More middle-aged Irish women are exchanging vows with a much older husband, new figures show.
There has been a dramatic drop-off in the number of young Irish women marrying older men in the past two decades – but an increasing number of middle-aged women are walking up the aisle with older husbands.
A significant age gap appears to be commonplace among the most high-profile celebrity marriages.
George Clooney – formerly the world’s most eligible bachelor – and his human rights lawyer bride Amal Alamuddin weren’t bothered about their 17-year age gap when they married in Venice, Italy in 2014. She was 36 and he was 53.
South African swimmer Charlene Wittstock was 35 when she wed Prince Albert of Monaco, who was also 53.
And it’s clear Irish women in their mid- to late-30s are following the same pattern.
The number of women in their 20s opting to swap vows with a man more than 10 years older has plummeted by nearly 60pc from 607 in 2001 to 261. And women under 35 all follow the downward trend. But this is reversed when it comes to women in their late 30s.
A 50pc rise in Irish women between 35 and 39 years of age marrying men a decade or more older is recorded, from 145 in 2001 to 215 last year.
There were 119 unions between women in their 40s and men a decade or more older in age in 2001, almost doubling to 234 last year.
And the increase is even more pronounced in women in their 50s.
In 2001, 37 women in their 50s married men more than a decade older compared to 102 last year.
Overall, the figures show there has been a 6pc drop in women marrying men 10 years or more older than them in the last 16 years, from 1,212 marriage in 2001 to 1,138.
CSO figures show that in Ireland the number of teenage brides tying the knot with a husband who was 10 years or more older than them dropped from 49 in 2001 to just four marriages last year.
Irish men are more reluctant to walk down the aisle with a more mature woman.
The number of men marrying women a decade older than them is much lower with 220 tying the knot in 2001 compared to 165 last year.
Sixty-three were in their 20s while only 24 men in their 40s tied the knot with women 10 or more years older than them.
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