Monday, March 28, 2011

Jacinta & Cillian

It was a day by the seaside on Saturday as Jacinta & Cillian got married in Tullaghan before we headed on to the beautiful Lough Eske Castle Hotel in Donegal. Lough Eske recently won the weddingsonline.ie award for Ireland's Best Wedding Venue, so I was looking forward to working there for the first time.

Jacinta's house was full of hustle and bustle as everyone got ready for the big day, so I slipped away for a few minutes and popped into Bundoran, where Cillian and his groomsmen were settling their nerves with a quiet pint in Brennans. After the ceremony, we took a stroll along the beach - Jacinta, Martina, Antoinette, Olivia and Bronagh had planned ahead and swapped their high heels for flip flops. Much more practical for walking on sand.

After we got back to Lough Eske, best man Shane showed that he's not just a pretty face when he strapped on his accordian and joined in the trad session that was in full swing at the drinks reception. His fingers were really flying up and down the keyboard - he's a serious musician.

I often joke about West of Ireland men not being expressive of their emotions whether for romantic photographs or in their speeches. That certainly didn't apply to Cillian - his love and affection for Jacinta was very obvious, even before he told us all in his moving speech that had the audience reaching for the tissues to wipe away a little tear.

Michael O'Donovan was on video and The Elastic Band got them dancing. No doubt Shane played another few tunes later too....

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Carol & Dave

It was destination Westport and Knockranny House on Friday for Carol & Dave's wedding. This was one I'd been looking forward to, as I'd met Carol & Dave and Carmel, Carol's mother and Catriona the bridesmaid and Major the dog on different occasions over the past year, so we'd got to know each other pretty well. I'm not sure how Major feels about Carol marrying Dave, but he'd be disappointed to think he might not be the No.1 man in her life I'm sure. He looked happy in his wedding bow anyway.

Dave was the coolest groom I've ever met at the church door. Usually, with a few minutes to go before the ceremony, even the calmest of men are rattling in their boots, but there wasn't a sign of nerves from Dave. Then again, as an international boxer, holder of three all-Ireland titles and a World Title at the Police and Fire Fighters Championships he's probably been in the ring with tougher opponents than Carol!

The weather held for most of the day except for a few showers. The one disappointment was that the beautiful vintage Daimler wedding car couldn't travel fast enough for us to make it to Wesport Harbour for some photos. Instead, we used the grounds of Knockranny House, with Croagh Patrick in the background.

Anna was with me again and helped me not to leave any equipment behind anywhere, as well as being on hand to tie dresses, adjust bouquets and do anything that needed doing, as well as taking pictures. Carol's beautiful dress was by Maggie Sottero, Tommy Coppinger was as professional and discreet as always on video, while the Daimler came from U2R1 Cars and The Elastic Band were getting the crowd on the dancefloor later.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Natasha & Mohamed

I had a lovely intimate wedding in Kilronan Castle on Friday when Natasha and Mohamed got married, with a couple of dozen close family and friends in attendance.

It rained all day, but that didn't dampen anyone's spirits. After living in Egypt for the past three years though, Natasha has obviously acclimatised and was feeling the cold outside the castle. It's definitely warmer in Sharm el-Sheikh than Keadue on a March afternoon. As a photographer, I always like to get outside if possible, but the weather really doesn't matter at a venue like Kilronan, where there are so many different interior locations to take pictures.

As always, Samantha and Recep looked after everyone in the hotel, the Innisfree String Quartet provided the music during the ceremony while Mary Duignan played piano in the Palm Court over champagne and canap├ęs.

Mohamed asked me to take a formal portrait which will be used to create a large painting when he and Natasha return to Egypt. That's one of my efforts at it in the last picture, taken in the Spa in Kilronan. I hope it fits the bill.

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Emma & Kieran

While the rest of the country was heading for the polling booths to give Fianna Fail a kicking, I was heading for The Claddagh in Galway for Emma & Kieran's wedding. It was a nice bright morning, and I arrived to a very mellow, relaxed house a couple of hours before the ceremony. There seemed to be lots of time for a change, and I even got to the Church before Kieran and his Groomsmen showed up.

The relaxed theme continued for the ceremony, conducted by Fr Diarmuid Hogan, Chaplain of NUI Galway, where both Emma & Kieran work. The priest or celebrant of a wedding can make a huge difference to how the couple and the guests enjoy the experience, and Diarmuid is one of the very best I've come across. Add to that the brilliant playing of Ronan Browne and it made for a wonderful occasion. Ronan played uilleann pipes, low whistle, tin whistle and a range of other flutes and whistles that resounded around the Church and touched everybody present.

It's often in the moments before and after the ceremony that you really see peoples' emotions come to the fore though. As the bride stands in the Church doorway, or reaches the top of the aisle. Or the giddy excitement of walking back down the aisle together to applause from the guests as you realise for the first time "I'm actually married now!"

After the ceremony, we had a quick walk along a very blustery Silver Strand as the sun began to set before heading back to The Meyrick. There was one important stop to make on the way though, for Emma & Kieran to cast their votes in Galway West, which are still being counted now, four days on. I stayed to photograph the speeches, which included a very entertaining one from Kieran, who may be considering a new career as a Wedding Suit Consultant. Not to mention Eoin the Best Man's new direction as a male model...

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Emma's Vote

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