TALK: A Sacred Island Before Christianity - 28 November 2018 - Visit North Mayo

Photo: Paul Doran

The ever-active North Mayo West Sligo Heritage Group is holding their next talk entitled ‘A Sacred Island Before Christianity’ in Ballina Family Resource Centre, Abbey Street, Ballina on Wednesday, 28th November at 8pm. The talk will be delivered by local historian, Alf Monaghan.

About the event

The impression that Ireland was a remote, isolated place in antiquity is outdated. Latest evidence suggests it was part of an active trade network along Atlantic-Mediterranean seaways. During the Neolithic and Bronze ages, the sea was a corridor for trade, communication, ideas and beliefs – easier, faster and more economical than overland routes.

In reality this made ancient Ireland ‘central and accessible’ – its west coast and islands part of a continuous maritime corridor, from the Mediterranean to Scandinavia. Seagoing Irish had intense cultural affinity and contact with other communities along this long seaboard. The result was shared maritime heritage, language and religious beliefs.

Against this backdrop, Alf Monaghan traces the origin and spread of Pre-Christian eastern religious beliefs to Ireland, and their impact here. In this context too, the influence of Egyptian Christianity on the early Irish Church is easily understood.

This fascinating talk, ‘A Sacred Island Before Christianity’, is an intriguing ‘backstory’ to his earlier presentation ‘Monastic Ireland – A Gift of the Nile!’

The North Mayo West Sligo Heritage Group promote awareness, appreciation, and protection of our heritage and holds monthly lectures between October and April.


Alf Monaghan                                                     


Alf, who was born in Mayo and grew up around Enniscrone, has spent most of his life abroad.

He has worked as an Economic Adviser to governments and development agencies in Northern Europe, Central America, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, South and West Africa.

His years in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Cyprus, Jordan and Egypt have triggered a deeper interest in the origins of belief and religion.

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