Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kilronan Castle Wedding Fair, Sunday 27th Feb

Just a quick reminder that I'll be in Kilronan Castle this Sunday. While I'm fully-booked for 2011, I am taking bookings for 2012. So if you're planning your big day, drop by and say hello.

Kilronan Card

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tina & Buster

My last wedding of the Christmas season was also my first of 2011, as Tina & Buster got married in Kilronan Castle. This was definitely a wedding with a difference, as they'd travelled 12,000 miles to Ireland from Tauranga in New Zealand for the event. And it was a small wedding, witnessed only by Sam and Claire from Kilronan, Aisling the Celebrant, and yours truly.

The short civil ceremony and lack of guests meant I had lots of time with the Tina and Buster, something that's often in short supply at a traditional Irish wedding. It gave me the chance to take some more considered shots, as well as the usual natural off-the-cuff pics and standard portraits. It also meant that when we were finished with the photography, we could sit down and have a very enjoyable glass of champagne together, before Tina & Buster went in for dinner. It was then that I found out that Buster isn't a Kiwi at all, but is in fact, a Pom from the south coast. Tina says he's still got an English accent, but he sounded the real deal to me.

The big party took place in Tauranga a couple of weeks back and I emailed a slideshow for Buster and Tina to show their guests. Technology is amazing, even if I did have to go to Denis Dodd's pub in Boyle to get a strong enough broadband signal to send it. Sitting over a pint of Guinness while your laptop zaps data around the planet... Even 10 years ago, that would have been hard to imagine.

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Sile & Gerard

December 30th brought a short run up the road to Ballymote for Sile & Gerard's wedding. Unusually for me, I hadn't met the groom before the wedding day, so dropped into Gerard's house on the way to Sile's. The lads were just having breakfast and were nice and relaxed, despite the fact their water supply was still frozen. Necessity is the mother of invention though, and they'd filled up a big water tank which meant they could all get a shower and a shave in before heading for the church.

After the ceremony, we had a little wander over to Ballymote Castle. After doing a few shots with the Castle as the backdrop, I noticed a futuristic looking tunnel underneath the railtracks. It seemed a bit more urban grit than the usual bridal backdrops, but I like the result nonetheless.

Then it was back to the Landmark Hotel, where we received the usual warm welcome from Irish Wedding Co-Ordinator of the Year 2009 and now 2010, Patricia. It was just announced last night that Patricia has won the title for the second year in a row. Nobody has ever achieved this before, but anyone who has worked with Patricia knows how much effort she puts in to make sure her couples have a perfect day, and that the award is fully-deserved.

Sile had a little lie-down in The Black Mint Bar before dinner, and after that the party really got going.

As we're in the middle of the General Election campaign, I couldn't resist posting the shot of the bridal party walking over to the Castle. You'll see in the background a poster of Declan Ganley, still up since the Lisbon referendum. At the time, there was talk of him forming a new party and becoming a force in Irish politics. Anyone heard of him lately?





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Cliodhna & Enda

After Stephen & Sarah's Humanist ceremony, I was back on more familiar territory for Cliodhna & Enda's wedding. The Church was Rathcormac in Sligo, which has great light, but a Parish Priest, Fr Donnelly, who is not all that fond of photographers. I've never had any problem working there, but discretion is important. Cliodhna broke with tradition by choosing a dramatic burgundy red dress with a big wow factor that really turned people's heads as she came up the aisle. I'm not sure what Fr Donnelly thought of it.

Like a lot of bride's houses on the morning of a wedding, Cliodhna's was hectic, with lots of comings and goings - her Dad John collecting the flowers, Kathleen making the tea, and bridesmaids texting madly. Things were calmer when I got to the church, until my main camera failed just as Cliodhna arrived. A quick change to one of my two back-up cameras meant all was well, but that's not something you want to happen regularly.

As the wedding was at 2 o'clock, the light was fading by the time we got to Tobernalt for some pictures, so the flashgun was strapped onto a tripod and called into use, before we headed on to Castle Dargan and the evening's festivities. Just before I left, Enda took up position behind the bar. If he looks pretty comfortable there, it's because he owned and ran a bar in Boston for 10 years before he came home to marry the girl of his dreams....






