Medieval courtship dating
The church reflected this division and was split into two sections, one inter Ang/icos (among the Anglo-Irish), the other inter Hibernicos (among the Gaelic Irish).We must therefore investigate marital behaviour in the two parts of Ireland, the section of the country under English law, and the Gaelic Irish area where the old brehon law still held sway.
A number of cases were initiated by Gaelic Irish women who sought to have their husbands restored to them, sometimes after years of separation. She had been dismissed by her husband, Manus 6 Catha-in, without any court judgement and replaced by a concubine.
The ‘private’ celebration of marriage had obvious disadvantages, particularly if the partners subsequently disagreed. Yet because many people believed that they could regulate their marriages for themselves, clandestine unions remained common and, inevitably, produced more disputes than those which observed all the formalities laid down by the church.
The church also defined those impediments which prevented individuals from validly contracting marriage.
Thus Irish law on marriage permitted a man to keep a number of concubines, allowed divorce at will followed by the remarriage of either partner, and took no account of canonical prohibitions regarding consanguinity or affinity.
It is not surprising to find, therefore, that one of the benefits which Pope Alexander III hoped might accrue from Henry II’s visit to Ireland in 1171-2 was a reformation In Irish marriage customs. 1395), had twenty sons by eight mothers and Toirdhealbach 6 Domhnaill, lord of Tir Conaill had eighteen sons by ten different women.