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"Marriage is a subject of central importance to the family historian. Without it there would in fact be no family history - or at least not of a kind that most people would wish to enquire into too closely.
Today marriage, in America and Europe at least, is primarily a personal matter, an arrangement between two individuals. But in Ireland, up to the relatively recent past, that has not been the case.
This was a predominantly rural society, where land, parcelled out into small family farms, was the central resource.
As a result marriage, with all its implications for the transmission of such land from one generation to the next, was something to be carefully planned and organised, and often a source of jealousy, apprehension and conflict."
This article looks at the patterns of marriage in Ireland, and also examines how marriage has changed over the years.