Atheist Ireland logo

I’m Michael Nugent, a writer from Dublin, Ireland. I am chairperson of the advocacy group Atheist Ireland, which promotes atheism, reason and ethical secularism in Ireland and around the world.

I also campaign for the right to assisted dying for terminally or seriously ill people. I have previously campaigned against terrorism in Northern Ireland, including founding and chairing the peace group New Consensus.

I lived for twenty five wonderful years with my wife Anne Holliday, who died in April 2011. I loved her and I miss her, and I am happy and proud to have lived with her for so long. You can read my tribute to Anne here.

For inexplicable reasons, I have since childhood supported Bohemians and Leeds United football clubs. It seems that my younger self selected my football clubs based on their future financial irresponsibility.

My writing ranges from satire to serious, and I have been lucky enough to enjoy a number one bestselling comedy book in Dear John – The John Mackay Letters, and a hit comedy musical play in I, Keano.

Here’s a list of some of my writing projects:

  • In preparation: a book about atheism and morality
  • Book chapter on secular education in Towards Mutual Ground, 2013
  • This website, from 2008 to today
  • I, Keano, a comedy musical play with Arthur Mathews and Paul Woodfull, 2005-2008
  • Absurdly Yours – The Michael Nugent Letters, 2004
  • That’s Ireland – A Miscellany, with Damian Corless, 2003
  • Ireland on the Internet – The Definitive Guide, 1995
  • Dear Me – The Diary of John Mackay, 1994
  • Dear John – The John Mackay Letters, with Sam Smyth, 1993
  • Majority Ethos, prank newsletter with Arthur Mathews, 1991
  • Occasional articles and cartoons for various publications

Here’s some video about my advocacy work:

Why I am openly atheist and secular
FFRF Out Channel, Aug 2014

Religion harms society
At Oxford Union debate in Oxford, UK, Nov 2013

You have rights, your beliefs do not
At OSCE human rights meeting in Warsaw, Poland, Oct 2012

Arrogant Atheists and Not Collecting Stamps
Opening the World Atheist Convention in Dublin, July 2011

If you need to use an image of me in any media, you can use either of these (click to enlarge):

Anyway, I hope you enjoy reading this website. Please let me know what you think.

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

1 James Layman December 14, 2011 at 10:22 pm

I don’t care what you say. There is a God. Your website has not proved otherwise. Just a bunch bleeding heart liberal spoiled, immoral Hollywood types praising their atheism is suppose to change my mind. I don’t think so.

2 Dave Gamble December 15, 2011 at 12:59 am

James, I’d be tempted to label you stupid, but I’ll resist such temptation because there are stupid people out there would would be highly offended to find you lumped into the same category as them.

Michale’s excellent blog is not about “proving” there is no god, thats not his responsibility. It is you that is making the supernatural claim, so it is your responsibility to cite some evidence for this claim. But then I guess I’m not surprised to find you ducking that one since in all of human history there has not been one single jot of credible objective evidence … and yet you truly believe in the reality of your imaginary friend … why?

Seriously … give it some thought.

3 Ryan Fitzpatrick May 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Anyone who has read the Gospels can discern that it epitomizes the bleeding heart. There are many Atheists and Humanists who speak publicly about the value of Christian ethics when it is distilled from superstition and hypocritical churches. Many people think that the gospels are too sympathetic such as Friedrich Nietzsche. The expression ‘Bleeding heart’ comes from icons of Jesus Nazarene in which his heart is bleeding. Please examine if you wish these ubiquitous icons of Jesus Nazarene titled The Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ which evidence the etymology of ‘bleeding heart’.

Christians believe that they can do any harm that they wish, be forgiven and go to heaven where they enjoy everlasting joy when they die. That is being spoiled.

Some immoral Atheists, some immoral Christians, some immoral people in any ideology.

Hollywood has produced John Huston’s The Bible, Ben Hur, The Ten Commandments, The Robe, The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Passion of the Christ and many more religious films and can be expected to continue to do so for as long as there remains a profitable market for religious films.

4 Man of God June 11, 2012 at 12:44 am

Hey man, sorry to hear your lost and I hope she is not the reason for your dis-belief. I lost my mother at 15 and I still believe. I’ll be praying for you that you might find Jesus. Love you man take care


5 Olivia Dunham July 6, 2012 at 4:42 am

I am not here to eviscerate you for being an unbeliever. That is your choice. My choice, what I KNOW FOR SURE, is that my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ died a horrendous death so that we may be saved.

I am a big believer in evolution. I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Anthropology and am currently at work on a Master’s Degree in Forensic Anthropology. I know the world is at least 4 billion years old. But I still believe God started the whole process.

As Christians, we are to act Christ-like, the way He would want us to. What an atheist said earlier, about us sinning all over the place and then expecting to be forgiven is not true for this believer. It is hard to be a good, moral person whether you are an unbeliever or a believer. Life isn’t easy. But I choose to live my life as my Lord would want me to.

