Migrant places of worship in Ireland

Image

The Irish national headquarters of the Redeemed Christian Church of God

Image

Hindus begin to gather to celebrate Navaratri in the Taney Community Parish Centre, Goatstown, Dublin 14 (the room is rented for the evening)

Image

‘Paddy Ganesh’ at the Indian Sculpture Park near Roundwood in County Wicklow – some Hindus think of the park as a kind of outdoor ashram or temple

Image

Warehouse used as a mosque in Dublin 15

All three of the following radio pieces were broadcast on Newstalk’s Global Village between August and October 2013. They were made with the support of the Mary Raftery Journalism Fund

Islam and makeshift mosques in Ireland

Hinduism in Ireland

Pentecostalism in Ireland

 

Image

The Temple or shrine in a wardrobe in the hallway of a Hindu home in Dublin

Ireland is still a Catholic-majority country but the statistics tell stories of religious decline. The fastest growing ‘religions’ according to the last national census were atheism, agnosticism and ‘lapsed Catholic’ and, although the figures for these categories still only number in their thousands rather than tens of thousands, the trajectory is clear.

But religion is a tricky thing, inseparable from the societies and cultures which it inhabits and in Ireland the growing trend is towards ‘cultural Catholicism’. A religion divorced from faith or belief systems but rooted in cultural practices and concepts of community.

Meanwhile the boom years in Ireland saw a new migratory trend – inward migration. A new phenomena. And the people who arrived came not just with their material belongings in tow but also with their ideas of identity and ‘self’ and the cultural collateral which, though not necessarily visible, were important elements of their presence here.

The migration of people involves migration of ideas. Another inseparability. The migrants brought their religious beliefs, practices, iconography and prayers. Religion is not just a solitary affair but involves the primacy of communal element and so one thing that migrant groups set out to do, upon their arrival, was to establish places of worship.

For Catholic migrants they found their religious homes in pre-existing buildings. For other non-Catholic groups, finding places of worship proved more challenging.

These programmes look at some of the challenges these migrant groups face in Ireland in relation to finding places of worship.

Image

Pastor Samuel of the Church of Pentecost Ireland – Dublin City Centre (note the reinforced steel doors

Image

Inside the transformed warehouse – Church of Pentecost Ireland

Image

Manning the P.A. system – all the Pentecostal churches I visited had large P.A. systems. Music is a very important element in Pentecostal churches.

Image

The pointed-roof of the warehouse used by the Church of Pentecost Ireland is visible between the blocks of flats, Dublin City Centre

Image

All the Pentecostal churches I visited also had projector screens with the words of the songs – the flags in the background represent the different countries from which the congregants come

Image

Warehouse of the Redeemed Christian Church of God in Damastown, Dublin 15

Image

A small unit housing the Christ Apostolic Church in Tallaght

Image

The amazing choir at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Tallaght

Image

Inside ‘Betania’, Romanian Pentecostal Church, Damastown, Dublin 15 – the day of a baptism (six adults were being baptised). Choir and musicians and projector screen visible on the altar.

Image

A Hindu priest preparing for a celebration in the community hall at Ballyroan Community Centre – the Ireland Vinayaka Temple is housed upstairs in the centre but is only rented on a part-time basis

The conclusion at the conclusion of the making of these pieces is that the issue of migrant groups and places of worship is something that has not been addressed sufficiently in Ireland. Migrant groups themselves often erroneously believe themselves to be in compliance with planning laws and are even sometimes unaware of legislation requiring planning applications for changing the use of a building to a place of worship. Meanwhile planning authorities are often unaware of the requirements of these migrant groups and some local authorities do not have sufficient provision in their development plans or zoning regulations for the creation of new places of worship or do not recognise the financial limitations of many of these groups which often works as a prohibitory factor in terms of purchasing land in an ideal location or buying suitable pre-existing buildings.

Image

The main shrine area of the temple at the Hindu Cultural Centre of Ireland, Lucan

Image

Some of the idols or deities at the recently opened Hindu Cultural Centre of Ireland, HCCI, Lucan

Image

Section of the full Sunday evening carpark outside Betania Romanian Pentecostal church in Dublin 15 – porters are on hand to ensure cars are all parked orderly

Image

A warehouse used as a mosque in Dublin 15

Image

A sign on the door of one of the Pentecostal churches

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s