I am delighted to announce that my book “Pilgern auf Irisch” will be published in English. The English title is: When the Saints go Marching.
Official launch is in Bangor, Northern Ireland (Saint Columbanus Parish Church, Ballyholme) at 11.30 am on Saturday, 21st November. This will be part of the official celebrations marking 1400 years of Columbanus. More details here.
Some blurb about the book to whet your appetite …
Why would a Northern Irish Protestant, raised in a staunchly loyalist community, hitchhike through Catholic Europe on the trail of medieval celtic monks? What role did an Ulsterman play in the creation of the European Union, and what can be done today to break down walls and bring people together? Who was Columbanus of Bangor and why are present-day librarians from all over the world indebted to him? Why does God not like zebras, has Murphy’s Law anything to do with chaos theory, and why are the Germans the reason Ireland had to wait 1900 years to get decent, straight roads?
The answers to these questions are found in ‘When the Saints go Marching’, the story of 6th century Irish saint, Columbanus, and of a 21st century sinner, the book’s author! Weaving history, politics, theology, and personal narrative together in a humorous and readable way, Sloan tells the fascinating story of Columbanus and his colleagues from Bangor and their legacy in uniting Europe. Profound moments of reflection, insight and food for thought are punctuated with hilarious episodes of breakfast with Vikings, an attack by monster bees, and lunch with a talking horse!
From November my book can be ordered from either here on my website (just drop me a line here), or over Amazon or at any good book store (ISBN 978-1-909644-95-3). Hope you like it!
Today, the 12th of July, is a national holiday in my home land, Northern Ireland. It is the highlight in the calendar of the Orange Order and many Protestants in Northern Ireland as they celebrate their culture and their Protestantism. As a child growing up as a Protestant in Protestant Greenisland I always looked forward to “The Twelfth“. I was a member of the Orange Order. As a teenager, I played in a Loyalist flute band. It was just what you did – at least if, like me, you didn’t belong to a middle class family who would often use the “Twelfth Fortnight” to take themselves off to sunnier climes on holiday.
Later, when I became a Christian (not just on paper, but deep in my heart!) I began to think about what it means to be “Protestant”. When I hitch-hiked my way through Europe from Bangor to Bobbio in Italy, on the trail of 6th century Saint Columban from Bangor, I reflected further about what it means to be Protestant, but even more importantly, what it means to be Christian (Christ-like). I wrote about this in my book which has been published (and already reprinted!) in German (Pilgern auf Irisch). In the autumn I hope to publish it in English as an ebook under the title, When the Saints go Marching. I would like to share two passages with you today. The first passage, taken from chapter one of my book, describes my visits to Bangor with the Junior Orange Order….
The only time I went to Bangor as a child was on Easter Tuesday. In fact I was in Bangor on Easter Tuesday for about five years in a row, because it was the venue for the annual Easter parade of the Junior Orange Order. This organisation, with its annual parades celebrating Protestant culture and religion, was – and still is – an important part of life for many in my community. As a member of LOL 52, I always looked forward to Easter Tuesday, when I would wear my new white shirt, crimson-coloured lodge tie and white gloves, along with the orange sash, clearly identifying me as a member of Loyal Orange Lodge number 52. I was only 10 years old but felt much older, marching with my tribe to th e beat of the drum around our housing estate before traveling by bus to Bangor, where we joined dozens of other lodges and bands for the main parade.Mehr lesen →