CSO figures show 91 same-sex marriages since referendum

Brides and grooms waiting almost a decade longer to get married than in the 1970s

Crowds celebrate the result of the Marriage Equality referendum in Dublin Castle last year.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish TimesPhotograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times

Crowds celebrate the result of the Marriage Equality referendum in Dublin Castle last year.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish TimesPhotograph: Dara Mac Donaill / The Irish Times


There were 91 same sex marriages in the last six weeks of 2015 after they were legalised for the first time, figures from the Central Statistics Office show.

The Marriage Equality referendum was passed in May last year and came into effect with legislation on November 16th. The figures show that up until the end of December 47 male couples and 44 female couples tied the knot.

Kieran Rose of the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen) said the weddings were “ a tribute to the generosity of the Irish people in giving full equality to their lesbian or gay family members, friends and neighbours” .

Figures also show brides and grooms are waiting almost a decade longer to get married than they did in the 1970s.

The latest data on marriages and civil partnership show the average age of those getting married was at its highest last year since records began.

The average age of a groom in 2015 was 35.3 years which is 0.3 years older than in 2014, while brides averaged 33.2 years of age.

These compare with 1977 when grooms were on average 26.2 years old and and brides were 24 years. The ages had been falling from 1965, when grooms had been 29.4 years old on average and brides 26, to their 1977 low-point. Wedding-day ages have been creeping up since.

The CSO statistical bulletin gives a wealth of information about ages, socio-economic class, religious ceremonies, regional variations, the most popular days and months for marriage and, for the first time, some basic data on same sex marriages.

The rate of marriage has remained steady, with 22,025 marriages last year, just 20 fewer than the 22,045 in 2014 . This is an unchanged marriage rate of 4.8 per 1,000 population.

Two thirds of marriages were religious ceremonies last year, with Roman Catholic the most popular, accounting for 56.7 per cent.

However civil ceremonies were the second most popular after Catholic, accounting for 28 per cent of weddings, followed by Humanist ceremonies (5.7 per cent), Spiritualist Union of Ireland (3.7 per cent) Church of Ireland (1.8 per cent), Presbyterian (0.3 per cent) and other religious ceremonies accounted for 3.8 per cent.

Couples taking part in civil ceremonies were the oldest on average, with grooms averaging 37.8 years and brides 35.2 years, while Roman Catholic couples were the youngest, with grooms averaging 33.7 years and brides 31.9.

Grooms were older than the brides in just over 63 per cent of marriages last year, while 88 per cent of marriages were first-time weddings for both bride and groom. There were 2,442 marriages involving at least one divorced person.

The most popular month to marry was August- for the fourth consecutive year – when there were 2,927 (26.5 per cent) weddings, with January the least popular, with 767 ceremonies (3.5 per cent).

Friday and Saturday were the most popular days of the week, with Sunday the least.

The two busiest days of last year for weddings were Friday July 31st and Saturday August 1st, when there were 276 on each day. These were followed by Friday 4th September, when there were 248 .

There appears to have been a significant level of individuals marrying individuals outside their socio-economic group, with just 22.8 per cent of couples being comprised of two individuals from the same socio-economic group.

The ‘professional occupations’ were most likely to marry within their socio-economic group - 55.6 per cent of grooms and 41 per cent of brides here marrying an individual from the same group. In the ‘unemployed, retired, student, occupation unknown’ group 41.6 per cent of grooms and 16.4 per cent of brides married with their group.

In the ‘skilled trades’ category, 2.5 per cent of grooms and 39 per cent of brides married within their group.

There were 376 civil partnerships last year, 250 male and 126 female. Over three quarters of these (294) were of couples living in Leinster, with over half (248) living in Dublin. There were no civil partnerships in Carlow, North Tipperary, Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan or Monaghan

Comparing rates across the EU, in 2013 (the year with the most recent data for EU) Ireland ranked 13th in the EU, with a marriage rates of 4.5 per thousand. Lithuania had the highest rate with 6.9 per cent and Slovenia the lowest at 3 per 1,000 people.