"Catholic" Ireland?

I don’t know is this is the right place for this thread, but here it goes :slight_smile:

I am meeting with the dean of international studies at my college tomorrow. I’m still in the process of figuring out of this is going to be an option for me, but I’m leaning towards studying in Ireland. The only problem is, I know that historically there has been tension between Catholic and Protestant groups in Ireland.

If she asks me for a geographical location in Ireland for which I would like to study, can anyone give a geographical where-a-bouts of “Catholic” Ireland? Or have tips on how to approach this situation? Or studying abroad in general?

Thanks so much in advance,

Chloe M.

Southern Ireland (“The Republic of Ireland”) is predominantly Catholic, like 85% or so.
“Northern Ireland” is officially Protestant, but there are Catholics and Catholic churches there too.

Note that there is far, far less tension and violence in Northern Ireland these days than there was years ago. You’re not likely to experience any problems these days even in Northern Ireland.

To visit Catholic Ireland, you would require not an aircraft but something more resembling a time machine. Ireland’s secular and religious leadership have long since forfeited any claim to a Catholic patrimony, and indicators such as church attendance and vocations have borne this out. Impending legislation to permit things such as unfettered abortion are mere symptoms of this decay.

Thank you so much for your help!

However, two more things to bear in mind:

  1. Trinity College, Dublin, which is the most prestigious university in Ireland, is historically Protestant (Anglican). In fact, at one time Catholics were not allowed to attend. Obviously that’s very different now–it’s ecumenical, and probably in many of its departments quite secular. Which brings me to:

  2. “Catholic Ireland” is not exactly dead, but certainly gravely ill. The main manifestation of the country’s Catholic heritage these days seems to be anti-clericalism. My visits to Ireland have been very brief, so consult folks with more experience (I’m actually going to be there for a few hours on Friday, en route to Scotland–and for a whole day on the way back a couple of weeks later). But there seems to have been quite a strong secular reaction, and the sex abuse scandals have just fueled this.

That’s not to say that Ireland wouldn’t be a great place for you to study, just that lots of people have very romantic ideas about Ireland, and these ideas don’t wholly correspond to the modern reality. (It’s still a fascinating, beautiful country with a rich cultural and religious heritage, and well worth spending time in. I go there every couple of years because flying into Dublin is the cheapest way to get to the British Isles–it’s cheaper to fly from there to visit my relatives in Scotland than to fly directly into England or Scotland, and any excuse to visit Ireland is a good one in my book!)


I’d like to add a caveat to this. I recently had a conversation with someone who within the last few months did a cruise around the British Isles. When the ship put in to Belfast Northern Ireland, she was shocked to find that there were in effect “Catholic cabs” and “Protestant cabs.” She was told that it was still true that there were areas of the city where people of the opposite religion wouldn’t / couldn’t go. This impacted her in terms of making arrangements to tour various parts of Belfast. This really surprised me to hear.

Tension between protestants and Catholics will not be an issue for you in Ireland. It does not exist except for a few inane Orange Order parades in Belfast, but thats only for a few days in summer, and the sensible protestants and Catholics in Belfast arrange their holidays for that time.
Dublin or Belfast would be perfect for you. Dublin is multicultural, you will have trouble finding an Irish face in the north inner city-center sometimes. So there are probably more religions living side by side than you could shake a stick at there.
‘Catholic Ireland’ is wherever you are I suppose.

One of my children graduated from college in Belfast–Queens University to be exact. While there were some areas that had their curbs painted green, white, and orange and others painted red, white, and blue she had no problems. I visited her twice and did a bit of research before agreeing for her to go. You can get the Belfast Telegraph online to get a bit of feel for the place, but remember that “If it bleeds it leads” pertains everywhere. The South is more obviously Catholic, but there has been a great deal of drift lately. Stay out of politics and enjoy the beautiful and historic places and the salmon.

Yes, I agree that you should stay out of the politics - there’s going to be discussion about the future gay marriage referendum of 2015 - and by “discussion” I mean a whole lot of people who honestly think of the Church as “a cult run by a bunch of old men who live with other men…engaged primarily in hiding child molesters…behemoth that will never change, be left to fade into obscurity…” spouting off their bilious opinions unopposed.

Just read the comments on this post (or don’t, it’ll probably be better for you).


I hate and despise the fact that the land of St. Patrick, Kieran, etc is plunged into such awful bile against God’s Church. I would have registered with their website to comment, but I didn’t want to get updates from them.

So, if I were to select a Catholic college to attend out of the following four, which would be recommended?

All Hallows College

Carlow College, Carlow

Newbridge College, Dominicans

Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth, Ireland

Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth is mostly for theology and religious courses, say if you wanted to study for the priesthood or you were interested if being a theologian or liked philosophy.

Newbridge College, Dominicans is a secondary school, if you are american it would be called a high school. Don’t know why they call it a college.

The other two colleges don’t have much of a range of courses. All Hallows runs three courses.

But they would be fine if you see something you want.

Check out nuim.ie and its arts courses

or Trinity arts courses

Also check out Qualifax.ie, it is the central hub for all courses of every type that you can find in Ireland.
And good luck, I hope you come over here for a while.

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