Irish Catholics

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Irish Catholics
Total population
4.6 million (Ireland)
Unknown number of Catholics of full or partial Irish descent worldwide (notably in Canada and the Eastern and Central United States)
Regions with significant populations
Republic of Ireland 3,861,335
Northern Ireland 738,033
Irish, English
Roman Catholicism
Related ethnic groups
Irish people

Irish Catholics are an ethnoreligious group native to Ireland[1][2] that are both Catholic and Irish. Irish Catholics have a large diaspora, which includes more than 36 million Americans.[3]

Divisions between Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants played a major role in the history of Ireland from the 16th to the 20th century, especially the Home Rule Crisis and the Troubles. While religion broadly marks the delineation of these divisions, the contentions were primarily political and related to access to power. For example, while the majority of Irish Catholics saw themselves as having an identity independent of Britain and were excluded from power, a number of the instigators in rebellions against British rule were in fact Protestant Irish nationalists, although most Irish Protestants opposed separatism. In the Irish Rebellion of 1798 Catholics and Presbyterians, who were not part of the established Church of Ireland, found common cause.

Irish Catholics are found in many countries around the world, especially the Anglosphere. Emigration increased exponentially due to the Great Famine in the mid 1800s. In the United States, hostility and violence towards Irish Catholics was expressed by the Know Nothing movement of the 1850s and other 19th century anti-Catholic, anti-Irish groups. By the 20th century, Irish Catholics were well established in the United States and are now part of mainstream American society.

See also


  1. ^ "Catholic, Irish and Nationalist: evaluating the importance of ethno-national and ethno-religious variables in determining nationalist political allegiance in Northern Ireland". Nations and Nationalism. 19: 357–375. doi:10.1111/nana.12005. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "U.S. Census". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved 13 April 2008. 


  • The Irish Cultural, Political, Social, and Religious Heritages
  • Ireland: The Rise of Irish Nationalism, 1801-1850
  • Emigrants and Immigrants
  • Communities in Conflict: American Nativists and Irish Catholics
  • Irish-American Politics
  • Irish America and the Course of Irish Nationalism
  • From Ghetto to Suburbs: From Someplace to Noplace?
  • Endnotes

External links

  • Library of Congress
  • The Irish Catholic Diaspora in America, describes the book ISBN 0-8132-0896-3
  • St. Colman Mac Duagh (Popular Irish Catholic site)
  • On Irish Catholics of Australia
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