Quaker Meeting House - Monkstown
Statistics from the 1861 census tell us that 77.6% of the population of Ireland were members of the Roman Catholic church, 11.9% were Church of Ireland, and 9% were Presbyterian. The other 1.5% of the population were of other religions including Methodist, Quaker, Baptist and Jewish.
The first Methodist society was established in Dublin in 1746 and the Wesleyan Methodist societies began a year later with a visit of John and Charles Wesley to Ireland. At that time, John Wesley encouraged followers to belong to the Church of Ireland (Wesley himself was a clergy member of the Church of England). Like the Presbyterian church there was a schism in 1816 with the Primitive Wesleyan Methodists continuing in the Church of Ireland (until 1878), and the larger Wesleyan Methodists forming their own churches. Methodist records consist primarily of baptisms and marriages and these registers are typically still in local custody. Some records from the northern counties have been microfilmed and are available at PRONI. For additional information, visit the Wesley Historical Society website.
The Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) have some of the best religious records in Ireland. They migrated from England beginning in 1654 and their Monthly Meeting minutes deal with all types of events, including births, marriages and deaths. They also note disciplinary actions, as well as migrations. The records have been microfilmed and are available at the National Library and PRONI, as well as the Family History Library. For additional information see the Quakers In Ireland website.
There was a small Baptist community in Ireland and like most of the smaller denominations, their records remain in local custody. Baptisms occurred as adults and don’t normally give an age. The Irish Baptism Historical Society coexists with the Irish Baptist College in Moira, County Down.
The Jewish population in Ireland has been small, however records do survive from the 1820s in Dublin. For information contact the Irish Jewish Museum in Dublin.
Perhaps your family tradition says that your ancestors in Ireland were Huguenot (French Protestant exiles). Early emigrants were isolated in a few communities and in Dublin, the earliest records date to 1668. Most of these churches were conformist (Church of Ireland) churches, although some later affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The registers of these early churches were destroyed in the 1922 Public Records Office fire, however, prior to their destruction transcripts were published by the Huguenot Society of London. The transcriptions are available in the National Library of Ireland.