As It Happens

'There must be something in the water': 30 babies born in 1 year in tiny Irish village

Between February and December of 2016, 30 babies were born in the tiny village of just 550 residents.
Laura Edwards holds her baby Kate, the 24th baby born in Rathmullan in just 10 months. (Katrina Tasker/Rathmullan Resource Centre)

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The tiny seaside village of Rathmullan, Ireland, had a population of just 550 resident, so it was quite a surprise when multiple baby bumps started appearing around town. 

It was even more surprising when a grand total of 30 babies — 15 girls and 15 boys — were born between February and December of last year. 

Laura Edwards is the mother of baby No. 24. She spoke with As It Happens host Carol Off about her town's peculiar baby boom. Here is part of their conversation:

Whenever I announced my pregnancy somebody turned to me and said, "There must be something in the water."- Laura Edwards

CO: Laura what's going on in Rathmullen?

LE: Some people say literally, because we are a coastal town and a coastal village, some people say it could be something in the water.

Others say it was because we had a bad winter the previous year and there was nothing else to do at home.

Other people are saying it's because of the recession — because Ireland's out of the recession now and people can afford, you know, if they were looking to have that third child.

CO: So now you welcomed the 24th baby of the year. Is that right?

A group of parents and their babies who were born in 2016 in Rathmullan gather for a Father's Day celebration. (Katrina Tasker/Rathmullan Resource Centre)

LE: That's right. She was born on the 8th of November.

CO: When did you realize there was this baby boom going on in Rathmullan?

LE: Just before I announced my pregnancy. My eldest son is at the local primary school here and every time I'd go to collect him I'd hear that someone else was pregnant, and someone else was pregnant. All the moms, we were all making a joke and just saying oh my god we were going to have to build an additional class on.

CO: Did you talk to your doctor? Was the local hospital aware that there were so many women who were pregnant?

LE: No, but two of my friends ... turned to me and said, "We don't want to steal your limelight, but we're expecting too."

So it was actually lovely because it was three of us and we were all due within a week of each other.  And so we were actually due to all be in hospital all at the same time, but my babies always arrive two weeks late, so I was like, "Girls, don't be holding out for me. You go ahead and have your babies whenever you're ready."

Families were invited to a gathering for all babies born in 2016 in Rathmullan. (Katrina Tasker/Rathmullan Resource Centre)

CO: How small is Rathmullen, the town?

LE:  It's very small. It's rural Ireland, you may say, everybody knows everybody else. So we were all making a joke of everyone being pregnant and that's why whenever I announced my pregnancy, somebody turned to me and said, "There must be something in the water in Rathmullan. I'm not going to drink it."

CO: You all got together for Father's Day, all these babies and their parents?

LE: We were all invited by the local resource centre. All the parents got an invitation emailed to them just saying we're having coffee and a few nibbles and we want all the babies who were born in 2016 to attend this.

It was such a nice gesture because not only are they the 30 babies, they're going to be going to school together, they're going possibly to college together, they're going to be graduating in and around the same years. For all we know, some of those pretty babies, they could end up marrying.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. For more, listen to our conversation with Laura Edwards. 


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