Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Marriage in Ireland, 1660-1922

Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council

Co-directed by: Professor Maria Luddy (University of Warwick) and Professor Mary O’Dowd (Queen’s University Belfast)

Duration September 2008-August 2011

The aim of this project is to produce a major study of the history of marriage in Ireland, north and south, from 1660-1922. The time frame begins with the Restoration of Charles II and ends with the establishment of the Irish Free State. The primary focus will be on the logistics of marriage among the social classes below the level of wealthy landowning families: how marriage was perceived, negotiated and controlled by church and state as well as by individual men and women. Although a significant amount of research has been completed on aristocratic marriage in Ireland surprisingly little has been done on the history of marriage among the 'middling' and lower social classes in rural or urban society. The project will, therefore, open up a new field of Irish social history

The project will examine three main themes:

  • Control and regulation of marriage by church and state
  • Choosing a marriage partner and the negotiation of formal and informal marriages 
  • What happened when things went wrong: the logistics of marriage breakdown: why and how did marital partners separate and how was the separation viewed by the family, the community and church and state authorities

Key questions to be asked of each of these themes is the extent to which attitudes and practices changed over the time period examined and differed regionally and according to social class.

Project Research Fellows:

Dr Katie Barclay

Dr John Bergin



QUB Logo