Muslims now make up the third-largest religious group in Ireland, according to figures published today by the Central Statistics Office.
The CSO says more than 32,000 people said their religion was Islam in the last census.
More than half of Muslims are either Asian or African nationals, while one-third have Irish nationality.
Catholics still make up the largest religious group in the country, following by members of the Church of Ireland.
Catholic proportion of Irish population falling
The Catholic proportion of Ireland's population is dropping, according to a November 28 report in the Irish Times.
In 1991 Catholics accounted for 91% of the Irish population, the Times reports, citing Central Statistics Office figures; last year that figure had fallen to 87%.
The Times attributes the decline to two factors: the immigration of non-Catholics and a distinct rise in the number of people who classify themselves as "not religious." The latter figure rose from 4% to 6% in the same 15-year period.
~from The Irish Independent
THE first Papal visit for almost 30 years was looking increasingly likely last night after Pope Benedict XVI said he hopes to visit Ireland.
The Pontiff conveyed his wishes personally to Ireland's new Cardinal, Sean Brady, at a private audience in the auditorium of the Paul VI hall in the Vatican, where the two men embraced warmly.
Cardinal Brady took the opportunity to renew the invite which he first made in October last year on behalf of the Irish Hierarchy.
Pope Benedict's immediate confirmation that he would like to come to Ireland despite his limited foreign travel schedule was a clear signal that a visit is being seriously considered by the 80-year-old Pope.
Speaking to the Irish Independent immediately after his audience, Cardinal Brady said: "I took the opportunity of our brief meeting to renew the invitation on behalf of the Irish Episcopal Conference."
Asked what Pope Benedict's response was, Cardinal Brady revealed that the Holy Father said: "I hope so".