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Marital Separation in Contemporary Ireland

Women’s Experiences

Lucy Hyland

This book is based on detailed interviews with a group of Irish women who have experienced marital separation. It links the women’s accounts with literature on the values and beliefs about marriage, women and family which were prevalent when they were growing up in Ireland in the 1950s and 1960s. The book chronicles their young adult years, the early stages of their marriages and the events and processes which led to their separations. It explores the women’s emotional reactions at the time of separating, the types of support which they found beneficial and the personal, social and financial consequences of having separated.
Although the book is written from a sociological perspective, the combination of theory and practical insights make it accessible to a wide variety of readers. It aims to generate discussion and deepen understanding of an area into which there has been minimal research in Ireland and which poses a range of important questions for future researchers, practitioners and policy-makers.
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First and foremost, I would like to thank the fourteen women who told me their stories of separation. My hope is that I have done them justice and that together we have drawn attention to what was a previously unseen and poorly understood aspect of Irish women’s lives.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to my students and colleagues at Carlow College for their on-going assistance and encouragement. I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr Jacqui O’Riordan, for her guidance throughout the writing of the original dissertation. I would also like to thank the staff and students of the School of Applied Social Studies in UCC, for their support throughout the DSocSc programme.

This book could not have been completed without the support of my family and friends. I would like to thank my brother James for his help with proof-reading and for his invaluable feedback and advice. I would like to thank my brothers, Pat and William, for always being at the end of a phone if I needed them. I would like to thank my two children, Fiona and Jack, who had to live with me through the ups and downs that have been my life for the past seven years. I would like to thank my friends who have continued to stay in touch and to help me in so many ways. I have drawn huge strength from knowing that my sister, my mother, my father and my friend...

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