You live your life as your morals direct you and I will do the same. The world would be a very boring place if we all shared the same beliefs. PEACE.

6 Olivia Dunham July 6, 2012 at 4:46 am

I also want to add that you seem like a wonderful human being and it is not for me to judge you nor anyone. And I do have friends who are atheists. It bothers me not.

I have my beliefs, what my heart, head and soul says. I am not going to let my religious beliefs prevent me from knowing potentially amazing people who may not share my views. You keep on doing what you believe is right for you and I will do the same.

My condolences for your wife. PEACE.

7 Michael Nugent July 9, 2012 at 2:50 am

Thank you for that. No, Anne dying was not the reason for my disbelief. Neither of us believed in gods, either before or after she was diagnosed. I’m sorry to hear about the death of your mother when you were so young. I hope that you have gotten over it as best as you can.

8 Michael Nugent July 9, 2012 at 2:55 am

Thanks, Olivia. If we try to minimize unnecessary suffering among sentient creatures, we’re probably doing as best as we can morally, regardless of our beliefs about the supernatural. Thanks for your condolences for Anne.

9 Michael Nugent July 9, 2012 at 3:02 am

Thanks, Olivia. Why do you use the word ‘believe’ for your conclusion on evolution, where you are presumably basing it on evidence, and ‘know’ for your conclusion on Jesus as God, where you are presumably basing it on faith?

Evolution is certainly consistent with the idea that ‘a’ god started the whole process, but it is harder to reconcile with the idea of the Christian God or indeed Christianity generally. Without Adam and Eve you lose original sin, without original sin you lose the need for Christ to be crucified. And you also have to ask where, in the evolutionary process, did the first human soul evolve.

10 Eoin September 13, 2012 at 2:17 am

Thanks for all your good work in promoting tolerance and understanding.

11 George September 13, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Michael, I’ve went through that blog and I’m really glad I did. I’m really happy that people like you exist (numbers are growing) and face the problems, discuss them, pop them up above the level of ignorance, instead of avoiding them to discuss. I’m an atheist myself (from Poland, living in Ireland) and I’ve studied Multicultural Relations in Warsaw, mainly focusing on religions. I hadn’t finish the studies due to my families financial problems, but I’ve learnt a lot and opened my eyes to many problems that are inflicted by the religion, especially organized one. You have my full mental support on what you’re doing. I would like to see in the end of my days a world without prejudice, rasism, xeno- and homophoby, free of religious indoctrination (especially practised on little children, when they don’t understand, but take everything for granted).
PS. Please take my sincere condolences for your wife.

12 David December 2, 2012 at 10:01 am

Totally agree with you. Atheism’s the way to go.

13 Janet December 14, 2012 at 3:30 am

I happened upon you’re website from a recent Tweet and am so glad I did. I feel as though I’ve wandered into a candy store and its all mine for the taking. Unfortunately, it’s late here in the US. But I will return. Eager to explore and see what goodies I can find.

14 John Allen January 11, 2013 at 3:16 am

Hi Michael, I featured like your late wife Anne, and my condolences to you on her passing, on the ‘Right To Die’ documentary. There are some issues which I would like to discuss with you Michael. I wonder if you could ring me on 021 4554673.

15 Gaylene Reitenbach Wetzel February 25, 2013 at 2:15 am

My sincere condolences on the death of your wife.

16 Christopher Lowe May 16, 2013 at 6:56 pm

Dear Michael, In the past 24 hours I have posted a couple of comments on your site. I know your intent was to have people contribute to the list of well known atheists, and my contribution would be to go online and search the many sites that post extensive lists of just such people. The previously mentioned comments were the very first I’ve made anywhere on any blogsite. Just to give you an idea of where I’m coming from, I was born and raised an atheist, and I’m comfortable in my own skin,knowing I have lead a decent and moral life. I’ve never had to have that struggle with any personal faith or religious upbringing. Nonetheless I have the the curiosity of wanting to know how the other 95% live and am fairly well grounded in religious history and dogma of most of the world’s major religions (not just Christianity,or even monotheism) and as you can imagine, I have questions. So I researched writings from like thinkers(the usual suspects-Dawkins and their likes) and now just feel I should add my little, barely literate, voice to those who feel the need to push back at religious imposition. Like Hitchens, I would like it if I could just have people leave me alone to practice those rights that have been hard won from religious shackles of history. Go ahead those of you from the other side, ask me why I don’t leave you alone as well! On another note after 30 years of marriage, I too recently lost my wife as she was killed as the result of a fall. I offer my sympathies to you as what I know is a terrible and inconsolable loss.

