Buddhism in Ireland

Well, as I am moving to Ireland in about 4-5 weeks (still finishing some immigration/moving details), I took a look at Buddhism in Ireland, just to see what’s there. The results were not too surprising. According to the 2006 Census, posted on Wikipedia, the number of Buddhists in Ireland is about .1%, compared to the .7% in the US’s latest survey by the Pew Research Group.

I’ve heard before that Buddhism has been slow to catch on in parts of Europe outside the UK, and it seems to be true. Unlike the West Coast of the US, which has always had a huge influx of Asian immigrants since the 1800′s, I guess Europe has had fewer such immigrants, and thus fewer reasons to setup Buddhist temples until recently.

Just search for “Buddhism in Ireland” mostly turned up more controversial Buddhist groups in Dublin, and I will be steering clear of those guys. However, I did notice a certain Tibetan temple that seems pretty respectable: Kagyu Samye Dzong Buddhist Centre Dublin. Admittedly, I usually have no particular interest in Tibetan Buddhism, but I was told by people at my own Jodo Shinshu temple that the lama at this temple is pretty respectable, so I may benefit by branching out into different Buddhist sects for year or two. Then again, maybe I’ll just keep to myself for that year or so.

That, or just start up my own Buddhist temple there. It seems nowadays any Westerners with some funny looking robes and a slick website can claim his or her own Buddhist school. I might as well jump on the bandwagon. ;)


Update: Found more information on Buddhist temples in this helpful directory.

P.S. There seems to be a bit of confusion regarding this post. Please understand that I would like to know more about Buddhism in Ireland, so if you have any information, please let me know. I’ll be honest in that I am a little nervous moving to a foreign country and would appreciate any advice. Cheers!

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15 Comments on “Buddhism in Ireland”

  1. Al Billings says:

    I wanted to mention that asking about Tendai on E-Sangha is next to useless. There are only two Tendai people there that can stick their heads up without getting whacked and they represent one group in New York but are recent American converts. None of them are going to know much about Tendai traditions in Japan or much about the experience of it outside of their small group. Neither of them are priests either so they won’t be able to answer questions on esotericism.

    V.K. Leary, whom you have mentioned, is probably your best resource for Tendai questions in an official manner since he lived in a Temple on Mt. Hiei for six years and was ordained in Japan. He’s very friendly and approachable.

  2. Hi there,

    Your articles somehow intrest me as a new buddhist practioner, in fact I was thinking of what you could do is to find a teacher and study buddhism or look out for website that have Rinpoche teaching. You could visit this web http://www.kecharahouse.com

    I really hope it helps you.

  3. ryantha says:

    What a coincidence….

    I’m not old enough to move wherever I want yet, but Ireland was definately the top destination on my list…and I happen to be Buddhist as well.
    So go ahead, start up your own temple; you’ll probably see me there in a few years!

  4. Yueheng says:

    Hope your move to Ireland will be a meaningful and beneficial one!

    I’ve just started a new website dedicated to Bodhisattva Guan Yin (Kwannon). The address is:


  5. Gerald Ford says:

    Al: Thanks so much for the Tendai info. You rock. :) Yeah, e-sangha hasn’t yielded much info so far, and Tendai in the West appears to have an even smaller presence than Shingon Buddhism. Zen, Jodo Shinshu and Nichiren Buddhism appear to be the most widespread so far.

    Tenzin: Thanks for the info and welcome to the L8B. Like I said before, I don’t have much interest in Tibetan Buddhism, at all. I was interested in the Dublin temple mostly because it’s the most venerable (and least controversial) one I could find so far there. ;)

  6. Gerald Ford says:

    Ryantha: Actually, I mentioned to my wife today the idea of starting my own Buddhist group in Ireland, and she wholeheartedly supported it. Since I am not ordained or even well-trained, such a group would just be a lay-oriented study group, but better than nothing. By the way, welcome to the L8B. :)

    Yueheng: I love your site, and I think no one could do a better job of writing about Kannon/Guan-Yin. Thanks for sharing. :)

  7. Jersey says:

    Think of it this way: you can get the chance to spread an uncontroversial version of the truth of Buddha. :D

  8. tornadoes28 says:

    I was wondering what you meant by controversial buddhist groups in Ireland?

    I am currently reading a book about Shinshu Buddhism during medieval Japan and I have to say that is book is probably the best one I have read yet in terms of clearly explaining Shinshu Buddhism. So much so that I will probably read it again when I finish. I wrote a little about it on my blog.

    Good luck on your move.

  9. Gerald Ford says:

    Jersey: We’ll see how that goes. I could end up making a mess of things.

    Tornado: My definition of controversy is just groups with a cult-like reputation, or a group with aggressive tactics. I won’t name names though, as I don’t want to draw more fire. ;)

  10. Erg says:

    Your a dedicated man, Gerald. Upon moving to Ireland I would be looking for the least respectable nearby pub, not the most respectable Buddhist temple. I do hope you find something works out for you there. Even if not, there is always the web.

  11. josh says:

    My name is Joshua Perry,
    I currently attend the Abbey CBS in Tipperary.
    I am doing a Religion project for my Junior Cert and wish to get some valuable information.
    This been worth 100 marks in my final examination.
    The title of my Project is,

    Investigate and examine the ways in which religious belief is expressed in a ceremony for Buddhism.
    And the ceremony I have picked is Marriage.

    Some of these point are the main things I would like to learn about.

    Learn more about the steps and organization of the Buddhist marriage ceremony.
    Who conducts the marriage of a Buddhist couple.
    Where is the most common venue of Buddhist marriage.
    What the traditions of a Buddhist marriage are and who first practised them.
    What are the duties of man and wife in a marriage.
    Are there any other sources of information available to me

    But of cause any other information would be very much appreciated.


  12. Ray says:

    Good luck in Ireland!

  13. Franc says:

    hi, I’m an English immigrant in Cork – I haven’t visited any of the local Buddhist groups yet but here are some links that might be useful:




  14. Gerald Ford says:

    Ray: Thanks very much for the kind words. :)

    Franc: Thanks so much for the links. I really appreciate it, and hopefully others will find them useful too. Take care!

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