FEWER people are going to a chapel to get married - in Limerick city, that is.
The latest records from the Central Statistics Office show that while Catholic marriages are the norm in the county Limerick, civil marriages are the prevailing trend in the city.
The figures show that there were 110 Catholic marriages in the city that year, in comparison to 521 in the county.
By contrast, there were 352 civil marriages in the city and just six in the county.
There were 10 Church of Ireland ceremonies across Limerick that year and two marriages of other religious denominations, which were not specified.
Overall, there were 463 marriages registered in the city and 538 marriages in county Limerick in 2008.
Nationally, however, the number of people getting married in 2008 has been the lowest record since 2001.
Overall, there were 22,187 marriages registered that year, with Roman Catholic ceremonies accounting for 72 per cent of all marriages, a significant drop from the 90 per cent rate of Catholic marriages recorded in 1996.
Meanwhile, the trend for getting married later in life than previous generations is confirmed in the latest CSO figures.
The average age of the groom in Limerick in 33.5 years, and the average age of a bride is 30-31.
Some 220 grooms in the county wed between the ages of 30-34 in 2008.
Most married couples in the county are now getting married when they are aged 30-34, and the city witnessed a similar trend with 78 couples wedding in that age bracket.
A further 99 grooms in the county were aged between 35-39.
The percentage of brides from the same area as the groom is hovering around 80-87 per cent in both the city and the county.
In Limerick in 2008 54 divorced men remarried, as well as 56 divorced women.
Six widowers and three widows also wed.
There were 163 divorce applications received in Limerick, but only 96 of those were granted.
There were 67 judicial separation applications received by the courts, with 39 granted, and just one nullity application received, but it was not granted.
Nationally, there were 3,630 divorces granted by the Circuit Court and by the High Court in 2008. This was a decrease of 54 on the 2007 figure.
August was the most popular month for marriage in 2008, when 16 per cent of marriages occurred. Marriages in July, August and September accounted for 39 per cent of marriages.
January continued to be the least popular month for marriage ceremonies with just three per cent of marriages occurring during that month.
Friday and Saturday were the most popular days of the week to get married with 73 per cent of marriages occurring on those days. The least popular day was Sunday when just over one per cent of marriages were recorded.
Ireland’s marriage rate is still higher than the European average and is on par with the Czech Republic, with Cyprus having the highest rate of marriage.