Dermot Breen is ‘The Man with the Camino Tattoo.’ Literally.
Dermot wrote his first book ‘The Edge: Walking The Ulster Way With My Angels & Demons’ following his wife Jacqui’s death in 2015 due to cancer.
In Dermots own words:
My second book, ‘The Man with the Camino Tattoo’ was published in May this year and is based on my pilgrimage in May & June 2015.
I walked the Camino del Norte from Irun to Santiago and then from Santiago to Muxia, down to Finisterre and back to Santiago – a round trip of over 1,000 kilometres.
My book deals with the physical journey – the challenges of actually walking long distances, adjusting to life as a pilgrim, the albergues, the camaraderie, the loneliness, as well as the beauty and history of the places I passed through.
It also crucially deals with my emotional journey, as I continue to come to terms with my grief at losing my wife, Jacqui, in 2015 to ovarian cancer – my book is essentially about a search for sanctuary and follows on from my first book ‘The Edge’ about my Ulster Way walk in 2015.
Interwoven with my own story is a retelling of the legend of St James as portrayed in the thirteenth century manuscript ‘The Golden Legend’ – a remarkable tale of miracles, faith, death, treachery, courage and even a fire-breathing dragon!
The story of St. James added an important contextual element to my own story and very much complemented the spiritual aspect of my journey.
I met many pilgrims on my journey and some left a lasting impression, including Nicolas from France, who designed the Camino Tattoo of the book’s title.
However, the most significant character I encountered on my pilgrimage was a pilgrim from my home country of Ireland called Jane, who, in her own gentle way, helped me to slowly come to terms with my loss of Jacqui.
The true identity of Jane is not revealed until the end of the book, when I return to the miraculous city of Santiago for a second time – let’s just say that the revelation is in keeping with the true spirit of the Camino.
I have just completed The Ireland Way, which might be viewed as an Irish Camino – a six week trek covering the length of Ireland, a distance of almost 700 miles or 1,100km – another book in the making!
Here’s a brief synopsis of my Camino book:
“In the Summer of 2016, Dermot Breen decided to undertake a 1,000 kilometre pilgrimage along the challenging Camino del Norte and beyond in memory of his late wife, who had been cruelly taken from him fifteen months earlier by ovarian cancer.
As he carries his rucksack and great sense of loss with him along the centuries old route, he dearly hopes to achieve some sort of peace – perhaps even find a place of sanctuary. And as the land he passes through gradually reveals many of the wondrous myths and legends associated with St James, he begins to believe that miraculous events are perhaps not only confined to the past.
Through the tremendous camaraderie he experiences on his Camino, and particularly through his encounters with the enigmatic Jane, he gains a much better understanding of himself and his loss, which ultimately results in a surprising and life enhancing revelation.
Told with great honesty and passion, this is a story that reaches into the very heart of the reader and demonstrates that, even when life can seem utterly hopeless, the human spirit is a powerful force that can rescue even the most vulnerable of souls.”
You can purchase my book from Shanway Press at http://shanway.com/product/the-man-with-the-camino-tattoo/ or via Amazon. All revenue from sales is donated by the author to support cancer research.
Do you want to be around other pilgrims in a non judgemental & supportive space?
Do you want to share how it feels to return from your Camino in an environment that you will always be supported & encouraged?