This is the story of one of the smaller Christian churches in Ireland from its introduction in the middle of the 18th century to the present time.
Never numbering much more than 60,000 people, it has made a contribution to the life of the country greater than its numbers would have suggested. After a brief account of the life of John Wesley and the origin of the religious societies which he formed in England, the author introduces the beliefs of the Methodist church and then turns to its development in Ireland. He describes its interaction with some of the major social and political events of the 250 years which followed the formation of the first Methodist society in Dublin in 1745.
He describes the organisation of the church, and the life of its people, their worship and the ideals which motivated them. They made significant contributions to education in the establishment of many primary schools throughout the country, Wesley College in Dublin, Methodist College in Belfast, and Gurteen Agricultural College in North Tipperary. Their charitable institutions were at first concerned with the care of the elderly, and the orphaned, but soon the scope was extended, and such organisations as the Stranger’s Friend Society gave help to the poor of all denominations and none. Finally, he discusses the work of Irish Methodists in the foundation and development of Methodist Churches in America, Australia, Africa, and Asia.
Though self-governing, the Methodist Church in Ireland retains close relations with the mother church in England and is an active part of the World Methodist family, which numbers some seventy millions adherents.
About the Author
Dudley Levistone Cooney entered the Methodist ministry in 1969 and has served in the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland. He has been President of the Wesley Historical Society (Irish branch) since 1997 and is currently enjoying his second term as President of the Old Dublin Society. He has published histories of several Irish Methodist circuits, and one of the Christian Endeavour Movement in Ireland. His historical papers have been published in several journals.