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Changing religions in the Republic of Ireland, 1991-2002

Desmond A. Gillmor


In contrast with Northern Ireland, there has been little study by geographers of religion in the Republic of Ireland. The consistent trend in religions, as recorded at the Census of Population, had involved an increasingly very high level of Roman Catholic affiliation and a continuous decline in the share of minority denominations. The 1991-2002 intercensal period marked a striking reversal of this trend, with substantial expansion and diversification of the minority religions sector. The nature and spatial patterns of these changes are considered. Attention is given to factors that might have had an influence on them, comprising the census questions and answers, migration, natural demographic change and age structure, households of mixed religions and religious mobility. The changing religious structure of its population is a part of what might be considered to be a shift towards a multicultural society in the Republic of Ireland.

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