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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sarah & Stephen

My first post-Christmas wedding was just up the road in Cromleach Lodge, an old favourite. Sarah and Stephen got married there in a Humanist ceremony conducted by Brian Whiteside. I've done quite a few civil ceremonies over the years, but this was a first for me. What it lacked in the pomp and ceremony a Church ritual brings, it more than made up for with it's immediacy and intimacy. As well as coming up the aisle together, Sarah and Stephen had written their own vows, which made them very special. There was hardly a dry eye in the house, including mine. For anyone interested in a Humanist ceremony, you can find out more at

Another first was that Sarah had a bridesman rather than a bridesmaid, with her brother Chris doing the honours. He probably had to put up with a few too many wisecracks from the guests, but carried off his role with aplomb, as well as looking dashing in a nattily-tailored suit.

With emigration in the news again, it's good to hear of people moving abroad for the right reasons occasionally. Sarah completed her PHD in Trinity and has just moved to a prestigious Philadelphia University to carry out advanced research into circadian rhythms. As an engineer specialising in wind energy, Stephen might have preferred Chicago, but with his knowledge & experience he’ll be snapped up.

Any couple who are as willing to throw themselves into everything they do as Sarah & Stephen are will always go places. There aren’t many brides who'll cast off their stoles in sub-zero temperatures, or trudge across a muddy field just because the photographer says “that’s an interesting tree”, but Sarah didn’t bat an eyelid. I met them again the next morning, having left my tripod in Cromleach, and they looked and sounded fresh as daisies. Impressive.











Aoife & Tomás

The cold snap had really taken hold by the time Aoife & Tomás's wedding came around. As it was down in Galway City and road conditions were lethal, I had an early start. It was -14 as I was starting out, which made me very glad that last year's snow had prompted me to swap the trusty old Volvo for a Land Rover, to make sure I can always get to the church on time.

I'd only met Aoife a few weeks earlier, but was really looking forward to photographing her wedding. I'd been hoping for a while that someone would ask me to do an entirely black & white album, and at last, I'd found her. But we had such beautiful warm light down on Silver Strand that I think one or two pictures may have to be in colour after all. Check out that sunset - and it's true, you really can, "at the closing of your day... sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh, and see the sun go down on Galway Bay". That was after a quick stroll in the woods, for which Aoife had wisely brought her Ugg Boots.

The Uggs were obviously more comfortable than Tomás's ring, which you can see him fiddling with in the church. To be fair, it's the first thing that 99% of grooms do when they sit down after the ceremony. It can take a while to get used to, lads...

Earlier, as I nipped down from Aoife's house to catch up with the boys, someone told me to remark to Tomás how much he looks like X-Factor winner Shane Ward. It seems it's a bit of a running joke around Knocknacarra. And when I look at the pictures now, I think this was definitely something of a celebrity lookalike wedding, as Aoife's pictures remind me of a younger, prettier, Demi Moore.

The reception was held in the chic boutique hotel, The Twelve in Barna, a venue I hadn't worked in before, but would be very happy to revisit.











Monday, February 7, 2011

Fiona & John

The snow had arrived for Fiona & John's wedding in December. It was my third wedding in Bornacoola Church in 2010, and the reception venue was one I know well too, the beautiful Lough Rynn Castle Hotel. Fiona was getting ready in the bridal suite of the hotel. When I arrived, she was still working on her speech, then it was time for make-up, expertly applied by Grainne from Enhance.

One of the reasons why couples choose me is because they want relaxed photographs, rather than elaborately set up shots or traditional wedding poses. Fiona & John were no exceptions. And on the day they were both very natural and comfortable in front of the camera. They had fun with each other and their friends, and this shines through in the photographs. We even had a gatecrasher who added to the craic when he abandoned his evening walk to have his photograph taken instead.

After the freezing conditions of Leitrim, a honeymoon in St Lucia sounded very good to me....