An imam at the Galway mosque was “pleasantly surprised” to learn Mohammed was last year the most popular name for boys born in the city.
Mohammed is a popular name in Muslim communities across the world and is chosen by parents to honour the Prophet Mohammed and his work preaching the word of God.
Ireland has historically had a small Muslim population but this has begun to change in recent years.
“It’s not something I expected,” Ibrahim Noonan told Moncrieff.
“I would have expected maybe Finn or Aengus or Seán or whatever but I was pleasantly surprised and there was a smile on my face when I came to know that Mohammed was the name that was the most popular name.”
In 1991, there were only 3,875 Muslims living in Ireland but by 2016 that number had grown to 63,443.
The 2022 census is expected to record an even larger population and Mr Noonan says growth has been particularly strong in Galway.
“I used to make comments about it to friends of mine, that it seemed that every third person was a Muslim - male or female,” he said.
“There’s definitely signs of a huge increase in Muslim people living in Ireland - especially Galway city itself.”
Muslims are expected to pray five times a day but Mr Noonan says attendance at the mosque varies depending on the day.
“Everyone would love to see the mosque packed every day, five times a day but that’s not always the case,” he said.
“Certainly on a Friday, we would be stretched and sometimes the mosque would be full.
“Not with our own community members but there’d be other Muslims from other areas who would come in from different parts of the county.”
The growth in the local Muslim population is mainly driven by immigration, with large numbers of Muslims from overseas coming to study or work in the health service.
Main image: Man reading the Quran in a mosque. Picture by: Alamy.com