An interesting article that looked at the number of children born to unmarried mothers in various parishes in 18th and 19th century Ireland appeared in a 1979 edition of Irish Economic and Social History. One of the parishes selected for the study was Paulstown and Goresbridge. While the overall numbers of ‘illegitimate’ births, as they were called, was very small, there was a gradual increase from 1.1% in the 1821-1830 period to 2.4% in the 1841-1850 period. Possible reasons for this increase could include an actual increase in births to unmarried mothers or decreasing social stigma when it came to recording births as outside of marriage. It also must be remembered that there could be a correlation between the higher rate of births outside of marriage and the occurrence of The Famine in the 1841-1850 period.
Years: 1821-1830 / Births: 896 / Illegitimate: 10 / Percentage: 1.1
Years: 1831-1840 / Births: 2,023 / Illegitimate: 43 / Percentage: 2.1
Years: 1841-1850 / Births: 966 / Illegitimate: 23 / Percentage: 2.4
 Connolly, S.J. 1979. Illegitimacy and Pre-Nuptial Pregnancy in Ireland Before 1864: The Evidence of Some Catholic Parish Registers in Irish Economic and Social History, Vol 6, pp.9-24