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Belonging and Community: These 10 photographs show Ireland's values and priorities

The photographs were taken as part of a nationwide study.

Updated 2.30pm

THESE IMAGES, CAPTURED by self-taught photographer David Gerulis, were taken to offer an insight into Irish life.

The photographs are part of a nationwide study called Future of Ireland, which explored the themes of Belonging and Community.

The first ‘Future of Ireland’ study found that Ireland’s values and priorities have changed significantly but that people are optimistic about the future.

This second round explores these insights through the prism of neighbours, friends and community.

Here’s what it discovered last year:

There’s an overall feeling of optimism from participants in the study, when it comes to our happiness, wealth and relationships. 44% of us believe our lives will be better in 2025 than they are today, 43% of us expect our family relationships to have improved and 48% of us expect to be in a better financial position.

IMG_1159 Source: David Gerulis

In this year’s survey, it found:

“Friends and family remain at the heart of Irish society with half (49%) of all Irish people saying they have four or more close friends (who are not relatives) and one in four saying they have six or more.”


“The share of adults with four or more close friends rises with age, from 42% of 16-24 year olds to 57% of over 55s. Isolation does exist in Irish communities however, with just under one in ten say they have no close friends and the same number either don’t have relatives or don’t feel close to the relatives they have.”


“One key factor is a sense of belonging, with a third of all Irish people saying they have a strong sense of belonging within their community. More than half of all adults [52%] say they are proud of their community, with only 13% saying that they do not feel this sense of pride. Encouragingly, nearly half [48%] of people feel their community is somewhat or very receptive to newcomers, while only 14% feel their community is unreceptive.”


“Political parties have the lowest level of local involvement, with only 8% saying that they are actively involved. 20% of those involved with political parties are less involved than before.”


“One in four people say they are actively involved in their community, however 43% are either somewhat or not all involved, indicating that an active minority of people drive community activities in Ireland.”

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“30% of respondents did say that they don’t have a sense of belonging within their community, with contributing factors to a low sense of community including living in the same place for less than ten years, not knowing neighbours well, living in Dublin – these are particularly prevalent with the 25-34 year-old age bracket.”


“Pillars of Irish society such as the GAA and the church are still important to us, with 85% saying they expect their local GAA club to still be relevant to their community in ten years’ time and 41% believe that local church groups will also continue to thrive.”


“48% of Irish people are optimistic about the future of their community and 49% expect to still be living in the same area in 2025. The reasons given by those optimistic about the future of their community include a ‘growing, developing and improving area’, ‘community spirit’ and ‘good people’.

IMG_5809 Source: David Gerulis

“A much smaller 18% of us are pessimistic about the future of our community, with lack of community spirit in their area given as the main reason for this gloomier outlook.”

IMG_5765 Source: David Gerulis

 OMD media agency commissioned the research, with the support of Ulster Bank.

Read: Ireland in 2025: Slow internet connection and a female Taoiseach- here’s what you’re predicting>

Read: These 12 beautiful photos show Ireland at its absolute best>

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