This illustrated talk looks at the history of early Irish Christianity from a different perspective – a Mediterranean perspective. It provides a tantalizing glimpse under the veil of history. It asks many questions and confounds some of the accepted theories about the history of early Christianity in Ireland. It traces links with ancient Egypt, connects Irish monasticism with the desert fathers and the early Irish Church with the Coptic Church. Recent Irish discoveries such as the Fadden More Psalter – Egyptian papyrus found in an ancient book of psalms from a Tipperary bog – are clues pointing to a more substantial eastern Mediterranean influence in early Irish Christianity, than has been acknowledged to date.
Born in Castlebar, Alf Monaghan grew up near Enniscrone later moving to Carrick-on-Shannon in Leitrim. A Commerce graduate from U.C.D. he has spent most of his life working on trade and economic development abroad.
His last 10 years have been in the Middle East where he has spent time in Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt. Always interested in history, his time in Syria and Egypt in particular, sparked off a deeper interest in early Christianity and the links and influences between this area and Ireland – many of which are now ‘lost’ or ‘forgotten’.