How the Irish civilized England

From the Catholic Herald Christmas edition Monasticism had begun in the deserts of Egypt under St Anthony, but after the practice spread west and was popularised by Benedict of Nursia it was keenly taken up by the Irish. Like the Egyptians, they found plenty of harsh, unforgiving places where they could get closer to God. Nowhere was more unforgiving than Skellig Michael. The monastery there was founded before the 8th century and at some time became associated with… Read on

From man’s sweat and God’s love, beer came into the world

I’m in The Field magazine this month, writing on the subject of saints of the countryside. As Christmas approaches we all find ourselves drawn into a more traditional way of life informed by religion, whether we like it or not. It is not just that we are brought together with our extended families, or that many non-believers will attend church as a nod to their ancestors. It is that, for the only real time of the year, our… Read on