An exploration of grandparenting in Ireland

Fiona Murphy

    Research output: Types of ThesisMaster's Thesis


    This thesis is based on original research that carried out qualitative interviews with families in Carlow and its surrounding areas. Carlow and its hinterland provide a mix of the traditional and modern with the transient lives of commuters and three generations living in close proximity. The aim of the research was to provide an insight into grandparenting by providing a voice for each generation in the family. This involved the interviewing of three generations; grandparent, parent and grandchild within one family unit. The inclusion of the child’s voice in research was deemed especially vital not only as it enriches and provides depth to the research but in recognition of the current trends in sociology to ‘rediscover’ childhood (Corsaro 1998). It will be asserted that in the light of this, it is necessary to include children in all research that affects their lives especially family research. The research methodology consisted of qualitative interviews with three-generation families, specifically seven family units. The use of the families’ life stories (Giele & Elder (eds) 1998) and individual family members’ narratives are used here to formulate a perspective on family life and grandparenting in Ireland. This is considered not only useful in portraying the ‘bigger issues’ but also as intrinsic to the presentation of this research. This research did not want to lose the participant’s voice when presenting its findings. The transition into grandparenthood specifically whether it is expected or unexpected can often cause and influence an individual to assess their life regarding aging and their choice of grandparenting role. The research shows how certain grandparents especially the maternal grandparents’ (mostly grandmothers) role is becoming ever more increasing and encompassing. Grandparents are seen in this research as not only childminders to their grandchildren but as a major financial support to their own children, pseudo-parents to lone parent families and separated families and pseudo-spouses/partners to their single and separated children.
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • Hogan, Fergus, Supervisor
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2009


    • Grandparenting


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