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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Busting Irish Myths: Number 3: Religious Affiliation

I'm continuing the series on Irish myths, based on the interesting misconceptions I've discovered about Ireland and her people.

Myth # 3 : All Irish are Catholic

The latest census I've found is from 2011, which breaks down religion as:

84% - Roman Catholic

6% - No Religion

3% - Church of Ireland

2% - Other

2% - Not Stated

1% - Muslim

1% - Orthodox

1% - Presbyterian

1% - Other Christian

Less than 1% - Apostolic or Pentecostal

In a survey of Irish students, these statistics flew out the window. Of those surveyed:

37% - Catholic

20% - atheist

Two of my series, Black Swamp Mysteries and Ryan O'Clery Mysteries, have Irish men as main characters - Dylan Maguire and Ryan O'Clery. In The Tempest Murders, Ryan O'Clery has questions about his Catholic faith as he is plagued by nightmares that turn out to be the memories of a distant uncle. He is also divorced after having found his wife in bed with another man.

It has been almost 20 years since the Irish voters voted to allow divorce in Ireland, though it was a narrow vote - 51% to 49%. Although 1 in 10 marriages now ends in divorce, Ireland has the lowest divorce rate in Europe and the third lowest in the world (after Mexico and Chile).

In the Black Swamp Mysteries series, we meet Dylan's childhood friend, Thomas, when he journeys to Ireland (in Dylan's Song) and we discover that Thomas is now the Catholic priest in the village where they grew up together. In the next book in the series, Vicki and Dylan travel to Ireland to be married by Father Thomas in a traditional Irish Catholic wedding.

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