People Of Faith: The Real Irish Religion

With stores jammed with chocolate bunnies and half of Ireland packed into the off-license the day before the “End Times” (the nationwide Good Friday moratorium on alcohol), religion has been on my mind a bit this week. With visions of Cadbury caramel crucifixes and the Kinder Egg Last Supper set (collect all thirteen pieces) dancing in my head (oh, if only they were real), it occurred to me how odd it is (given where I live and the name/subject of this blog) that I’ve never written about religion in Ireland. The time has come.

For me, the thing that I find most compelling about religion, all religions, is never the actual belief system; it is the concept of faith. And, right or wrong, whatever they may be (Catholic, Protestant, Manchester United fans, or just from Cork), and whatever their failings are, the Irish are people of faith.

The eternal Irish optimism, that cheery disposition, is a vote for the future. Their constant, often annoying, refrain, “Sure it’ll be grand” is nothing if not a belief that even if it all goes pear-shaped, there will be good craic (for you Americans, that’s not “crack”, it’s just Irish for “fun”).

The ease with which the Irish have absorbed the twin body blows of political and religious thuggery, and endless rounds of boom/bust cycles is surely a nod in the direction of faith. It may be that they have faith in something worse being just around the corner, but the Irish believe in a future, any future.

Their constant discussion of the weather, and prognostications about the next few days is a way of reminding themselves that things always change. And, good or bad, change implies a kind of forward momentum. Whether they have hope for the future or not, the Irish can be counted on to count on change.

So, when we say that the Irish are a people of faith, it really does mean more than just “religion”.

I thank God for that.

Glenn K.
Dublin, April 2015


Things to look forward to in upcoming posts:

Water Rights (Yeah, right)
Finding the “Right” City For You

About Glenn Kaufmann

I'm an American freelance writer, photographer, and web publisher. I specialize in writing about travel, food, arts, and culture. I also write dramatic scripts for stage and screen. I'm based in Ireland.
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10 Responses to People Of Faith: The Real Irish Religion

  1. Chris Ogan says:

    Thank you for this Glenn. I really appreciated your view on this. Too bad you are not back in Indiana today to witness the elected representatives who are a group of the faithful fail to stick it to the LGBT community and others here. The fall of Mike Pence.

  2. Kevin Boylan says:

    Really enjoyed reading this one. Inspiring, and another reminder of the many things I am looking forward to when my wife and I move to Cork this October.


  3. Lois Farley Shuford says:

    This is a wonderful post Glenn. Beautifully put. And right on the money.
    I enjoy your writing so much. Hope you are thinking about a book down the line.

  4. Kieran says:

    Hi Glenn
    The ‘Right’ city for you is obviously Cork.
    I don’t even know why you need to ‘find’ it .

    Happy Easter from ‘theCorkManInThePale’
    P.s Niamh says hi

  5. Mairtin D'Alton says:

    Very positive article! Made me smile, thank you!

  6. Dave Cullen says:

    Lovely piece Glenn, Well written and well said. We Irish are an odd bunch but we find the good in the bleakest of situations sometimes.

  7. Ann Nolan says:

    Hi Glenn! I am new to this blog, I came across it by chance, There is one thing thats annoying me the whole pub culture. I am a forty year old from Dublin I dont drink I never have, anyone within my circle including my parents my husbands parents none drink, we enjoy life other ways.

    • Ann,

      It is difficult.

      Just this morning my wife and I were looking at some postings from a “non drinkers” Dublin meetup group. We noticed that most of their activities seemed to be “going to the movies”. Now, there are plenty of alternatives (galleries, walks, etc.),but they aren’t popularized or talked about as much.

      It’s kind of sad, that so many locals and blown-ins alike aren’t more imaginative about their social life.

  8. Heather says:

    Interesting! My husband and I moved from Canada to Ireland three months ago, and I lived in the north for six months 10 years back. While we have found the Irish to be lovely and friendly, our experience has been the opposite of eternal Irish optimism, and rather an undercurrent of negativity. Part of this may be a view of Canada as the land of milk and honey, but so far it has manifested as, “Ew, why would you want to come HERE?” We’ve also been met with plenty of skepticism about the fact that we like Ireland! We love Canada of course, but the willingness of some Irish people to write off Ireland has been strange.
    We’ll be in Ireland for at least a year, and after that we may stay or may go to the UK for a while, but the reaction we’ve gotten from locals is enough to sometimes make us wonder if we are crazy. Maybe it’s just that it’s winter and they are wishing they were away in the sunshine somewhere!

    • Heather,

      Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply.

      This is a curious phenomenon. I think anyone who spends significant time inIreland with the Irish notices this.

      Nobody beats up on the like like the Irish. They are both extremely proud of themselves and at the same time have the lowest collective national self-esteem I’ve ever heard of.

      I think it must be related to their colonial past.

      Thanks for sharing your impressions so eloquently.


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