Meet the Irish Atheist

The Irish Atheist is a child of two nations. Ireland, the nation of his birth, and America, the nation of his adoption.

He hails from Co. Galway on the west coast of Ireland in a region called the Gaeltacht. His childhood was filled with laughter, ponies (seriously), dance, music, and late-night ventures into the mountains. He grew up speaking the Irish language at home and English elsewhere. The Irish Atheist is unsure what his grandparents did in a past life to earn them such a troublesome hellion as a ward, but he’s pleased about it regardless.

The Irish Atheist also grew up in the shadow of the Troubles, which went on to shape his religious and personal philosophy early in his life.

Due to a humourous series of events involving incompetent bureacracy on both sides of the pond, the Irish Atheist was born with dual Irish and American citizenship. As a teenager, like so many of his people before him, he set off to fulfill his dream of living in tenement housing in Brooklyn, but somehow ended up in the rolling fields of Wisconsin. When he immigrated to the United States, he didn’t have to deal with visas or green cards as he already had full citizenship. That has not prevented his near deportation when unable to provide a green card on the spot, nor the congregants of various religious groups referring to him as a ‘probable illegal.’ The Irish Atheist is more amused by this than anything.

He attended a conservative Lutheran high school in Wisconsin, which was more of a culture shock for a fifteen year old man raised both Catholic and animist than any other part of the States. He went on to university in the tundra of Minnesota and holds a B.A. in History. He currently lives in Chicago.

He is fluent in five languages, most of them utterly irrelevant anywhere outside of the British Isles. He is a champion Irish dancer who was once ranked among the top in the world. He is a decent football player and prefers to play keeper, although people usually don’t let him. He’s also an avid Gaelic football fan and occasionally steps onto the pitch. He will tell you he can play rugby. Do not believe him.

He does not eat potatoes, nor is he ginger, nor does he grant wishes.


9 thoughts on “Meet the Irish Atheist

  1. Pingback: Look! I’ve been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award! | Crow Arrow, Inc.
  2. Pingback: Reflections on an Atheist’s Prayer | District of Calamity
  3. By any chance have you written a piece on those men who show up 2X2 at your doorstep wearing white shirts and black ties? I forget what religion they are called. But I think- they think- they are the only ones going to heaven. lol. I’m not an atheist but I suppose you welcome people of all faiths?

  4. Hi. My name is Shane McDermott and I’m an Illustration and Comics instructor at Memphis College of Art in Memphis, Tennessee. I’m also currently earning my MFA in Comics from California College of the Arts in a low residency program. (I’m also-also an atheist) This summer we had a course on diversity and representation in comics, and it led me to question some of the very loose connections I’ve made to Celtic culture in my thesis (an action/adventure/speculative fiction comic) titled “Seahorse” which is still in the thumbnail sketch stage. I’m doing some cursory research, and I wonder if you’d consider reading a brief description of the story, and giving me your honest thoughts on whether or not it would be appropriate to tie my seahorse thesis to Celtic culture or if it would be better to pursue another option. I’d be very interested in any other suggested reading you might have regarding appropriation of Celtic culture and history.

    • I can certainly give you my thoughts, but I can’t make any claims of authority on the subject. My knowledge of Celtic culture comes from growing up in the modern successor to Celtic culture, not academia.

      But if my opinion can contribute to your research, feel free to email me at and we can go from there.

  5. I found this by accident. Don’t know what to think. I have always wondered if my dark-skinned, black-haired cousins–my own once black, black, black hair–look as they do because some ancestor or other might have been African, or American Indian, as well as Irish immigrant, great-grand parents from the mid-19th century. Romani never entered my mind. I never could figure out why they all have Irish names back 6 generations or so, yet are not “Irish” in culture in any way. No one in either my mother’s or father’s family especially celebrated their Irish-ness, like other Irish in my mid-western city. All the ancestors were uber-Catholic, few are in my generation. We’re no longer Catholic, but not atheist either. That’s too…organized. Damn. Who are we?

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