Ireland has a Christian constitution; however, the state is forbidden from endowing any particular religion. Approximately 86.8% of the population are Roman Catholic and the country has one of the highest rates of regular and weekly church attendance in the Western World. However, there has been a major decline in this attendance among Irish Catholics in the course of the past 30 years. Between 1996 and 2001, regular Mass attendance, declined further from 60% to 48% (it had been above 90% before 1973), and all but two of its sacerdotal seminaries have closed (St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and St Malachy’s College, Belfast). A number of theological colleges continue to educate both ordained and lay people.
|Cavan Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Felim - source|
The second largest Christian denomination, the Church of Ireland (Anglican), having been declining in number for most of the twentieth century, but has more recently experienced an increase in membership, according to the 2002 census, as have other small Christian denominations, and Hinduism. The largest other Protestant denominations are the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, followed by the Methodist Church in Ireland. Eastern Orthodox, Salvation Army communities and several American gospel groups are represented as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. In addition to the Christian denominations there are centres for Buddhists, Hindus, Bahais and for people of the Islamic and Jewish faiths.
The patron saints of Ireland are Saint Patrick and Saint Bridget.
|Saint Patrick - source|
For more you can visit:
- Religion in the Republic of Ireland (see Republic of Ireland)
- Religion in Northern Ireland
For more information about traditional Irish folk music, modern pop and rock Irish music or famous writers such as Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, see:
A list of famous Irish composers:
|Seán Ó Riada - composer & musician|
This information is very useful to know because of international differences between countries. In this article you can read about Irish national holidays such as Christmas, Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, and Irish Funerals. If it is interesting for you, you can read more details here:
What is country famous for abroad?
St. Patrick’s Day - patron saint of Ireland: www.wilstar.com
The Potatoe famine: www.victoryseeds.com
Irish whisky: www.techpress.ie
The Blarney Stone - Blarney is a world renowned tourist attraction and should not be missed by anyone visiting the South West of Ireland: http://www.iol.ie/~discover/blarney.htm
Red hair - it’s characteristic for northern and western Europeans:
|The Blarney Stone - source|
Stereotypes about Irish men include: they love to drink (beer – Guinness, Irish red ale) or Bailey’s Irish Cream, eat potatoes, Irish deal with typical meal of corned beef and cabbage. Leprechaun – is the funny looking little guy, which brings good luck. Famous is Patrick’s Day. Other stereotypes are: Irish cops on TV, Notre Dame: the Fighting Irish, pubs advertising "green beer" and St. Patrick’s Day. There are also Irish consumer spending and shopping habits: