Statistics published on Monday have revealed a sea-change in birth rates in Ireland. The number of babies born in land of St.Patrick last year was the highest since 1896.
There were 75,065 births registered in 2008, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) said, with the fertility rate up among all age groups between 20 and 49.
In addition, Ireland's total period fertility rate (TPFR) reached 2.1 -- the level at which the population would replace itself in the long run, ignoring migration -- for the first time since 1990.
The CSO said 42 percent of births last year were to first-time mothers and just over 33 percent of births were to unmarried mothers.
In 1896, there were 75,332 births registered across Ireland.