Irish marriages more civil and older than ever before

CSO data shows 18 per cent of Irish people aged 16-24 have never accessed the internet

Getting on: Irish brides and grooms have aged by nearly five years each over the last two decades, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Photograph: Getty Images.

Irish brides and grooms have aged by nearly five years each over the last two decades while the popularity of civil marriages in the Republic has jumped from under a thousand in 1994 to more than 6,000 last year, according to the Central Statistics Office (CSO).

As always its statistical yearbook published today offers a snapshot of where we are as a society and this year's book paints a picture of marrying couples inclined to wait longer before tying the knot and much less inclined than at any point in modern history to take their vows in a Catholic Church.

The average age of a groom last year was just shy of 35 while brides waited until just before their 33rd birthday before saying “I do”. In 1994 men, typically married in the last weeks of their 20s while the average age of women marrying that year was 27 and three quarters.

Apart from aging marrying types, the other big shift in the nuptial stakes has seen people eschew religion in favour of the civil option. All told, 29.5 per cent of the 20,680 marriages registered last year were civil ceremonies compared with just 5 per cent 20 years earlier.


While the number of Church of Ireland weddings has remained consistent with 434 people having their weddings registered under the auspices of that faith in 1994 compared with 453 last year, the number of Roman Catholic weddings has fallen from 15,200 20 years ago to 12,921 last year.

There were 68,930 births registered in 2013, down 3,295 on the 72,225 births registered the previous year with 37 per cent of births recorded among mothers aged between 30-34.

Yet again, most Irish parents displayed a shocking lack of originality when it came to naming their offspring with Jack and Emily once more proving to be the most popular babies’ names in 2013 - the third year in a row the two names have topped the popularity charts. The popularity of Jack is even more enduring and has occupied the number one slot since 2007.

The statistics also record household weekly disposable income for 2012 and puts the figure at €776.26, a decline of 3.1 per cent on the 2011 value. Household disposable income peaked in 2008 at €939.89 and fell by 17.4 per cent between then and 2012.

There were 71,348 new private cars licensed in the year to the end of December 2013, a fall of 6.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2012.

Irish residents made almost 6.6 million trips out of the country in 2013, 85 per cent of which were to other EU countries. Most domestic trips were made either for holidays or to visit friends and relatives as opposed to business with the average family visit lasting 2.5 nights.

The total area farmed in 2013 was 4.5 million hectares. Crops, fruit and horticulture accounted for just 8 per cent of land usage with silage making up 24 per cent, hay 5 per cent and 52 per cent going to pasture for 52 per with 11 per cent being used for rough grazing.

By contrast, in 1853 there were 639,000 hectares and 279,000 hectares under oats and potatoes respectively. Since then there has been a decline of over 95 per cent in both those areas with the 2013 figures standing at 27,000 hectares for oats and 11,000 hectares for potatoes.

While farming has featured in surveys for close to 200 years, Facebook and Twitter are new to the statistical party.

In 2013, 46 per cent of businesses said they used social networks to connect with customers compared with an average of 28 per cent across the EU. While it is easy to assume everyone is plugged into the social networks, some 18 per cent of Irish people aged between 16 and 24 have never accessed the internet.

Conor Pope

Conor Pope

Conor Pope is Consumer Affairs Correspondent, Pricewatch Editor