Tomás Ó Fiaich was born in Cullyhanna in south Co. Armagh. A noted scholar in the Irish language and with a profound interest in folk lore and history. He became a Cardinal in 1979 and continued to follow his deep interest in Irish and local history, becoming a key figure also in the political life in the North as the ‘Troubles’ continued to unfold. Cardinal Ó Fiaich died in 1990 and Cultúrlann, which opened in 1991, was named in his memory. In this lecture, journalist and historian, John Cooney will look at the Cardinal’s formative years and his keen interest in the Irish language.
About John Cooney
John Cooney is described by Professor Terence Brown in his official history of The Irish Times, 150 Years of Influence, as being “to the fore in making religion a subject of vigorous discussion and controversy.” Since coming to Ireland from Scotland in 1972 he has written extensively on “The Troubles”for Irish and British publications including The Glasgow Herald and The Times. He is the only journalist in Ireland to have been religion correspondent for both the Irish Times and the Irish Independent. Inspired by the ideals of the French Revolution, he was founder-director of the Humbert Summer School in Co. Mayo from 1987-2014, and currently is forming the Hans Küng Society of Ireland with Brendan Butler. A frequent contributor to the theological review, Doctrine& Life, he was Honorary Visiting Fellow in Irish Studies from 1996-1998 at the University of Aberdeen. The author of John Charles McQuaid, Ruler of Catholic Ireland, he is preparing a biography of Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich, Ireland’s Lost Peacemaker.