Sheela-na-Gig aka Jeanne Rathbone


Posted in Atheism in Ireland by sheelanagigcomedienne on October 8, 2010

SHEELA-NA-GIG is off to Ireland for a working holiday as I shall be doing two student gigs. The recently formed atheist student societies have different titles. In Cork at UCC they are the Atheist Society, in University College Dublin they are the Humanist Society but,  in Galway my Alma Mater, they are the Skeptics  Society.

I had contacted these societies because I had written an article for HUMANIST IRELAND  in response to a misogynistic piece stating that atheists are “male, well educated, between 25 and 35, sarcastic and individualistic” . Of course, I was well aware that atheist/secularist  societies are very male dominated and that was why I decided to contact the burgeoning student societies to see if this was their experience and asking what they were doing to try to address this. This is why the UCC and UCD societies invited me to gig.  But I got no reply from Galway Skeptics and wondered if this is because their committee is, indeed, all male – Niall, Patrick, Aaron, George and Shane.

As I was doing the Cork and Dublin gigs and going to be based in Galway in  between I got in touch with the NUIGalway Skeptics Society again to offer to do one for them but again no reply at all. I emailed the NUIG student magazine and the societies office to see if they could help with the mystery of the unresponsive Galway Skeptics. I said I wondered if it is ‘cos I is an old woman’.   The editor kindly reassured me that he didn’t think it was because they were sexist!

So, what is the explanation for their behaving like a masonic secret society or Opus Dei. Is their skepticism making them unable to make decisions about how to respond to emails? Are they paranoid about an inquiry from someone calling herself SHEELA-NA-GIG. Goodness knows!

I am looking forward to gigging back in Ireland especially for young, enthusiastic, energetic atheists who will go forth to challenge all the piseog and supernaturalism that abounds in Ireland and beyond.  There will be a Q&A looking at  HUMANISM V ATHEISM and GENDER in ATHEIST SOCIETIES. I will be reporting back.


7 Responses

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  1. munsterdevil said, on October 8, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    I remember taking issue with some of the things you said on Atheist Ireland and gender Jeanne, however I respected you point of view.

    On another note, I do find it a bit sad that the Galway Society never got back to you, and while I don’t believe they to be misogynist, it is a bit, well, ignorant.

    Anyhow, best of luck with the gigs back here in Ireland…

  2. Aaron Keohane said, on October 13, 2010 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Jeanne,

    Aaron here. Hope your keeping well. Congrats on a great gig! It was great craic *wink* ha ha ha!

    Anyway, I’ve got onto Anne James and got the ball rolling regarding setting up a Cork branch of the HAI. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    By the way, here’s my own humble attempt at blogging;



    PS don’t suppose you could refer me a link to that Humanist Grace before meals you mentioned.

    • sheelanagigcomedienne said, on November 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      Cheers Aaron. It’s great that you are going to try to set up a Cork Humanist group. I reckon it is much better to have an open regional group rather than just a student one. You will find it more interesting as it should attract a more diverse bunch of people who are willing to challenge the damaging influence of the church but also to gather like- minded people who have your positive humanist philosophy. Atheism is only about truth but humanism is about happiness and the good as well.

      • Aaron Keohane said, on November 21, 2010 at 7:58 pm

        Thanks Sheela,

        Brian Whiteside is coming down on the 7th to give a talk about Humanist ceremonies and Humanism in general, so hopefully at that we’ll get a couple of people who are interested to join the group which will hopefully have its first meeting in Feburary

  3. Saibh said, on October 19, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    If you had had a galway gig, and I had been told, I would have been front row!!
    The galway skeptics should have pulled the finger out and contacted you. shame they didnt.. their loss i suppose.

    • sheelanagigcomedienne said, on November 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm

      Of course you would Saibh you are family. I never did hear anything from the Galway skeptics. It was good to see you and Brian when you came over for the weekend.

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