Perhaps one of the most contested social institutions in the Republic of Ireland is that of the family. While early anthropological research treated rural Irish families as something of an oddity, the Irish Free State saw fit to transform the Irish family into an ideal. As a result, the hetereosexual marital family unit was written into the nationalist narrative as well as the Irish Constitution. Consequently, only this type of family is recognized and supported by the state. Census data continues to affirm the prevalence of this conventional nuclear family. However, recent social and economic change, such as the introduction of divorce and the social acceptance of single motherhood, has facilitated the emergence of different family forms which have been accepted by Irish society.