Beyond Belief by Liam Fay

beyond belief

Liam Fay



‘Beyond Belief’ is a concatenation of Liam Fay’s religious writings
in the Irish music and current affairs magazine Hot
, a publication not particularly renowned for pulling its
punches. Fay himself is infuriatingly graced with a seldom witnessed
talent; the ability to heave his readership rolling into the aisles
with life-threatening paroxysms of laughter, by passing corny remarks
which made by anyone else would be intolerably dull.

Apart from the humour, there’s a plethora of useful material in
here to occupy the Fortean reader, which serves to present rather
more diversity in Irish contemporary belief than people outside
of Ireland would probably be aware of. Fay uncovers countless forms
of religious oddity, ‘Jesus of Coolock’ – the Messiah’s appearance
on a bedroom door, The Tridentine priest who performs Christian
versions of Ozzy Osbourne hits, a lonely Tridentine bishop providing
premium rate confession phonelines, exorcisms on the grounds of
RTE (national TV & radio broadcasting company), trips to Knock
(site of an alleged miracle), Croagh Patrick (a mountain climbed
yearly by the faithful), Lough Derg (an infamous site of religious
penance), Born-again Christian ‘cultbusters’, Hari Krisnas, and
a dancing Catholic priest (remember the dancing priest in ‘Fr. Ted’?),
Fr. Neil Horan, featured on the cover of the book clothed in his
dancing costume, including a kilt embroidered with the Star of David.
Horan spends much of his time promoting his interpretations of the
Book of Revelation, convinced that Armageddon is upon us in the
form of World War III – and if it doesn’t happen in the next five
years, that the entire Bible is a fraud.

A particular highlight is the obligatory trip to Knock, and Fay’s
purchase of sundry souvenirs; ‘My copy of Roget’s Thesaurus lists
merely 47 synonyms for the word ‘rubbish’. Dr. Roget obviously never
visited Knock.’

On clerical onanism: ‘Masturbation is an integral part of every
celibate’s life,’ says Father Pat Buckley. ‘Most priests would masturbate
regularly, as would most bishops, and I’m sure, even the pope.’

Two hilarious chapters are taken up with Fay’s incognito forays
into the heart of Dublin; first as a gin swilling, condom buying,
swearing Catholic priest (and a photo call with Ireland’s most rabid
anti-abortion campaigner). Later on, he takes to the streets as
a evangelical preacher, attempting to convert the masses with his
inflammatory handouts – photocopies from ancient manuscript on good

Although some of Fay’s wry comments may mean little to readers
not intimately briefed on Irish current and historical affairs,
‘Beyond belief’ is an essential addition to the untidy book stacks
of anyone interested in contemporary religious belief. Oh, and did
I mention that there’s a entire chapter devoted to country singer
Daniel O’Donnell?

– daev

Chief Bottle Washer at Blather
Writer, photographer, environmental campaigner and "known troublemaker" Dave Walsh is the founder of, described both as "possibly the most arrogant and depraved website to be found either side of the majestic Shannon River", and "the nicest website circulating in Ireland". Half Irishman, half-bicycle. He lives in southern Irish city of Barcelona.