. Dublin: The Lilliput Press 1999
  • Nostos (autobiography). Dublin: The Lilliput Press 2001.
  • Invoking Ireland: Ailiu Iath n-hErend. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2005.
  • Slí na Fírinne. Slí na Fírinne Publishing, 2006.
  • Night Journey to Buddh Gaia. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2006.
  • Serious Sounds. Slí na Fírinne Publishing, 2006.
  • Urbi et Orbi. Slí na Fírinne Publishing, 2006.
  • What The Curlew Said (Notros continued). Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2007.
  • One Evening in Eden. Dublin: The Lilliput Press, 2007. CD box set containing a collection of stories narrated by Moriarty


See also A Moriarty Reader. Edited by Brendan O'Donoghue. 490 pages. The Lilliput Press, 2013.