ChairpersonThis Society exists to give back to the Camino.   This is our privilege, our purpose, and our pleasure. We give back. We don’t watch to see what others are giving back.  

We just give back.

One of our ways of giving back is to identify the Camino as a Meitheal and to organize as a Meitheal.  Now, co-operative labour systems, like the Meitheal, exist all over the world and have been observed, for example in contemporary African, Asian, and South American communities.   Communities all over the world are able to work together without hierarchies, without command and control, without payment. People are able to come together and help each other.   

It happens day-in-day-out on the Camino.  This system is ancient and it is natural.  It is real, what you see on the Camino. It works.   It has always worked. Have confidence in it. And since modern culture has so lost touch with it not to know what to call it, then take our word for it:   Meitheal.  

Or instead, or in addition, take the word from another tradition on our Island which is equally beautiful:   neighbouring.

DSWSo, wherever you are, or whenever you lose faith in the capacity of people simply to relate to each other as equals – as brothers and sisters – remember those capacities are so strong that we have names for them:   meitheal and neighbouring.   Remember what you saw on the Camino.

But what explains that great sense of loss on leaving the Camino?   Why is it that for days and weeks afterwards that you wonder how your old companions of the Road are getting on?   

Ask the wild geese.

They operate a meitheal, working more efficiently together than if flying alone.  They work without hierarchies, leadership is taken but only for a while, then there is a falling back, a resting as another takes the leaders place.   

They are both individuals and one flock.   

Something like that happens on the Camino.

It’s time to rest now.   This has been a very busy year for Camino Society Ireland clg.   

Over the winter is the time for goal-setting, strategizing, and conversing.

Turlough O’Donnell