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The rural Irish bachelor(7 Posts)
I visited Ireland a lot when younger and maintain links now. The small town I usually go to has and always has had very large numbers of never married men who don't ever appear to have had a relationship with anyone. I was remarking on this to an Irish friend recently and she said this is kind of a tradition in Ireland with links to Catholicism, women leaving for the cities and farm inheritance. I know China is very worried about social instability due to their massive numbers of men who can never get married due to the 1 child policy and gender preference. Perhaps the numbers just aren't on this scale but there doesn't seem to be this worry in Ireland. Even in graduate city dwellers there seem to be and lot of Irish men aged 40 plus who aren't married and seem late starters or perhaps just not interested in women. There's even a couple of examples among the London Irish I know from my time living there. Just wondered if anyone knew about this. Obviously if they are happy and functioning then fine but I was interested to find out.
"not interested in women"
Although same sex marriage has been legal in Ireland since 2015, there are large parts - especially rurally - that are (at least in part due to the Catholic Church) deeply homophobic.
So yes - some of those men are gay and have been unable to openly be so, or marry (up until 2015) the love that they should have been able to.
There is also plenty of single women too who appear too! I have a number of (grand) aunts and uncles who are single and I don't think they are all gay. (I also have a massive extended family). I think its more to do with smaller communities and the historic high regard for marriage which means casual dating was never really a thing. Traditionally, you would meet someone in your late teens/ early twenties, hit it off then marry within a couple of years. A couple of my single aunts/uncles had early relationships which were called off for whatever reason and they never moved on from it. Divorce was non existent so if you missed your chance in the dancehalls of your youth you were pretty much out of the game. Also if you didn't fancy settling down early then you were pretty much set up single for life. Smaller towns where everyone knows everyone else and poor transport links made discrete dating impossible so I think for many they were victims of the culture rather than all closet homosexuals!
In more modern times I think there still the expectation that if you're in a relationship you've got to be thinking of lifelong commitment which may not suit everyone. Internet dating is also less appealing if you're in a more rural community as its not accepted as being mainstream just yet so there is still a lot of stigma around it. I think this will change in time however with younger generations being more accepting of online dating and casual relationships. Also with divorce on the rise the dating pool for older people is on the rise!
Ladypie, I did say some may be gay - not all!
I agree with all your points.
I also don't think it's all a rural Ireland thing, just more noticeable in small communities where you know everyone - and there home situation! Especially if it's somewhere people don't move away from.
I'm in the UK. I have a 52yo brother who has never had a relationship. No-one on his home town or his current town know it's been "forever" as they haven't known him his whole life. I'm one of 5 - if you want to use that as a sample (and that wouldn't be very robust, but still!) that could be 20% of the population who are like this.
Come to think of it, from my parents siblings, the never married ratio is 1 in 4 and 1 in 7.
I'm rural (ish) my late df had a couple of spinster aunts, I tend their graves because no one else does. It makes me feel quite sad sometimes. A couple of generations ago people here married local and they where usually related in some way, probably due to transport etc. I'm not sure if not marrying had anything to do with sexuality, probably more missing the chance. People where expected to care for parents and look after the home and I would say it wasn't unusual for at least one adult child to not marry and take on this role. The idea of inheritance is a good point, maybe they wanted to keep land together, but the eldest son would normally inherit anyway.
My catholic grandparents were from Ireland, DGF had two older sisters, both never married. DGM also had two siblings who never married. Of their five children (my DM) two have never married. My DM had very prudish values around relationships (she didn't cope well with a couple of wayward teenage daughters) Luckily me and my sister have shook of the suppression of our elders.
I grew up in small-town Ireland. I think you have a point about people being a bit less likely to have serial relationships (obviously not saying this applies to everyone). As people don't move on as much, you don't get as many new entrants on the market down the line, so to speak.
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