Matters of Deceit

Breach of Promise to Marry Cases in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Limerick

By Maria Luddy

In Irish history, marriage was of huge significance to women and men for social, emotional, and economic reasons. Married women had greater status than unmarried women. The most acceptable way to form families was through marriage and, as in all time periods, both men and women desired children. Economic stability - though not necessarily guaranteed by marriage - was an inducement to marriage for many women, especially in a society where paid employment opportunities for them were limited. A breach of promise to marry is a fundamental break of a promise - by either a man or woman - to carry through a marriage. However, as this book shows, breach of promise cases were not always straightforward. Exploring the history of breach of promise cases in Ireland allows an insight into courtship rituals. It reveals the significance of monetary considerations in marriage settlements and the value that was placed on women's - and men's - reputations. (Series: Maynooth Studies in Local History - Number 96)

64 pages

Publication Date: 10/20/2011
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781846822940