NEW legal statistics have revealed the counties with the highest and lowest rates of divorce in Ireland.
The figures, from an analysis of applications to the Circuit Court between 2000 and 2017, show Carlow's current rate of 1.2 divorce applications per 1,000 population has now surpassed that of Dublin.
Dublin previously had the highest rate of divorce applications from 2010 to 2014 and has been the only Irish county consistently above the national rate since records began.
However in 2017, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Longford, Sligo, Westmeath and Wexford all had a divorce rate higher than Dublin.
Three counties – Donegal, Cavan and Kildare – have been continuously below the national rate since 2000, while Leitrim was found to have lowest rate nationwide.
Overall, 68,453 applications for divorce were made in Ireland between 2000 and 2017.
Divorce only became legal in the country in 1996, following a referendum the year before in which the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution was passed by a majority vote of just 50.3%.
At present, couples must have lived apart for four of the five previous years before a court can grant a divorce.
But this coming Friday, a referendum will ask voters if they wish to remove this condition or keep it enshrined in the Irish Constitution.
Irish counties with highest divorce rates since 2000:
Irish counties with lowest divorce rates since 2000: