| 1.6°C Dublin

Birth rate soars

Ireland's birth rate has soared to one of its highest levels in more than a century.

Latest official figures show 73,996 babies were born during 2008, the largest number in any one year since 1980.

Discounting the most recent record, the last time Ireland saw so many newborns was in 1892.

The Central Statistics Office (CSO) said the most popular age for Irish women giving birth was between 30 and 34.

Ireland continues to have the highest fertility rate of all 27 European Union member states.

A third of all births in Ireland were to unmarried parents, while just over a fifth were to non-Irish mothers.

PA Media