Ireland’s New Religious Movements

Ireland’s New Religious Movements is a truly significant publication; the first of its kind to appear in Ireland. Not only does it mark the ‘coming of age’ of the academic study of religions in Ireland, where for too long the study of any religious topic outside the Catholic-Protestant theological nexus has been virtually unknown, it also heralds a new and very significant Irish academic voice within the big debates about new and minority religions in Europe and worldwide. As exemplified in chapters such as those on Irish Islam and Irish Buddhism, research on religions relatively new to Ireland can readily challenge knowledge about these traditions produced and consumed elsewhere. This is not because Ireland is intrinsically exceptional, special or different – although research on new and minority religions in a Catholic-majority, postcolonial European context can pose obvious challenges to theories and histories of religion from colonial, Protestant-dominated European cultures. It is, rather, because Irish contributions (both in Ireland and among the huge worldwide Irish diaspora) to the global and multifaceted history of religions new to Europe have so far remained virtually unknown, and the reason is that these topics have not  – until now – been the focus of much concentrated academic research. The breadth and depth of scholarship and the wide range of topics addressed in this volume signal a new energy, resolve and spirit of co-operation among the growing ranks of scholars of religions in Ireland. This is in every sense a pioneering volume, for apart from its own merits it is undoubtedly the first of many publications in the coming years which will bring thought-provoking academic research on the whole range of religions in Ireland to the attention of a global audience.”
—Prof. Brian Bocking founded the first non-confessional department of religious studies in Ireland.

Read the editors’ introduction and list of contents here