Jan. 1, 2009: Est. population, 4,203,000; Members, 2,772; Stakes, 1; Wards, 4; Branches, 9; Missions, 1; Districts, 1; Percent LDS, .066, or one in 1,516; Europe Area.
The island of Ireland comprises two states, namely, The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and lies in the Atlantic Ocean west of Great Britain.
The larger of these states is the Republic of Ireland, covering more than three-quarters of the island’s 32,000 square miles. It is a parliamentary democracy with two official languages, Irish and English. The Republic, known in the Irish Constitution as “Ireland,” is 88 percent Roman Catholic.
Until 1922, the island of Ireland consisted of 32 counties and was part of the United Kingdom, including England, Scotland and Wales. The partition of Ireland took place as a result of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of that year. The treaty allowed for an all-Ireland “Free State” with dominion status and attached to the British Crown, which was conditional on the agreement of six northern counties which had the option of not joining. Northern Ireland, as these counties became known, decided to remain with the United Kingdom.
In the following years, the Free State evolved, leading in 1948 to the formal establishment of a republic.
Though missionary work had been done in what is present-day Northern Ireland since 1840, missionaries did not arrive in what is now the Republic of Ireland until early in June 1850 when John Sunderland arrived in Dublin, the capital city. He established a branch there on 1 September 1850.
A few small branches were established in the Irish midlands including Athlone, Kings County, now Laois, and Gurteen, near Tullamore, and also in the mid-west at Rathkeale, County Limerick, but Dublin was the only branch to retain any continuity during the second half of the 19th century.
Early missionaries remarked that proselyting was slowed by opposition, particularly that of landowners who threatened sharecroppers with expulsion if they welcomed LDS missionaries.
One of the relatively few early members in Ireland was Charles A Callis, born in Dublin in 1865. He was ordained an apostle in 1933 by Heber J Grant and lived until 1947.
Many converts who joined the Church in England during the 1840s and 1850s were Irish – particularly in Lancashire.
By 1863, however, most members in Dublin had either emigrated to the U.S., or lost interest and the branch was dissolved. It was not until 1900 that a branch was again organised in Dublin. It was made up largely of German immigrants, many of whom were pork butchers.
Missionaries continued to serve in Ireland during World War I, but by the end of the conflict, there were only two serving in the entire country. Of significant influence in Ireland was Benjamin Birchill, who had traveled to Utah in 1890 as a Methodist minister to labor among the Latter-day Saints. Impressed by what he saw there, he was baptised in January 1893. He later returned to Ireland where he served as president of the Irish District between 1919 and 1937, spending many hours and much of his own money visiting members throughout the island.
On 30 September 1923, in partial response to the partition of Ireland, both the Free State and Ulster Conferences were formed to administer the Church in their respective areas. They were merged again on 31 March 1935 to form the Irish District.
A prominent Latter-day Saint who was an international soccer player in the 1920s and 1930s was Fred Horlacher. In 1936, Fred Horlacher and Harold B Mogerley were the first missionaries called from Ireland to serve outside the country. They were soon followed by the first sisters to leave on missions, Gertrude S Horlacher and Laura Dimler. All were descendants of the German immigrants of earlier years.
World War II brought the evacuation of missionaries from Ireland. They did not return until 11 September 1946.
On 9 August 1953, President David O McKay became the first prophet to visit, spending one day in Dublin where he spoke to a gathering of members.
The dedication of the London Temple on 7th September 1958 meant that Irish Latter-day Saints had the opportunity to partake of all the blessings of the gospel.
In January 1961, Ireland became part of the Scottish-Irish Mission with Bernard B. Brockbank as president. Elder Brockbank encouraged the creation of a separate mission for Ireland. On 8 July 1962, the Irish Mission was formed with Steven R. Covey as president. Headquarters were in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
This led to a growth in the missionary work in the Republic. At that time, there was one small branch in Dublin, under the Presidency of William R. Lynn who served continuously from 1947 to 1971. His wife, Maureen Mogerley, was of German ancestry. She had been a missionary in London during the war when Elder Hugh B. Brown was mission president.
By the end of 1964, there were also branches in Cork and Limerick. In December of that year, President and Sister Covey had met with Eamon de Valera, President of Ireland, and had presented him with several Church books.
On 14 July 1976, Northern Ireland became part of the Scotland Glasgow Mission. The Ireland Dublin Mission, covering the Republic, was created with headquarters in Dublin. When the Glasgow Mission was discontinued in 1981, the Ireland Dublin Mission had responsibility for the entire island.
On 23 October 1985, Church leaders and members traveled from the Republic to Loughbrickland in County Down, Northern Ireland where, along with fellow members from the North, witnessed the dedication of Ireland for the preaching of the gospel by Elder Neal A Maxwell of the Council of the Twelve.
Less than a month earlier, on 27 September 1985, the Dublin District eas divided and the Munster, later Cork, District created.
Indicative of the growing strength of the Church, President Van F. Dunn noted in 1994 that seven missionaries from both parts of Ireland were serving at the same time in the England London South Mission.
On 12 March 1995, the Dublin Ireland Stake was created with Liam Gallagher as president.
In September of that year, President Gordon B. Hinckley visited Ireland, the first serving prophet to visit since President David O. McKay in 1953.
After its dedication on 7 June 1998, Ireland became part of the Preston England Temple district.
While much of the membership is found in the large population centers such as Dublin, Cork and Limerick, there are increasing numbers in smaller cities and towns around the state.
Membership in 1990 was 1,800, increasing to 2,341 in 1999, and 2,375 in 2001.
In 2005, membership reached 5,956.
Sources: Encyclopedic History of the Church, by Andrew Jenson; “Emerald Isle Hosts Beauty, Friendliness,” by Gerry Avant, Church News, Feb. 25, 1978; “The Saints in Ireland,” by Orson Scott Card, Ensign, Feb. 1978; Church News, July 6, 1974, Dec. 1, 1985; “Markers tell where history was made,” by Dell Van Orden and Gerry Avant, Church News, Aug. 1, 1987, and Church News, Aug. 8, 1987; Church News, Aug. 27, 1994; “Visit to Ireland caps ‘whirlwind trip’ ” by Mike Cannon, Church News, Sept. 9, 1995.
Stakes — 1
(Listed alphabetically as of Oct. 1, 2009.)
No. / Name / Organized / First President
Europe West Area
2034 Dublin Ireland 12 Mar 1995 Liam Gallagher
Mission — 1
(As of Oct. 1, 2009; shown with historical number.)
(70) IRELAND DUBLIN MISSION
The Willows, Finglas Road
Glasnevin, Dublin 11, Ireland