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The man who met the Báb

January 14, 2013

The man who met the Báb

Some new facts about his life

by Brendan McNamara

In 1930, Shoghi Effendi asked George Townshend to pen an introduction to a translation he was working on of Nabil’s history of the early days of the Faith, a volume he was planning to publish in the West. The request came in the course of a fascinating correspondence (communications back and forth between the World Centre of the Faith and Mr Townshend’s home in rural west Co. Galway), during which the Guardian elicited Mr Townshend’s opinion on the content and style of the manuscript in preparation. Though thrilled to his core by the exploits of the early martyrs and saints, the heroic and tragic life of the young Manifestation of God, Mr Townshend proffered the view that the time was not opportune for the publication of Nabil’s account. He explained that he did not feel the general public would be interested (perhaps not even the Bahá’ís themselves), that the narrative could be seen as “an unedifying story of cruelties and local fanaticism, and would be a misleading introduction to the revelation of Bahá’u’lláh.”1 He stepped back from a definitive negative conclusion by offering the view that if, as Shoghi Effendi intended, an introduction with sufficient contextual background information were included then, “Bahá’í students and other readers of oriental history and literature would welcome the book.”2 It was George Townshend himself whom the Guardian had in mind to pen such an introduction.

Dr Cormick in uniform

Dr William Cormick

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A note from the webmaster

November 7, 2012

I’ve been somewhat neglectful of the Connections web presence of late. There is some new material in the works which actually arose due to this very site—watch this space.

In the meantime, maybe you all would be interested in a video! This is Brendan presenting some work to the Erin-Iran conference at UCC last year. Unfortunately you can’t see his slides during the talk, I’ll try to persuade Brendan to let me flesh this post out a bit later.

A visit to Green Acre

July 7, 2012

by Brendan Mc Namara

The Postman Calls

Rick Drouin, the postmaster for Eliot in Maine (a small town on the eastern seaboard of the United States) is sitting in my living room, drinking tea. His wife, Nancy, and friends, Paul and Pat are talking about their travels around Ireland and more particularly how they came to find our house this morning. When just a little lost, they happened on our local postman, Dan, who guided them with typical courtesy and cheer. In the end, Rick finished up donning Dan’s post-bag and posing for photographs, mementoes that will no doubt be notice-board material in the Post Offices of both Cork and Eliot. We talked about Ireland, their impressions, where they have been, and about my trip to Eliot last autumn (I am tempted to say “Fall”), when the tall and plentiful trees all around picturesque New England had turned to deep orange and brown and dazzled the senses with their beauty. Read more…

The SS Celtic

May 3, 2012

by Brendan McNamara

Leaving New York

“This is my last meeting with you, for now I am on the ship ready to sail away…” Thus ‘Abdu’l-Bahá bade farewell to the Bahá’ís after His extraordinary journey in North America. For almost eight months, the Master had criss-crossed the United States, visited Canada and had concluded one of the most outstanding periods of achievement in His entire Ministry.1 Addressing the heartbroken friends who had gathered on the ship, He continued, conveying to them His final words of guidance and inspiration. Read more…

‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Cobh

May 2, 2012

by Brendan McNamara


“There is a reason for everything”, my friend said and I nodded in agreement. I was not feeling so sure, however. I was puzzled. Maybe there is no reason, apparent or mysterious, for some things that happen or things that do not happen. Take for example the connection between ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Cobh, County Cork. Read more…

Joan Waring and Thomas Fforde

March 30, 2011

Joan Waring and Thomas Fforde

by Edwin Graham

In the early part of the twentieth century religious diversity was virtually unknown in Ireland. Even in Great Britain there was little evidence of faith communities outside of Christianity and Judaism. The Bahá’í community was only beginning to become established, a process that was greatly boosted with the arrival of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in England in 1911.

In the first half of the twentieth century there were only a very small number of Bahá’ís in Ireland. They were essentially two families—the Ffordes and the Townshends. They were geographically separated and, although they did visit each other, they did not appear to have very much direct contact.

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The Culvers

March 24, 2011

Earliest recorded Bahá’ís in Ireland

by Brendan Mc Namara

This article on the Culver family and their time in Ireland was in New Day, the magazine of the Irish Bahá’í community.

Family Background

When the Culver family set out from Canada for Queenstown (now Cobh) in August 1906, little did they realise that their four-year stay in Ireland would be long remembered and that their time in this small seaport would become a subject of interest and investigation almost a century later.

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