This is the first history of Irish divorce. Spanning the island of
Ireland over three centuries, it places the human experience of
marriage breakdown centre stage to explore the impact of a highly
restrictive and gendered law and its reform. It considers the
accessibility of Irish divorce as it moved from a parliamentary
process in Westminster, the Irish parliament and the Northern
Ireland parliament to a court-based process. This socio-legal
approach allows changing definitions of gendered marital roles and
marital cruelty to be assessed. In charting the exceptionalism of
Ireland's divorce provision in a European and imperial framework,
the study uncovers governmental reluctance to reform Irish divorce
law which spans jurisdictions and centuries. This was therefore not
only a law dictated by religious strictures but also by a
long-lived moral conservatism.
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