By BRIAN MOORE
THE diversity of different religions practised West Cork was very visible in the most recent Census report.
While over 400,000 people in Co Cork ticked the Roman Catholic box on the Census form, this number has dropped by 10,135 since 2011.
In West Cork the most Catholic town (per head of population) is Macroom, with 86% of the population recorded there. Macroom is followed by Dunmanway (85%), Bandon (80%) and then Bantry (79%).
While taking just a sample of the seven religions listed on the Census form, Kinsale has the largest number of Church of Ireland members with 248 (4.7% of the town’s population), as well as the most who had recorded ‘no religion’, at 826.
The town also has the largest number of practising Pagans (10) according to the data.
In Bandon there are more Eastern Orthodox members (209) and atheists (18) than in any other town in West Cork. While Clonakilty has the highest number of Muslims (92) and Hindus (16) living there.
Skibbereen has no Buddhists but is home to one Hindu, two atheists and 29 Muslims. In contrast there are 13 Buddhists in Kinsale and eight in Clonakilty.
The latest data released by the CSO also reveals an increase in the number of Irish Travellers, up by 400 to 3,121 since 2011, living in the West Cork region.
The majority are recorded in and around towns, with a decrease in the number of Irish Travellers recorded in more rural areas.