Secular Sunday #3 – Get involved

It’s time for what you’ve been waiting for all week: the latest issue of Secular Sunday!

In this issue:

  • News
  • Upcoming Events
  • Homegrown Talent


  • Helen O’Shea has joined the Atheist Ireland committee as website coordinator. She will be managing content on our website and moderating our online discussion forum. Helen has a background in maths and marketing, is currently a full-time mother and is studying part-time for a degree in psychology. A founding member of Atheist Ireland, she has been an active and valued participant on the forum since way back in 2007 and has been a moderator since 2009.
  • On Wednesday, some members in Cork met with Michael Nugent and Jon Pierson to set up a new Atheist Ireland Cork group. This group will lobby Cork politicians, monitor Cork media, and arrange events in Cork. If you would like to get involved, please email
    If you’re based elsewhere in the country and are interested in setting up or getting involved a local group, let us know and we’ll provide advice and assistance.
  • On Thursday BBC Northern Ireland broadcast a radio news report titled “Sacred or secular? The battle for the soul of modern Ireland”. It included opinions from Michael Nugent, Ivana Bacik, David Quinn and Vincent Twomey. You can read the print version of the report here.
  • Journalist Mary Raftery died on Tuesday, following a battle with ovarian cancer. She was probably best known for her work in exposing the abuse suffered by children in state and church-run institutions, work that eventually led to the Ryan and Murphy reports. A courageous and tireless fighter for truth, she will be sadly missed.  Obituaries from The Irish IndependentThe Irish Times and RTÉ.

Upcoming events

  • Thursday 19 January, 7:30 pm – closing time, MacTurcaill’s, Dublin 2 (map)
    Dublin Atheists in the Pub. No speaker this month, so come along for some stimulating conversation and cheap drink. Facebook page.
  • Wednesday 25 January (tentative), Galway
    Michael Nugent may be speaking in Galway on this date. If he is, and if you live in Galway, and are interested in helping to start a local Atheist Ireland group in Galway, you may like to have an informal chat before or after the debate with Michael and Jon Pierson from the Atheist Ireland Committee. Please email us at and we can arrange it.
  • Sunday 29 January, 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, O’Callaghan Alexander Hotel, Dublin
 2 (map)
    “Is Anything Sacred?” Austin Dacey PhD and Professor David Nash will be speaking at a public discussion of Irish and international blasphemy laws. Facebook page.
    Through the wonders of modern technology this event will be live streamed so if you can’t make it in person you can still get involved. (If you haven’t used Ustream before, it’s a good idea to go to the site early to make sure your computer is set up correctly to watch streaming videos.)

See last week’s issue for details of more events taking place in the coming weeks and months. We’ll keep posting news and reminders of future events, and remember, if you know of a relevant event, drop us a line and we’ll include it.

Homegrown Talent

Here are a few recent choice posts from Irish bloggers. If you know of a blog or podcast that you think might be of interest to our readers, let us know and we may feature it in future issues.

  • “Our tour starts on Grafton Street where, if you’re lucky, we’ll spot one or more Hare Krishnas. Normally dressed in distinctive orange or white flowing robes with incomplete headshaves, they can be hard to spot when they work the streets.” – After being mentioned here last week, Geoff explains to new readers what his blog is all about and gives us a guided tour of Dublin’s street preachers.
  • “I have come across many who are deeply religious and who use this as the backdrop for living exemplary lives. These tend to be the religious people who do not attempt to persuade me to their way of thinking, and I’m more than happy to recognise that theirs is the solution to life’s complexity that works for them.” – Seamus McKenna on religion, certainty and Christopher Hitchens.
  • “Having spent the past few years studying museums (and by extension society) I would argue that the ideals of skepticism can and should be applied to all aspects of human endeavour.” – Rebecca from Skeptic Ireland on The Skeptical Humanities
  • “Rumour, it’s said, can be halfway round the world before Truth has got its boots on. Rarely does that adage seem more apt than in the world of religious journalism.” – Definitely not an atheist blog, the Thirsty Gargoyle discusses misleading reporting on the Pope’s recent speech.

That’s it until next Sunday. If you find yourself getting withdrawal symptoms in the meantime, you can join in the discussion on our forum, our Facebook page and group, or follow us on Twitter. And if you’re not a member of Atheist Ireland yet, consider signing up.

If you want this newsletter by email, just mail me at

I’ll leave you with an apropros quote from anthropologist Margaret Mead (1901-78):

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Take care,

Derek Walsh
Editor, Secular Sunday
Atheist Ireland

Secular Sunday

1 Comment

  1. Avatar
    aZerogodist January 19, 2012

    Great reading & love the quote.