Religion will always be something of an unavoidable issue in Ireland, though the Constitution prevents the State from endorsing any particular one. Officially defined as Christian, according to a 2011 survey 78% of the Irish Republic are Catholics, but that strength of belief is far less obvious in the East. The cosmopolitan effect of Dublin means the population are far more likely to declare themselves as not being Catholic or having no religious beliefs. The effect carries down South through Wicklow to Wexford where the roadside shrines to Our Lady are far less numerous than they are in the West. County Wexford was one of the earliest parts of Ireland to be Christianised and every now and again you pass the skeleton of an abandoned local church as much a preserved fond remembrance as any levelled cottage. Still, the Irish persist in the habit of burying their dead in the consecrated shadow of a church, even if the church function is long left derelict. Somehow, to an outsider (and a heathen non believer at that) it is as meaningful as it is poignant and supporting the oft spoke belief that anyone with Celtic blood is never more than one breath away from their heritage.