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A Statistical Survey of the Religions Followed in the Republic of Ireland

Ireland is known across the globe due to the transformation it has gone through in regard to religion. Though no one can say that the country has managed to be balanced on religious matters, large strides have been made in the right direction in an attempt to make sure that cults do not rule the nation. Christianity is the main religion in the country, even though other religions have managed to gain something of a foothold. This has been caused by the increased immigration experienced in the country. A quick look into the religious setting of the country reveals that Ireland is predominantly a Christian nation, while other religions are minor in influence and numbers. The constitution of the country acknowledges that the Almighty God is the only God to be worshiped. However, this should not be misconstrued to mean that other religions are not allowed in Ireland. They are allowed only that it seems as if Christianity is the main religion enshrined in the Irish constitution.

Religions in Ireland
Religions in Ireland

When a census was conducted in 2016, the results indicated that the country remained a largely Roman Catholic country. The survey revealed that the country had 78.3 percent of its citizenry that identify with the Catholic religion. Even though this might be seen as a large portion of the population, the results represent a 5.9 percent fall from the 2011 census. In comparing this with the census results of 1991, the 2011 results represent a 25 percent drop.

Celtic cross
Celtic cross at Ballinskelligs Prior, Ireland

The Catholic religion as per the 2011 census had a total number of 3,861,300 worshipers. This dropped by 132,200 to 3,729,100, representing a fall of 3.4 percent. Moreover, other religions have also grown in membership. These religions recorded a 73.6 percent growth. The number of members in these religions grew to 468,400 from 269,800, representing a growth of 73.6 percent. This meant that 1 out every 10 Irish people were joining other religions in the whole of 2011.

Interestingly, people aged 30 to 34 years have a problem associating with religion. 12 percent of this age group do not adhere to any religion. This is the highest statistic for any population group. The number of Muslims in Ireland has also grown tremendously. The 2011 census revealed that their population grew by 28.9 percent to stand at 63,400.

Of all the religions in Ireland, one that has been rated as growing the fastest were the Orthodox. This is a branch of Christianity, and its membership increased by 37.5 percent. Thereby growing from 45,200 to 65,200 in year 2016.

Even though the country has been named as a major Catholic religious zone, there are some counties that do not subscribe to the Catholic faith. These are Galway City, Dun Laoghaire, and Dublin City. Of all the counties in Ireland, the one that has the lowest number of Catholics was Tipperary, standing at 12.9 percent.

Away from the census statistics, Catholic attendance of weekly mass has been on the decline for three decades in a row. This is mainly felt in the urban areas. The Irish state broadcaster usually referred to as RTE conducted a survey in 2006 and revealed that the weekly attendance of mass stood at 48 percent. This is just a drop in the ocean compared to the 81 percent weekly mass attendance record in 1990. Another survey that was commissioned in 2011 revealed that the weekly attendance of mass in Dublin was 14 percent. The surveys were conducted by asking followers of the Roman Catholic how often they attended church activities.

Over a period of 39 years (1972-2011) the number of Irish Roman Catholics were found to have declined by 61 percent. This was drastic fall, and as many might know the result was achieved by immigration to and from Ireland. Moreover, many Irish people have begun losing confidence in the daily running of the Roman Catholic Church due to the severe accusations that have been leveled against it in regards to clerical sexual abuse and the subsequent cover up. These accusations, though now known to be true still did not stop people from paying homage to the Roman Catholic church. The regions that were steadfast to the church in the past have remained so to date. Evangelicals have managed to increase their strength in the religious scene of Ireland.

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