Events Archive

ESRC Festival of Social Science, ‘The End of Catholic Ireland?’


6/11/2018 - 6/11/2018


7:00PM - 9:00PM


The Dark Horse, 30 Hill Street, Belfast, BT1 2LB



In the wake of the 8th referendum in Ireland, which resulted in a landslide vote to liberalise Irish abortion law, this event will explore the role of the fast changing role of the Catholic Church in contemporary Ireland.

Our key speaker will be Dr. Gladys Ganiel, a sociologist of religion from Queen’s University Belfast, who has recently published the book Transforming Post-Catholic Ireland. She will lay out quantitative and qualitative findings about Ireland’s rapid secularisation process, and explore the implications of this for wider Irish society. We have invited a local theologian and a historian to reflect on her findings. We will then open up the floor for personal reflections, stories and questions.

The key issue we seek to explore, is whether Ireland’s seemingly rapid secularisation can be taken at face value? While mass attendance declines, and the moral authority of the Catholic church has been dealt a severe blow, what cultural, social and structural remnants of religion remain? Will the Church’s influence in Irish health and education be next to go? Or does the still high level of nominal identification with Catholicism have deeper roots, meanings and implications?

This will be a panel discussion event with audience participation.

The panel will be:

The chair will be Alan Meban.

The event is organised by the Slugger O’Toole blog. Historian Margaret O’Callaghan and Pádraig Ó Tuama, leader of the Corrymeela Community, will be responding to my initial remarks.