Ireland and the United Kingdom

Gladys Ganiel, Martin Steven

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter examines the role of religion in Ireland and the United Kingdom in four stages, focusing on how divisions between Protestantism and Catholicism have contributed to division and, at times, violence: 1) from the colonization of Ireland by Britain until the end of the Irish Civil War in 1923, when religion was used both to justify colonialism and to oppose it; 2) state-building in the early 20th century, when religion impacted politics and society in ways that diverged from the wider European Christian Democratic movement; 3) a period of secularization in the late 20th century; and 4) a period of religious change and persistence in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. It concludes by examining the impact of religion on the 2016 Brexit referendum vote, arguing that Brexit has destabilized political and religious relationships between the islands, with particular reference to Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford handbook of religion and Europe
EditorsGrace Davie, Lucian N. Leustean
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191872402
ISBN (Print)9780198834267
Publication statusPublished - 08 Dec 2021


  • Brexit
  • British Empire
  • Catholicism
  • Colonization
  • Ireland
  • Protestant Reformation
  • religion and violence
  • Secularization
  • United Kingdom (UK)


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