Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Maryam Mosque, Ballybrit
Early Celtic Christianity by Brendan Lehane
DURING LOCKDOWN, it was me, my family and a private library of hundreds of Books; many were already read, many were used for selected research.
If one is honest, the last book I considered to read was a book on early Celtic Christianity as I have spent a lifetime reading theological and philosophical books. I wanted to relax and get through this lockdown, but something kept pushing towards this book, so I decided it was best to read it and tick it off my list.
'Let us not forget once upon a time, our ancestors were migrants who contributed to this great island'
It was a very revealing book in the many lessons it taught me! One stood out, which I wish to share. It exposed our Irish Celtic history. Visitors to this island, they gave us music, art, skills, culture; they brought, iron and metal. They came from Aisa Minor and Spain; they were tall and fair warriors who colonised Ireland.
It reinforced my belief in the excellent characteristics of the Irish, a people of empathy, kindness and tolerance, our Celtic ancestors many from Eastern Europe to Iberia. So let us not forget once upon a time, our ancestors were migrants who contributed to this great island, Éire. It is a must read.
Niall Ó Brolcháin
NUIG Researcher & former politician
Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if People Mattered by EF Schumacher
SMALL IS Beautiful spawned the Green movement worldwide, forms a large part of the philosophical basis that underpins the European Union, in particular the principle of subsidiarity and the development of circular economies.
Schumacher [pictured below] was a German economist who moved to England in 1930 to avoid the rise of the Nazisy. He became a Rhodes scholar in New College Oxford, and developed the concept of using appropriate technologies for the society in which they exist. His principles suggested that economic policies, technologies, and governance must exist to serve the needs of people and not the other way around.
However he was very clear that we cannot consider the problem of technological production solved if it requires that we recklessly erode our finite natural capital and deprive future generations of its benefits. He pointed out that greed and envy demand continuous and limitless economic growth of a material kind, without proper regard for conservation, and this type of growth cannot possibly fit into a finite environment.
'One of his most enduring concepts is that we should include complex thinking in our decision making processes and not just rely on a basic silo driven approach'
He believed that economics is not an exact science but ought to be, something much greater: a branch of wisdom. One of his most enduring concepts is that we should include complex thinking in our decision making processes and not just rely on a basic silo driven approach, which has led to many of the problems we continue to have with biodiversity loss, dwindling resources, and climate chaos.
The epilogue asks, "What can I actually do?" The answer is as simple as it is disconcerting: we can, each of us, work to put our own inner house in order. The guidance we need can still be found in the traditional wisdom of mankind.
Programmer of the Galway Film Fleadh
Easy Riders, Raging Bulls by Peter Biskind
PETER BISKIND'S journey through the legendary 'New Hollywood' era remains one of my favourite non-fiction reads. At the end of the sixties, major American film studios were in disarray; the counterculture was overturning tried and tested storytelling conventions; and a new generation of filmmakers - largely under the age of 30 - were creating a new, director driven, era of American cinema.
That period would last 10 years and create groundbreaking films like Easy Rider, M*A*S*H, The Last Picture Show, The Godfather, American Graffiti, The Exorcist, Mean Streets, Chinatown, Shampoo, Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, and Nashville (one of the stars of which, Keith Carradine, will be In Conversation at this year’s online Galway Film Fleadh! ).
Among those whose stars were rising, were the likes of Steven Spielberg and George Lucas, who Biskind describes as a couple of nerds, and takes to task for giving rise to the blockbuster, with the arrival of films like Jaws and Star Wars, and consequently the downfall of this golden age.
While the history of the era is interesting and salacious enough in its own right, Biskind is an effective storyteller, presenting well researched background on famous films and filmmakers, in tandem with flavourful anecdotes from the likes of Warren Beatty to Cybill Shepherd and Margot Kidder to Hal Ashby, in their own words.
Cynically, as a book about how film flourished as counter-culture, only to give in to the worst of its own excesses, it makes for relevant industry reading every 10 years!