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Getting Married in Ireland

ilkenny castle

Kilkenny Castle - photo by author

by Suzanne Barrett

Getting married in Ireland is complicated but possible. Here are some tips to help you get through the formalities from a distance.

Three months' notice
To marry in the Republic of Ireland, three months' written notice of the parties' intention to wed must be given to the registrar for the district in which you wish to be married. Occasionally, exceptions are given, but they must be applied for at the Circuit Family Court Office or the High Court Office. There is no cost for this service.

Residency is a must, whether for a religious ceremony or civil marriage, and requires at least one visit to Ireland prior to the actual ceremony to complete all the administrivia. Both parties must be over eighteen years of age on the actual wedding day to be married in the Republic of Ireland. To establish residency qualifications for marriage by license, one of the parties needs fifteen full days of residency, the other party need to reside in the area seven days before notice is served, and then the wedding can take place eight days later.

If the parties choose to get married without a license, the residency requirement is shortened (seven full days for each party), but the waiting period is much longer. Notice is served on the eighth day, but the marriage cannot take place until twenty-two days later. These requirements apply to the county of Dublin. Interested parties planning to be married elsewhere need to ask about the residency requirement in the district of their choice.

In all cases of civil weddings, both parties must make an appointment with the registrar in their county of choice and produce all necessary documents which might include: Birth Certificates, if divorced, a copy of the Divorce Absolute (in English) and Birth Certificate. There are two sets of registrars, one for Roman Catholic marriages and another for Protestant and civil marriages. A list of registrars for the former is obtained from the health board of the area concerned, while the other is made up of a list of solicitors in each county. (Ask for form FLA.1.96.) Both lists are available from:

The General Register Office
Joyce House, 8/11 Lombard Street East
Dublin 2, Ireland

After making the registration, the planning of the ceremony may commence. For marriage in a Catholic church, it will be necessary to establish some linkage with that particular parish and church. Some residency will be required, so immediately after the registration is made would be the time to contact the parish priest who will know details of any other diocese qualifications. Of particular importance is the fact that divorced persons may not marry in a Roman Catholic church; however a Church annulment permits a ceremony in the Church.

Marriages in a Roman Catholic church proceed by one of four means: by Episcopal license; after the publication of banns; by ordinary ecclesiastical license, or on production of a certificate from a register of civil marriages.

The process is a bit different for Church of Ireland marriages where at least one of the parties must be Protestant Episcopalian. It should be noted that the Church of Ireland strongly discourages persons coming from abroad just to get married in Ireland.

A civil ceremony is an alternative to a religious ceremony and is more administratively convenient, if lacking in atmosphere. Aside from the three months' notice of intent to marry, the residency requirements for the area in particular must be met.

Cost of the ceremony is relatively cheap--£32.50. This applies to both civil and religious ceremonies.

Listed below are some addresses which may be useful. Note the Dublin City and County Marriage Registrar's office is scheduled to move. It is not listed in the telephone directory, however, a recorded message with the new address and telephone number should be on the line, and letters will be forwarded to the new address.

Dublin City and County Marriage Registrar
31 Molesworth Street
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel.: (01) 676 3218

Circuit Family Court Office and High Court Office
Four Courts
Dublin 7, Ireland

Department of Foreign Affairs
80 St. Stephen's Green
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel.: (01) 478 8022

Further reading:

Requirements for Marriage in Ireland - US Embassy

Irish Wedding Planner

Weddings -

Wedding Dresses

Wedding Bands and Sets

Sheila McMahon's Irish Wedding

Until next time.

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