Religious symbolism and the Irish psyche

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Kavanagh, Neil
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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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This thesis examines the relationship between religious symbolism and the Irish psyche. Its goal is to examine the significance of religious symbols in the lives of Irish people. My research was conducted quantitively, my research tool being a questionnaire. I distributed 120 questionnaires and received back 96. My research population was a random sampling of Irish people. My results revealed that older Irish people have more orthodox ways of being religious then younger Irish people. My results also revealed that Irish people across the generations all engage in symbolic behaviours with a Catholic significance. It was also shown that .Irish people have embraced individually driven belief systems whilst still maintaining an Irish sense of self, grounded in Catholicism. My conclusions are that despite modernity and a shift in how Irish people experience religion, there remains to a large extent a 'symbolic domination' of Irish people by traditional Catholic religious symbolism. It extends throughout the generations and informs not just how Irish people are religious, but how they are as human beings.