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Other religious and non-religious groups

Protestants

The largest Protestant denomination in the Republic of Ireland is the Church of Ireland, which is part of the Anglican Communion. Although always a minority church in Ireland it was the (...)

The largest Protestant denomination in the Republic of Ireland is the Church of Ireland, which is part of the Anglican Communion. Although always a minority church in Ireland it was the Established Church until disestablishment in 1871. According to the Census of Population there were 115,611 persons in 2002 who claimed to belong to this denomination, accounting for just under 3% of the total population. This number is somewhat higher than local records of church membership would suggest. The Church of Ireland is organized on an all-Ireland basis with the larger part of its membership being in Northern Ireland. In terms of size the next largest denomination is the Presbyterian Church with 20,582 persons amounting to half of one percent of the population. There are smaller numbers of Methodists, Orthodox and Pentecostals.
Historically Protestants in the Republic of Ireland are part of the larger Protestant population on the whole island of Ireland. Their earliest origins lie in waves of colonial plantation from Britain, especially in the 17th century. They opposed the native Gaelic Irish who continued to adhere to the Roman Catholic faith. The most remarkable feature of the Protestant population in the independent Irish state has been its numerical decline. Between the censuses of 1911 and 1926 the number of Protestants (three main denominations) in what is now the Republic of Ireland was reduced from 311,461 to 207,307. The decline continued since then, although at a lower rate, to its 1991 level of 107,423 but has shown a reversal between 1991 and 2002, which can be attributed to immigration.
A major concern of Irish Protestants during the twentieth century was the Catholic Church’s strict rules on intermarriage which sought conversions and pre-nuptial commitments on the Catholic upbringing of the children. Up to the 1970s the great majority of the children of intermarriages were brought up as Catholic. Since then, in line with Vatican II, there has been a major relaxation of the Catholic Church’s rules which has greatly improved Catholic-Protestant relations. The Church of Ireland continues to own and manage primary and second level schools, with state support, which most of its members attend, and which have substantial Catholic attendance.

D 21 September 2012    ARichard O’Leary

Religious minorities in Ireland

No Religion
The number of people who self-identify as belonging to the no religion category in Ireland is growing. In 2011 this category represented 5.88% of the population or 269,811 people. (...)

No Religion

The number of people who self-identify as belonging to the no religion category in Ireland is growing. In 2011 this category represented 5.88% of the population or 269,811 people. There are 83,493 more people who fall into the no religion category (44% increase) in Ireland today compared to 2001. The highest concentration of people of no religion is in the urban areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, and Limerick. In counties Kildare and Wicklow (both located close to urban Dublin) and Clare (along western seaboard) between 5%-7% of the population belong to this category.

Atheist

3,905 people in Ireland say they are atheist. This represents 0.09 of the population. By contrast, less than a 1,000 people belonged to this category in 2006. This means that there has been a quite dramatic percentage increase (320%) in the number of atheists in Ireland since 2006.

Buddhists

About 8,000 Irish people self-identified as Buddhist in 2011 – an increase of more than 2,000 (33%) since 2006. Most of the Buddhist population is located in Dublin.

Muslim/Islamic

Muslims make up 1.07% of the population. While this is a small number in absolute terms, the Muslim religion is one of the fastest growing in Ireland, increasing by 51.22% since the 2006 census. The Muslim population is concentrated in the urban area of the capital city, Dublin. 21 per cent of Muslims in Ireland are of African nationality and 23 per cent are of Asian nationality.

Orthodox

The orthodox religion is the fastest growing religion in Ireland. 45,233 people belong to this category, compared to about 21,000 in 2011. This represents a 117% growth of the Orthodox population.

Pentecostal

Pentecostals are also growing in number in Ireland, from about 8,000 in 2006 to over 14,000 in 2011 (73% increase).

Baha’i

The Baha’i religion increased its number of devotees by 16 between 2006 and 2011, representing an increase of 3%. About 500 Irish people belong to this religious category.

Jehovah’s Witness

About 6,000 people in Ireland belong to Jehovah’s Witness. This religion gained about 1,000 new adherents since 2006, representing an increase of 19%.

Source: All-Island Research Observatory

D 25 January 2013    ABrian Conway

Further information

Other information concerning religious minorities in Ireland can be found under the Religious minorities heading; the geographical repartition of the religious denominations is explained under (...)

Other information concerning religious minorities in Ireland can be found under the Religious minorities heading; the geographical repartition of the religious denominations is explained under the Religious geography heading.

D 31 March 2015   

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