Irish Catholics
Total population
4.6 million (Ireland)
55-60 million (notably in Canada and the Eastern and Central United States)
Regions with significant populations
Republic of Ireland Republic of Ireland4,000,000
Northern Ireland750,000
United States United States~20,000,000[1][2]
Canada Canada5,000,000[3]
United Kingdom United Kingdom370,000[4]
Australia Australia7,000,000[5][6]
Argentina Argentina500,000-1,000,000[7][8]
New Zealand New Zealand (especially in Te Tai Poutini)[9]600,000[10]
France France15,000[11]
English (Irish, American, Canadian, British, Australian and New Zealander), Irish (primarily Ireland), Spanish (Argentine and Mexican) and French (Canadian French, Metropolitan French)
Catholic Christianity
Related ethnic groups
Irish people, Irish diaspora, Irish Travellers, Irish Americans, Irish Canadians, Irish Australians, Irish New Zealanders, Irish Britons, Irish Argentines, Irish Mexicans, Irish French

Irish Catholics (Irish: Caitlicigh na hÉireann) are an ethnoreligious group native to Ireland[12][13] whose members are both Catholic and Irish. They have a large diaspora, which includes over 36 million American citizens,[14] plus over 7 million Irish Australians, of whom around 67% adhere to Catholicism.[15][16][17]

Overview and history

Divisions between Irish Roman Catholics and Irish Protestants played a major role in the history of Ireland from the 16th century to the 20th century, especially during the Home Rule Crisis and the Troubles. While religion broadly marks the delineation of these divisions, the contentions were primarily political and they were also related to access to power. For example, while the majority of Irish Catholics had an identity which was independent from Britain's identity and were excluded from power because they were Catholic, a number of the instigators of rebellions against British rule were actually 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 in the Anglosphere. Emigration exponentially increased due to the Great Famine which lasted from 1845 to 1852. In the United States, anti-Irish sentiment and anti-Catholicism was espoused by the Know Nothing movement of the 1850s and other 19th-century anti-Catholic and anti-Irish organizations. By the 20th century, Irish Catholics were well established in the United States and today they are fully-integrated into mainstream American society with two Irish Catholic Presidents, John F. Kennedy and Joe Biden, having been elected.

See also


  1. ^ "Selected Social Characteristics in the United States (DP02): 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  2. ^ Carroll, Michael P. (Winter 2006). "How the Irish Became Protestant in America". Religion and American Culture. 16 (1). University of California Press: 25–54. doi:10.1525/rac.2006.16.1.25. JSTOR 10.1525/rac.2006.16.1.25. S2CID 145240474. Of the 1,495 respondents who identified themselves as "Irish," 51 percent were Protestant and 36 percent were Catholic.
  3. ^ "Ethnic Origin (264), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin Responses (3), Generation Status (4), Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces, Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2011 National Household Survey". Statistics Canada. 2011. Archived from the original on 2019-12-09. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  4. ^ "Irish population in United Kingdom".
  5. ^ "Ancestry Information Operations Unlimited Company - Press Release". Archived from the original on 7 September 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern T.D., announces Grants to Irish Community Organisations in the Southern Hemisphere" (Press release). Department of Foreign Affairs. 26 September 2007. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Western People: Flying the Irish flag in Argentina". Western People. March 14, 2007. Archived from the original on December 18, 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  8. ^ " = Irish Social Networking Worldwide".[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Story: Irish". Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Archived from the original on 2021-11-26. Retrieved 2021-11-26.
  10. ^ "The Irish in New Zealand: Historical Contexts and Perspectives - Brian Easton". www.eastonbh. 14 June 2003. Archived from the original on 2020-02-17. Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  11. ^ "Prếsentation de l'Irlande". France Diplomatie : : Ministḕre de l'Europe des Affaires ễtrangễres.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Evans, Jocelyn; Tonge, Jonathan (2013). "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 (2): 357–375. doi:10.1111/nana.12005.
  13. ^ Nicolson, Murray W. "Irish Tridentine Catholicism in Victorian Toronto: Vessel for Ethno-religious Persistence" (PDF). CCHA. Study Sessions (50 (1983)): 415–436. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-11-01. Retrieved 2017-07-02 – via University of Manitoba.
  14. ^ "U.S. Census". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 11 February 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
  15. ^ "2021 People in Australia who were born in Ireland, Census Country of birth QuickStats | Australian Bureau of Statistics". Retrieved 2023-10-23.
  16. ^ "Ancestry | Australia | Community profile". Retrieved 2023-10-23.
  17. ^ "Cultural diversity: Census, 2021 | Australian Bureau of Statistics". 2022-01-12. Retrieved 2023-10-23.

Further reading

Catholic Irish