Secular Sunday #2 – Get Your Diaries Ready

Hello and welcome to the second issue of Secular Sunday, the weekly newsletter of Atheist Ireland.

We’ve had a lot of positive feedback about our first issue. Thanks to all those who provided encouragement, suggestions and offers of help.

In this issue:

  • Atheist Ireland News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Around the Web

Atheist Ireland News

  • We have two new committee members:
    • June Caldwell, our new press officer.
      June has has written for the Guardian, the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Sunday Business Post, the Sunday Independent and many magazines. She co-wrote the book In Love with a Mad Dog with Jackie Robinson, who was the lover of the UDA’s Johnny Adair. She has also edited the Irish Writers Centre blog and organised training courses there for writers.
    • Derek Walsh (that’s me!), our new membership officer and editor of Secular Sunday.
      I’ve been involved with Atheist Ireland for almost three years, have written for the website and helped administer the Facebook and Twitter accounts. I’ve also assisted in the organising of various events and have spoken at a Dublin Atheists in the Pub event about online activism and my background as a former Jehovah’s Witness.
  • The responses to the Interim Report of the Forum on Patronage and Pluralism in Primary Schools are now available on the Department of Education’s website. Atheist Ireland’s response is available here.
  • As of this week, we have over 2,500 likes on our Facebook page and almost the same number of followers on our Twitter account. If you do social media at all, they’re the best ways to get the latest news. We also have over 1,600 subscribers to our YouTube channel which has almost 100 videos uploaded.

Upcoming Events

  • Wednesday, 11 January, University College Cork
    Michael Nugent will be debating at the UCC Law Society with Dr Marie Keenan on the motion “That this house would refuse to confess”. We’ll publish further details on our website before Wednesday, or you can contact
    If you live in Cork, and are interested in helping to start a local Atheist Ireland group in Cork you may like to have an informal chat before or after the debate with Michael and Jon Pierson from the Atheist Ireland Committee. If so, please email us at and we will arrange it.
  • Thursday 19 January, MacTurcaill’s, Dublin
    Dublin Atheists in the Pub is a monthly event for members of Atheist Ireland and anyone else who’s interested to meet up and socialise. There’s usually a speaker on a relevant topic. Full details of this month’s event will be in next week’s newsletter.
  • Saturday 28 January (tentative), Dublin
    Dublin Skeptics in the Pub is a similar event organised by the Dublin Skeptics. They meet once a month for drinking and skeptical socialising. Check out their Facebook page for details.
  • Sunday 29 January, Dublin (venue to be arranged)
    “Is Anything Sacred?” A public discussion of Irish and international blasphemy laws, organised by Atheist Ireland. We are pleased to present as our speakers two world-class experts on blasphemy law: Austin Dacey, Ph.D. from New York, who represents the International Humanist and Ethical Union at the United Nations; and Professor David Nash of Oxford Brookes University in England, who is working with Atheist Ireland on our campaign to repeal the Irish blasphemy law.
  • Sunday 5 February, Buswells Hotel, Dublin
    The Humanist Association of Ireland meets at 4pm on the first Sunday of every month. Next month the meeting will be a tribute to and discussion about the late Christopher Hitchens. Further details will be provided closer to the date.
  • 25-27 May, Cologne, Germany
    European Atheist Convention hosted by IBKA and Atheist Alliance International. Speakers include PZ Myers, Annie Laurie Gaylor, Dan Barker, Taslima Nasrin, Michael Nugent and Rebecca Watson. Tickets available now
    The new restructured Atheist Alliance International, which was founded at the World Atheist Convention in Dublin last year, will also be hosting three other regional conventions this year, in Melbourne Australia on 13-25 April, in Manila, Philippines on 21 April; and in Kamloops, Canada on 18-20 May. More details

Around the Web

  • “Women. They are a complete mystery.” — Physicist Stephen Hawking celebrates his 70th birthday today. New Scientist Special
  • “I have often been asked if Christopher defended me because he was my close friend. The truth is that he became my close friend because he wanted to defend me.” — Salman Rushdie’s personal tribute to his friend, the late great Christopher Hitchens
  • “One Valentine’s day a friend dipped his spoon into a bowl of soup and found unexpected resistance. On further investigation he discovered a half-eaten bread roll lurking beneath the broth.” — Geoff reads and reviews Stephen C. Meyer’s Creationist book Signature in the Cell so you don’t have to. (Part 1, Part 2)
  • Dublin Skeptic Rebecca O’Neill is on the Birmingham Skeptics’ podcast this week talking about about science, skepticism and religion in Ireland.

If you write an atheist blog, or do a podcast or just know of any events that might interest our members, drop us a line at and we’ll get the word out. Similarly, if you want to help out in any way and think you can be of some assistance, let us know.

Until next time, stay safe and stay secular.

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland

Secular Sunday


  1. Avatar
    paolovf January 10, 2012

    One thing I found very useful last year was the livestreaming of debates and seminars.

    For example, I could only catch the Eoin Daly talk on the net as I couldn’t attend the event ( it is now up on Youtube). There is a live chat box which allows you to communicate with a few people at the event and others watching the livestream.

    I recommend to anyone who can’t attend but would like to view.