Ionbha : The Empathy Book for Ireland

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Ionbha or empathy is a core element of wisdom and a universal language of the soul. It brings joy to the everyday, making the unbearable bearable. "We need empathy in schools just as we need empathy in the world right now" - Cillian Murphy, Actor and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre.

The wide range of contributions to the publication Ionbha act like a compass, guiding us on things that really matter in life. Reflections on empathy illuminate its healing properties, vividly opening our eyes to the countless ways in which its power can shape us all. This collection shows that no matter how big or small, empathetic actions have a massive impact. Although we rarely appreciate how these actions affect people and their communities, they often reverberate long after we act.

72 contributors include Michael D. Higgins, Hozier, Tolu Makay, The Edge, Rachael Blackmore, Blindboy Boatclub, Mary Coughlan, Clodagh Finn, Katy Hyland, Imelda May, Brendan O'Connor, Louise O'Neill, Valery Biden Owens.

All royalties from the sale of this book will go directly to delivering the Activating Social Empathy education programme in Irish schools and youth work organisations.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 352 pages
  • 135 x 215mm
  • Cork, Ireland
  • English
  • Edited by Cillian Murphy, Pat Dolan, Gillian Browne and Mark Brennan
  • Cover design by Craig Carry
  • 1781178194
  • 9781781178195
  • 6,234

Back cover copy

All of us wonder what we can do to make life better in a world that seems so complex, challenging and, at times, difficult. The essays in this book show that no matter how big or small, empathetic actions have massive impacts. We rarely know how these affect people and communities, but they reverberate long after we act.

Empathetic people are happier and get more enjoyment out of life. They show greater resilience to mental illness and stress and have better physical health. As well as aiding the good stuff, empathy helps prevent the bad stuff. It is a core element of wisdom and the universal language of the soul, bringing joy to the everyday and making the unbearable bearable.

The wide range of contributors to Ionbhá acts like a compass to guide us on what truly matters in life. Their reflections on empathy illuminate the healing power of empathy and vividly open our eyes to the countless ways in which empathy shapes all of us.
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Table of contents

Acknowledgements 10
The Trick Seems to be to Work on it - Cillian Murphy 12
Unpacking Empathy - Charlotte Silke and
Bernadine Brady 16
Brothers - Michael D. Higgins 20
The Talker - Rory O'Neill 26
Seeing Through the Eyes of Another - Pamela Joyce 29
Sausage Poisoning - Blindboyboatclub 32
Empathy - Michael Kerin 37
Thoughts on Empathy's Place in Music - Hozier 41
Toss the Bobbin - Nicola Joyce 46
Empathy in Music Therapy - Rebecca O'Connor 51
Don't Murray, Be Happy! - Cathal Murray 54
My Essay on Empathy - Tolu Makay 58
The Light in Somebody Else's Storm - Lynda Peilow 61
Too Sensitive - Louise O'Neill 65
Empathy Checkpoint - Martina Venneman 69
Showing Empathy to Youth - Gary Nugent 73
A Traveller's Perspective - Martin McDonagh 76
Empathy through Food - Michelle Darmody 80
Reflections on Empathy and Sport - Eamonn O'Shea 83
Stepping in the Stirrups of Others - Rachael Blackmore 87
Empathy isn't Black and White - Joanne O'Riordan 89
Nursing - in the Blink of an Eye - Marie Lohan 92
Empathy from My Mother - Sean Campbell 95
Served with Compassion - Niamh Condon 98
Empathy in Journalism - Carl O'Brien 103
Green over Blue - Kiernan Forsyth 107
On the Mend - John Gaffey 110
The Person who Sees - Ailbhe Greaney 115
Empathy, Images and the Internet - Mary McGill 123
Empathy for the Devil ... and the Nuns -
Mark Brennan 126
Educating for and with Empathy - Dr Niamh Flynn
and Emer Davitt 131
YHTAPME - Roisin Hanley 138
English Class - Elaine Feeney 144
I Sure Hope the School around the Corner is
Not the Same - Pat Dolan 147
Empathy in Education - Hugh Fitzmaurice 151
It's You I Like ... The Way You Are Right Now -
Dr Dana Winters and Dr Annie White 155
A Sheep among Wolves - Aisling Duffy 159
The Music Medicine Woman - Mary Coughlan 164
Nocturne II - John Kelly 167
Savita - Kitty Holland 168
Lonely Hearths - Gillian Browne 176
Empathy for My Mother - Dermot Whelan 177
The Magic Cauldron - Susan McKeown 178
Does it Count as Empathy - Brendan O'Connor 182
Hot Wheels, Warm Heart - Tara Dawson 186
Empathy as an Act of Defiance - The Edge 189
Empathy, the Best Superpower - Rabbi Zalman Lent 191
My Power Called Empathy - Matthew
Shaw-Torkzadeh 195
Empathy as a Broader Understanding of Family -
Valerie Biden Owens 197
Empathy and the Displaced - Niamh Heery 202
Empathy across Generations - Mary Sugrue 208
Our Empathy Story - McDonough Family 211
All Lives Matter - Uchechukwu Helen Ogbu 216
Historical Empathy? - Sarah-Anne Buckley 223
Northern Dilemmas - Alan and Elaine Smith 226
A Wing-Back and a Prayer - Colin Regan 228
Closer to Home - Eoin, Roisin & Brendan Dolan 233
Who Am I to Judge? - Peter McVerry 236
Yesterday's Enemies - Saoirse Egan 239
The True Power of Sport to Really Connect - Hugo
MacNeill 245
Best Way to Human - Imelda May 251
Growing Up - Stephanie Roche 252
Radiant Empathy in the Dark - Ella Anderson 257
Empathy and Me - Ashling Dunphy 261
Broken Radios - Fiona Prine 264
Ingredients - Nevin Maguire 269
He Fell through the Cracks - Rita Ann Higgins 273
Citylink Tales - Catherine Denning 275
Thinking in Plastic - Ciara-Beth Ni Ghriofa 277
Courageous Conversations - Ben Hughes 281
My Understanding of Empathy - Timmy Long 291
Empathy to Me - James Leonard 292
Empathy can Heal our Troubled World - Shaykh
Dr Umar Al-Qadri 294
Empathy Sa Chistin - Hume Family 298
Empathy - A True Champion of the West - Hannick
Family 303
Managers of Empathy - Paul McGrath 308
Mary Elmes - Clodagh Finn 311
Finding Empathy - Eamonn Fitzgerald 316
Ciorcal Iomlan - Kathy Hyland 325
Luck - Louis de Paor 328
No Idea what will Happen Next - Tiernan Henry 332
Reflections on Learning Empathy - Mark Brennan
and Pat Dolan 336
Contributors' Biographies 346
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About Cillian Murphy

Actor and Patron of the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre Galway
Irish actor Cillian Murphy works closely with the UNESCO Child and Family Research in NUI Galway with Professor Pat Dolan and Gillian Browne. They are committed to ensuring that education on empathy is provided at all levels. Professor Mark Brennan is UNESCO Chair for Community, Leadership, and Youth Development at Pennsylvania State University.
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