Ireland, the proverb goes, is the “Land of Saints and Scholars.” In the sixth through the ninth when Irish monks and scholars almost single handedly preserved the scholarly traditions of the fallen Roman Empire Irish abbots founded renowned centres of learning throughout Europe, and kings like Charlemagne sought out Irish scholars to crown the glories of their courts.
Ireland is a country where religion and religious practice have always been held in high esteem. Although the majority of Irish people are Roman Catholics, many other religions are respected and represented. There are Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist Churches, as well as Eastern Orthodox and Salvation Army communities. Several American gospel groups are represented as well as Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. In addition to the Christian denominations there are centres for Buddhists, Hindus, Bahais and for people of the Islamic and Jewish faiths.