17 Ruth Reynolds August 8, 2013 at 4:53 am

Whew! I landed on your website by accident. This morning, whilst cleaning my teeth (don’t laugh) I suddenly thought of the Tom Lehrer song Pollution (I’m sure you get the connection) and went online to first refresh my memory on some of the words of that wonderful song – and then to listen to it – and then (on and on) to listen to others. And ended up on your site. Whew again. So much to absorb, so many thoughts and many mirroring those I’ve had in recent times. I still don’t know if I can call myself an atheist – but I’m something along those lines. Can’t tell you how many arguments I’ve had with folks over the harm that religion (of all sorts) has done over the ages. It started I’m sure the moment one person thought that another should believe the way he did and then took up arms to prove his theory. Sorry to say “he” – but most of them were (and are) of the male persuasion. It is still happening today and no doubt will into the forseeable future. My theory is that if there is a God – then why in hell isn’t he stopping all the mindless slaughter. That fact alone should make atheists out of every thinking person, but even those, in their millions cling to the fantasy that “their” god, regardless of lack of evidence of his existence exists – and more to the point – is the right one. I would dearly love to have something substantial and logical to believe in, but so far in my 77 years on this planet I haven’t found a scrap of evidence to cling to. I guess that makes me an atheist – or does it? Greetings from Australia and thanks for making me think.

18 Chris Callaghan September 22, 2013 at 4:23 pm

Two things, good people unworried by Belief.

Surely God should be a woman? All that creativity without any marching.

The OED defines “atheism” as disbelief in the existence of God or gods, godlessness.

In other words, there is a god; just that the atheist does not recognise such an entity. What is required is a short, snappy, memorable word for an anti-theist. Of which I am a happy, reasonably well-behaved one.


19 Ewan Duffy March 30, 2014 at 8:51 pm

Thanks Michael for the list of atheist songs – as a fan of novelty music, you have opened up a whole new list of music I was unaware of!

On a separate matter, I don’t particularly like the “not stamp collecting” argument in relation to atheism. I will confess to being a railway enthusiast – however, I do not train-spot (and cannot, for the life of me understand the attraction of train-spotting). As such, I routinely describe my interest in railways as “not train-spotting”!

20 Ann F. Slowey May 18, 2014 at 6:48 pm

Deep gratitude goes out to you for listening to me in Raleigh, North Carolina on May 3,2014 at the FFRF Conference. Even deeper gratitude goes out to you, for your work! I have difficulty with computers, having none of my own, but wish to communicate much to you via “snailmail” and so, I gave you my business card. If possible, please allow me to have someplace where I can privately mail you information to diseminate as you wish. (I get my email messages occasionally at a library). I don’t know if this email is private. For now, please know that my 26 years of research which has earned me no money, has uncovered documents and policies which I want you to know about, if you do not already. My goal is to have someone like you, publicize certain facts, and draw a thread through them, for the general world public. Pathetically incomplete herein, may I begin: 1) Please read one section (found immediately prior to the word “CONCLUSIONS” in the Vatican document “New Vocations for a New Europe”. 2) If you can, find the book “Crime and Immorality in the Catholic Church” (1962) by Emmett McLoughlin. This tells Canon Laws which order the trashing of anyone who questions a priest. Also, statistical data on prisons and insane asylums! Let me know if you obtain this, please. 3)Put these two bits together in your marvelous brain! 4)As you must already know, the future “believing” victims refuse to hear PLUS financially support all this! How can we reach them sooner? 5) I have booklists of titles, authors, subject matter and film titles, that I would like to mail to you, if you wish. I have no microphone. You do. Please tell my information, once obtained from me; that is my plea. Most sincerely, Ann F. Slowey

21 Paul November 22, 2014 at 6:21 pm

I read this and think” Thank Christ I am an atheist”.
Good people, as ever, on both sides of the argument.
It is just so much easier to believe in Gods, especially in hard times.
It is easier not to believe in easier times, that is our very human condition.
The many artifacts left by Padre Pio were invoices for acid from the local Pharmacy. They are not displayed with his gloves, perhaps they should be. For the sake of truth.

22 carina January 6, 2015 at 12:25 pm

while i would have no problem buying your books is there anywhere i can access some of your writing to read online, heard you on the radio recently and thought what you read was brilliant. into writing myself and looking to you for inspiration…. i feel de love in what you wrote whilst funny also…

23 Dave Murphy February 24, 2015 at 4:18 am

Your doing great work Mick, Thank you. I’ve really enjoyed listening and watching you talk today, all the way from Australia. As a proud irish man making a crust overseas i am delighted to hear a voice at home speaking sense. Though, i am very curious about the red shirts :) did you bulk buy or is it….. superstition?
Keep it up mate, you doing us proud.

24 Patricia Costello April 25, 2015 at 10:57 am

I’ve just listened to your interview with Marian Finucane on RTE one. Excellent. Well done. You’re an inspiration.

25 Sk Vader June 8, 2015 at 10:05 pm

Hi Michael,

With respect to your statement at the Oxford Union debate in November 2013 that Savita Halappanavar died because she was denied an abortion: would you now like to revise that statement in view of the conclusions of the HSE inquiry and the HIQA report?

I can only assume that you were not aware of the content of these reports given that both were published several months prior to your address to the Oxford Union. And I cannot believe that you would deliberately distort the facts to support your claims that religion corrupts society.

Sk Vader

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