When situated in the wider European context, ‘the Irish family’ has undergone a process of profound transformation and rapid change in very recent decades. Recent data cites a significant increase in one parent households and a high non-marital birth rate for instance alongside the emergence of cohabitation, divorce, same sex families and reconstituted families. At the same time, the majority of children in Ireland still live in a two-parent family based on marriage and the divorce rate in Ireland is comparatively lower than other European countries. 21st century family life is, in reality, characterised by continuity and change in the Irish context.

This book seeks to understand, interpret and theorise family life in Ireland by providing a detailed analysis of historical change, demographic trends, fertility and reproduction, marriage, separation and divorce, sexualities, children and young people, class, gender, motherhood, intergenerational relations, grandparents, ethnicity, globalisation, technology and family practices. A comprehensive analysis of key developments and trends over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is provided.

chapter 3|9 pages


ByLinda Connolly

chapter 1|29 pages

Locating the Irish family

Towards a plurality of family forms?
ByLinda Connolly

chapter 2|15 pages

Marriage, fertility and social class in twentieth-century Ireland

ByCarmel Hannan

chapter 3|16 pages

The Family in Ireland in the new millennium

ByTony Fahey

chapter 4|16 pages

Family and the meaning of life in contemporary Ireland

ByTom Inglis

chapter 5|20 pages

A premature farewell to gender?

Young people ‘doing boy/girl'
ByPat O’Connor

chapter 6|18 pages

Non-sectarian mothering in Belfast

The emotional quality of normative change
ByLisa Smyth

chapter 7|16 pages

‘One of the best members of the family'

Continuity and change in young children's relationships with their grandparents
ByRuth Geraghty, Jane Gray, David Ralph

chapter 8|19 pages

Children, cousins and clans

The role of extended family and kinship in the lives of children in returning Irish migrant families
ByCaitríona Ní Laoire

chapter 9|14 pages

‘Going Home' To Where the Heart Is

Mixed International Families in the Republic of Ireland
ByRebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain

chapter 10|15 pages

Staying Connected

Irish lesbian and gay narratives of family
ByRóisín Ryan-Flood

chapter 11|20 pages

Untangling the Wired Family

ByCiarán McCullagh