Instead of a remote, isolated place, evidence suggests ancient Ireland was part of an active maritime trade route, up and down the Atlantic coast. The sea, at the time, was seen not as a barrier but as a corridor for trade, communication and ideas – easier, faster and more economical to negotiate, than overland routes.
This made Ireland more ‘central’ and accessible than it is today (an island, off an island, off Europe). Its west coast & islands formed part of a continuous marine culture along the Atlantic fringe, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. Sea-going people living on the ‘edge’ of Ireland, had greater cultural affinity and contact with others along the Atlantic seaboard, than with those further inland. This resulted in shared maritime heritage, language and religious beliefs.
Set against this backdrop, Alf Monaghan’s illustrated talk traces the origin of Pre-Christian eastern religions and their impact on Ireland, leading to the influence of Egyptian Christianity on the early Irish Church. It’s the ‘backstory’ to his earlier talk; ‘Monastic Ireland – A Gift Of The Nile’.
The lecture will be delivered in the Family Resource Centre, Abbey Street, Ballina at 8pm on Thursday 27th April.
Admission is free to members of the North Mayo West Sligo Heritage Group, however non-members are requested to make a small donation on the night to offset costs.
Alf Monaghan, from Carrick-on-Shannon, has spent most of his life abroad.
For 30 years he has worked as an Economic Advisor to governments and development agencies in; Northern Europe, Central America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South & West Africa. Recently based in the Middle East he has spent more than 10 years living and working between Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan and Egypt.
Always interested in history, his time in Syria and Egypt, sparked off a deeper interest in the influence of the Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa on early Irish religion – much of which is now ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’.