There is a cultural stereotype that Ireland is a Catholic country, harrassed by clergy and neurotically pious. The literary canon tends to reinforce this view; contemporary writers are less concerned with overturning this and getting on with fresh material. Ireland may be a majority Catholic country, but as Catholic friends from other countries point out - not as they know it! While the Catholic Church may be a social institution still, especially in rural areas, it does not hold sway spiritually anymore. (The resounding 'Yes' vote to gay marriage on 22nd May 2015 in the Republic of Ireland displayed little heed to Bishop's sermons to the contrary.) The popularity of ancient sacred sites at Summer Solstice is one piece of evidence that Ireland has never really divested itself of her pagan roots.