Video interview: The Role of Religion in Ireland

From its earliest history, religion has played a vital role in Ireland. Once famous for its pagan Druids, the island later became an important centre of early Christianity. Since the Reformation religion has often become a source of conflict, due to the influx of Protestant settlers from Britain in the 15th and 16thcenturies. The legacy of this conflict can still be felt, particularly in Northern Ireland where religion continues to divide communities. In this interview, Access author Richard Burgess asks Irish historian Dr Eamonn Noonan about how religion has influenced the country’s history and what role it plays in the country today.

Dr Eamonn Noonan was formerly employed at the Irish Embassy in Oslo and now works at the Norwegian Knowledge Centre for the Health Services.  

Discussion questions:

  1. Eamonn mentions three periods in Irish history when religion played a particularly important role. What does he say about each period?
  2. What is said about the role of religion in Northern Ireland?
  3. How important is religion in Ireland today?

  • Video interview: Eamonn Noonan