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Religion in Ireland

According to Countryaah data, about 90 percent of the population of Ireland belongs to the Catholic Church, but there are also Anglicans (3 percent) and other Christians (1 percent), including Presbyterians and Methodists. The remaining are supporters of other religions (3 percent) or non-religious.

Religions of Ireland

The Catholic Church in Ireland has four archdiocese and 26 dioceses. Anglicans have two archdiocese and 11 dioceses. Christian schools offer Christian education adapted to the confession of the children.


The Anglican Church was a state church until 1869, when church and state were separated. During the nationalist struggle for secession from Britain, the Catholic Church was a natural rallying point supporting the struggle of the people. It had almost full support and strong indirect power. With the formation of the new republic in 1922, the church gained great power over the legislation. Several constitutional changes in the 1920s and 1930s were characterized by Catholic ideology, such as the prohibitions on divorce and birth control (1935). The role of the church was further strengthened in the revised Constitution of 1937. Catholicism was early institutionalized in the school system, and its ideological influence resulted, among other things, in the criminalization of "immoral" fiction, such as James Joyce, and literature on child restraint.

Although the Catholic Church in the 1980s and 1990s strongly engaged in current political issues, including the legalization of abortion (referendums 1983 and 1992) and divorce (referendum 1986 and 1995), its position has changed dramatically. The church has lost much of its direct political power, including as head of educational policy and practice, and as the premier of sexual moral ideology and practice. The changes started in earnest towards the end of the 1960s, and coincide with the momentum of modernity in Ireland, the emergence of the new women's movement and its demands for change, and from 1973 with the EU membership.

The abolition of the hegemony of the Catholic Church does not mean that the Irish no longer define themselves as Christians. Still, up to 90 per cent of the population wants to keep the Catholic rituals associated with birth, marriage and death, and although new generations are less religiously active than their predecessors, Ireland, compared to other European states, is still a distinct Catholic nation.

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