Religious ceremonies involved in 63% of all Irish marriages in 2017

August the most popular month for opposite-sex marriages in 2017

Religious marriage ceremonies remain popular in Ireland, accounting for 63 per cent of all marriages in 2017. Just over a half of all opposite sex marriages were Catholic ceremonies, at 52.8 per cent.

Over a quarter, 27.7 per cent, of opposite sex couples chose a civil marriage ceremony in 2017, up from 25.9 per cent in 2016.

Altogether, there were 21,262 opposite sex marriages in 2017, down slightly from 21,570 in 2016.

Where same-sex marriages were concerned, there were 759 in 2017, down from 1,056 in 2016. Of those 759 same-sex marriages, 424 were male unions and 335 female unions.


As same-sex marriage is neither conducted nor recognised by the major religions, civil marriage ceremonies accounted for 69.4 per cent of the 2017 same-sex marriages in Ireland.

The Humanist Association of Ireland conducted 111 or 14.6 per cent, the Spiritualist Union of Ireland conducted 76 or 10 per cent, with the remaining 5.9 per cent conducted by other religious groupings.

The largest number by location of same-sex marriages (39 per cent) in 2017 took place in the Dublin city area.

Overall, the average Irish marriage rate for 2017, at 4.6 per 1,000, dropped slightly from 4.8 in 2016, placing Ireland 13th among the EU’s 28 countries.

In 2017, the average age of both bride (34.1) and groom (36.1) was up on corresponding 2016 figures of 33.8, and 35.7.

In the past 50 years the average age of grooms in Ireland dropped from 28.8 years in 1967 to a low of 26.2 years in 1977 and increased to a high of 36.1 years in 2017.

A similar trend is evident for brides, with the average age decreasing from 25.8 in 1967 to 24.0 in 1977 and increasing to a high of 34.1 in 2017.

Average age

Where same-sex couples were concerned, the average age of the male partners in marriages remained similar at 40.3 in 2017 to 40.5 in 2016, while for female partners it went down slightly to 40.5 in 2017 from 41.0 in 2016.

In 2017 there were 11,219 (50.9 per cent Catholic marriage ceremonies in Ireland, 379 (1.7per cent) Church of Ireland ceremonies.

The Spiritualist Union of Ireland performed 1,159 (5.3 per cent) ceremonies and 1,120 (5.1 per cent) couples opted for other religious ceremonies.

In 2017, August was the most popular month for opposite sex marriages, with September the most popular for same-sex marriages.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times