CommuNIqué - Newsletter of the Bahá'í Community in Northern Ireland
Issue 123 - 9 Qawl 163 BE - 1 December 2006 CE




The Faiths of Ireland by Stephen Skuce

In recent years there have been a number of books that have focussed on the emerging religious diversity of Ireland. Skuce’s 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, Dublin, 2006.