Centre to explore how minorities survive, change, adapt and integrate with the majorities among whom they live
15th June 2012 A new initiative, the Centre for the Study of Irish Protestantism was launched on Friday night at NUI Maynooth. The new Centre, located in the Dept of Adult and Community Education and linked to the Dept of History at NUI Maynooth, is dedicated to the interdisciplinary and participative exploration of the social, cultural, historical and spiritual dimensions of Irish Protestantism.
Speaking at the launch Prof Philip Nolan, President of NUI Maynooth commented that “for a variety of historic and social reasons, religion has played a particularly significant role in Irish society and in the construction of individual and group identities in the country. This centre will play a key role in developing a richer understanding of minorities in general, their relationship to the contexts in which they exist and of the processes which contribute towards peaceful co-existence.”
Tony Walsh, the Centre’s Academic Director, noted that Irish Protestantism has coped with dramatic change and has not only managed to survive but also to contribute to the social, cultural, sporting and political life of the state. “Its history has been challenging”, he commented, “and in recent years there have been new challenges. Irish society has become more secular and more open to minority views. Following generations of numerical decline, Protestantism has experienced a significant influx from disillusioned Roman Catholics as well as migrants from other cultures. These are simultaneously increasing its numbers but also challenging its structures and status quo.”
The breadth of experience of Irish Protestants has much to offer to the understanding of how minorities survive, change, adapt and integrate with the majorities among whom they live. As well as promoting the study and theorization of this experience, the Centre will support the community, as it reflects on the richness of its experience with a view to finding fresh and useful ways of relating to a postmodern Ireland.
For more information, please contact:
Deirdre Watters, Director Communications & Marketing, NUI Maynooth
+353 1 7083363