The first settlers arrived in Ireland from the European mainland thousands of years before the birth of Christ. Celtic tribes were in Ireland as early as 400 B.C. They spread into Britannia (Roman Britain), clashing with Roman legions throughout the early centuries A.D.. Much later Viking armies invaded and pillaged Ireland but were defeated by armies led by Brian Boru near Dublin in 1014.
English kings began politically subjugating Ireland through the Catholic Church in the eleventh century and eventually gained total control of the island. In 1920 the English Parliament divided Ireland into two countries, each controlled by Britain. Several non-Protestant areas of Ireland began rebelling afterwards. In 1949 the independent Republic of Ireland was formally declared and recognized. Northern Ireland remained under English control.
In the fifth century A.D., during the reign of King MacNeill, Saint Patrick attempted to convert the Irish to Christianity. His labors brought very few results, but Ireland accepted Christianity nearly a century after his death.
During the 1970s there was a great outpouring of the Holy Spirit among Roman Catholics, which sparked a hunger for Pentecostal teachings. The first Assemblies of God missionaries to Ireland arrived in 1978. Others followed soon after, focusing on planting local churches. A Bible college opened in Dublin, the capital, in 1982. In 2005 the Assemblies of God churches in Northern Ireland joined together with those in the Republic of Ireland to form the Assemblies of God Ireland (AGI). In 2016 they changed their name to Christian Churches Ireland.
The Movement Today
Many Pentecostal churches across Ireland are joining together in partnership to more effectively minister to the needs of this island nation. Today Teen Challenge, university ministries, and coffeehouse ministries are reaching out to the youth culture and students in Ireland. In fact, Teen Challenge has had such an impact that the Irish government has given it significant support.
The Assemblies of God in Ireland report the following statistics: 27 churches and 4200 members and adherents. The School of Advanced Leadership Training provides ministerial training and has an extension program serving nearly 50 students each year.
Additional Facts About Ireland
Capitals: Dublin (Ireland), Belfast (Northern Ireland)
Area: 32,477 square miles
Population: 6.9 million
Urbanization: 64 percent
Government: parliamentary republic (Ireland), consociational-devolved legislature (Northern Ireland)
Agriculture: potatoes, grains, sugar beets, turnips, and livestock
Industry: brewing, chemicals and fertilizers, clothing, construction, electronics and data processing, food processing, machinery, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and tourism