A world apart: mixed marriage in Northern Ireland

Year published: 2001

Wanda Wigfall-Williams and Gillian Robinson


Religion is an integral part of Northern Ireland, and as such has been the nexus of legal, social, and psychological conflict. It has been vital in its influence regarding the choice of marriage partner, the role of stereotyping the “other” and the effect on the ongoing processes of living, working, and learning together in daily life as a community. Cross-religious marriage can be viewed as one important avenue for improving relationships between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland. From a practical perspective, mixed marriages represent a blurring of ethnic distinctions in current and future generations. Furthermore, these marriages appear to serve as a symbolic contradiction to negative stereotypes as well as a source of positive familial contactbetween differing ethnic groups.