In recent years there have been a number of books that have focussed on the
emerging religious diversity of Ireland. Skuces book makes a very
significant contribution to this growing body of work. The book includes a
small section of the Bahá'í Faith.
The section on the Bahá'í Faith is dominated by a fascinating
account of the life of Hand of the Cause, George Townshend. It goes on to give
a good (though brief) overview of the history of the Faith in Ireland. It is
particularly interesting for the way that it captures some of the key events
and activities in the Bahá'í community during the first century
of the Faith in Ireland. The author notes that:
Bahá'ís are noted for their promotion of peace
and have made a small but significant contribution during the conflict in
Northern Ireland. During the Opsahl Commission [in advance of the cease-fires]
twelve Bahá'í groups or individuals made submissions.
Other key activities that it lists include the George Townshend
Bahá'í School, developed by Castlereagh Spiritual Assembly, the
work of Bahá'ís in Magherafelt, Enniskillen and Dungannon to
develop integrated schools, the Inter-national Conference in Dublin in 1982
which it describes as
one of the very few occasions when a world
event for a faith community has been held in Ireland, the award of a
Quaypin to the Bahá'í community in Londonderry by the
Mayor of Derry in 2001 and the attendance of President Mary McAleese at the
event to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of Dublin Spiritual
Assembly in 1998.
In addition to the section of the Bahá'í Faith the book also
contains good sections on other faith communities giving a fascinating insight
into the religious diversity of Ireland during the twentieth century.
Skuce, S. The Faiths of Ireland, published by The Columba Press,
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