A Hut at the Edge of the Village: never preachy, deeply moral

Book review: John Moriarty’s musings on life real and imagined skilfully edited by Martin Shaw

John Moriarty: ‘every inch the travelling bard’. Photograph:  Don MacMonagle

John Moriarty: ‘every inch the travelling bard’. Photograph: Don MacMonagle

Everyone says learning history is important, but is mythology more vital still? While historical knowledge is used today to rekindle old grievances and inflame new generations with past anger, myth is more generous and fluid with the facts. There are no pure winners in mythology. All the heroes are flawed, and all human plans must surrender to a higher power – be it god, or nature or the spirit world. 

John Moriarty dealt in mythology. By Zeus, he even looked the part! Sporting a wild mop of hair and never stating the obvious when the esoteric would do, he was every inch the travelling bard. Admittedly, he rarely strayed far from his native Kerry in his later years except to visit Dublin for chemotherapy to treat the cancer that would claim his life on June 1st, 2007. He was 69. 

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