Roman Catholic Marriages a Dying Trend in Ireland

By Lily Joyce

Between the years 1994 and 2015 there has been a a 19.1% decrease in Roman Catholic marriages in Ireland with a 151.5% rise in civil marriages.

Since 1994 Roman Catholic ceremonies have dropped from 15,200 to 12,486 while civil marriages have grown from 850 to 6,156.


Leah Coughlan (23) said. “If I ever get married, it won’t be in a church, I can’t remember the last time I was at mass, I never go anymore so I don’t see a point in having a religious wedding.”

Tracy Wallace (32) said: “No-one has that strong of a hold to the Catholic Church anymore, especially with all of the corruption that has come up in recent years. I got married in a church but only really because it’s kind of a tradition you know, I don’t go to mass or anything like that anymore.”

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) relased a report earlier this year with a  breakdown of the country’s marriages and civil partnerships from 2015.

The number of marriages registered in 2015 was 22,025 which equates to a marriage rate of 4.8 per 1,000 population.

Religious marriages accounted for the highest percentage in 2015 making up 66.3% of ceremonies throughout the country. There were 12,486 (56.7%) Catholic marriage ceremonies, 393 (1.8%) Church of Ireland ceremonies, 822 (3.7%) from the Spiritualist Union of Ireland and 73 (0.3%) Presbyterian ceremonies.

Civil marriage ceremonies were the most popular choice for non-religious marriages totalling 6,156 (28%).  In recent years the Humanist Association has also risen in popularity with 1,264 (5.7%) of marriages in 2015.


Leinster hosted the highest amount of Roman Catholic marriages with Dublin, Meath and Kildare accounting for 2,579 out of the 5,257 held throughout the twelve counties. Other counties with a high number of Roman Catholic ceremonies were Cork (1,441), Kerry (728), Donegal (681) and Galway (620).

The counties with the highest number of civil marriage ceremonies are Dublin (1,912), Cork (639), Galway (362) and Wicklow (328).


Same-sex marriages legislation came into effect on the 16th November 2015.  Between this date and the end of 2015, there were 91 same-sex marriages in the country. This figure comprised of 47 male couples and 44 female couples.

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