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Religious geography

A majority Catholic population in all parts of the country

Ireland is a small country but geographical distinctions are often made between the four historic provinces. These are Leinster in the east of the country, Munster in the south, Connaught in the west and Ulster in the north. Since the partition of Ireland only three of the nine Ulster counties now lie in the Republic of Ireland. The province of Leinster includes Dublin county and city.
Catholics form the overwhelming majority in all parts of the country. Protestants are the largest religious minority. The percentage of the regional population accounted for by Protestants and the absolute number of Protestants in each region varies considerably. This still largely reflects the historical pattern although it may change with continued immigration.
Dublin has a relatively large Protestant population and about a third of all Irish Protestants live there. However, as the Catholic population in this region is over one million, only about three percent of the Dublin population is Protestant. The whole province of Leinster accounts for over half of all Irish Protestants. In terms of absolute numbers about a fifth of all Irish Protestants live in the three Ulster counties. The Ulster counties are distinctive in the following ways. The inhabitants are predominantly rural, and the counties border Northern Ireland. Protestants here form a larger local minority than do Protestants elsewhere in the state and about half of these Protestants are Presbyterians. Protestants in Munster are concentrated in Cork while there are very few Protestants in Connaught.

D 21 September 2012    ARichard O’Leary

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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