I see there are a few wacky people left in Ireland

I’ve recently made arrangements to come speak at the University of Ireland in Galway in early February. Hooray! I’ve been looking forward to visiting Ireland for some time, so it’s going to be great.

And then I discover that not all the Irish are sane. There are crowds listening to ‘psychic’ prophets and standing in churchyards to stare at the sun until their eyeballs are all wobbly and semi-toasted, and then declaring that the fact that they can’t see straight is a miracle! From God! Hallelujah to a creator who would make a delicate energy sensor friable!

I was planning on giving a couple of serious talks, but now I’m cleverly thinking…if I just hand out ball-peen hammers to the audiences and tell them to bang themselves on the head until they see stars and angels and Jesus himself looking like Bono and singing lullabies, I’ll have a little more time to sneak out and get all touristy.

Except that the people who’d come to listen to me would probably be more critical than the ones who’d listen to a self-proclaimed ‘clairvoyant’ like Joe Coleman. Darn. Preaching reason and autonomy and rebellion from the dictates of mystical authority does have its downsides.


  1. Dugges says

    What ever you do don’t go on the Late Late Show unless you want to expose the host for being a condescending twat!!
    Be sure to give Atheist Ireland a call cause we’d love to take you out for a few pints!

  2. Bill McDaniel says

    I look forward to your talk here at the National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). I’ve been here 3.5 years (from Texas and California originally) doing research and the Irish are wonderfully insane. I think my first indication of how superstitious they are here was while I was sitting in a cancer day ward, receiving some of the most sophisticated medicine ever invented and a woman in another chair, talking about a visitor, said with all seriousness, “is he a seventh son?” At that moment I realized I was in a country where superstitions still reign.

    This was followed by a serious news article in a local paper reporting on the arrival of a renowned faith healer who would be coming to lay hands on the sick.

    Yes, Ireland with its secular government and a lot of people who have fallen away from the Catholic church is still intensely pervaded by superstition and strange beliefs…but in a very nice way! They still ring the Angeles at noon and six every day on RTE 1 radio.

    They are a very friendly and pleasant people and you’ll certainly be welcomed and I will try very hard to be in the audience for your talk.

    Of course, I come from Texas where even stranger beliefs are often held!