In recent years, there have been significant changes to the ways in which Irish citizenship is defined and understood. In this article we argue that these changes to citizenship rely on legally articulated understandings of the relationship between people and place that are particular and restrictive, but that are also mutable and subject to change. We examine the ways in which this relationship has changed, with particular reference to the State, the Family and Woman. Using insights from critical geographies of the law, scale and mobility, we also highlight ways in which this relationship may be challenged. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.