A Protestant Minority in a Catholic Majority

For the final paper, I will be researching the Protestant-Catholic religious divisions within Ireland and the dynamics between a Catholic majority and Protestant minority. To investigate this, I will analyze Joyce’s short story “Grace” from Dubliners. I am particularly interested in the scene when Mr. Kernan discusses his experience at a Catholic service and brings up Irish Protestants to be not much different from Catholics. In response to his remark, Catholic Mr. Cunningham asserts that “our religion is the religion, the old, original faith” (Joyce 165). The scene depicts a silencing and devaluation of the Protestant faith by Catholic believers.

I want to discuss the impacts of Ireland’s deep religious divide upon Irish Protestants: did Irish Protestants see themselves as less “Irish” because their religion was a minority? Research has argued that Protestants did feel more isolated in their own nation, struggling to feel fully assimilated into the Irish nationality and identification. This was not always the case, as research shows that Protestants at one point were not as invisible as they became. I hope to explore this concept further to see how Irish Protestants responded to Catholic disapproval, as well as how this affected their relation to Ireland as a nation and home.

1 Comment

  1. Hi Kaitlin! This is such an interesting topic! I feel like religion plays a role, both explicitly and subtly, in most of the texts we’ve read. I’m also integrating this into my research paper, and will be writing about how the changes in Irish religious practices affected people’s views on the intersection of life and death. In your research, have you found any significant events that led to the increasing erasure of the Protestant identity?

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