This is the first history of Irish divorce. Spanning the island of Ireland over three centuries, it places the human experience of marriage breakdown centre stage to explore the impact of a highly restrictive and gendered law and its reform. It considers the accessibility of Irish divorce as it moved from a parliamentary process in Westminster, the Irish parliament and the Northern Ireland parliament to a court-based process. This socio-legal approach allows changing definitions of gendered marital roles and marital cruelty to be assessed. In charting the exceptionalism of Ireland’s divorce provision in a European and imperial framework, the study uncovers governmental reluctance to reform Irish divorce law which spans jurisdictions and centuries. This was therefore not only a law dictated by religious strictures but also by a long-lived moral conservatism.