Monday, May 16, 2011

Olivia & Paul

I was back in Meath for the second time in a couple of weeks on Friday. This time it was off to Olivia's house in Oldcastle. Struggling to follow my directions, I stopped and asked a friendly young man in a car. Turned out he was Olivia's brother Ollie, who led me right to the door. Inside, everything was calm - hair and make-up almost finished, and this was almost three hours before the ceremony. The only signs that there might be a few nerves around were the emergency supplies that the Child of Prague seemed to be minding on the window. There was so much time that I even took an extra trip down to the very picturesque St. Mary’s Church in Moylagh where I met Paul and the lads, who had arrived nice and early too.

The ceremony was lovely, with Sister Act providing gospel-style music throughout. The big surprise though, was from Fr Ray Kelly. At the point in the ceremony when there is often a reflection, the church was filled with the sound of an acoustic guitar, followed by the opening lines of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. I knew it wasn't Cohen, it sounded a bit like Jeff Buckley or Rufus Wainwright, but when I turned around, saw it was, in fact, Fr Kelly. He even doctored the lyrics to personalise the song to Olivia & Paul. It's a difficult song to sing, but he powered through it, hitting all the high notes with ease. Later, someone told me Fr Ray has made a couple of albums, but they might have been winding me up. He got a big round of applause from the congregation anyway.

Then it was off to Clonabreany House, another venue that was new to me. It is a beautifully sited country house set in rolling countryside among lots of mature trees. The old stables have been converted into guest accomodation, and the marquee was perfect for the late evening sunshine. Little flowergirl Maisie couldn't wait for the dancing to start, so took to the floor early. Olivia and Paul had a stroll around the grounds before dinner, during which I took a few photographs. Finally, I have to include an image of my cousin Stephen, Paul's best man, delivering his funny and entertaining speech.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Killaraght Crew

It's been a long time since I posted anything other than weddings here, which is something I'd like to change over the coming months. One of the things I've discovered about running a fairly new business is that there's always something more important to do than to wander out and take some photographs for pleasure. Of course, looking after a menagerie of creatures, playing regular football, and trying to get the gardens back in shape after another tough winter all take up a bit of time too.

So the other Sunday as we sat outside in the late evening sunshine I grabbed the camera for 10 minutes and had a walk around. The light quality was great, as we were in the middle of that beautiful spell of weather which seems to have ended now. The apple blossom was out, and the birds and animals were content.

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Most of my brides and grooms will have met Ted by now. He always likes to check out visitors and show off to them. Many who didn't will have seen him on The Late Late Show. He has also been appointed as The Boyle Celtic Legends official mascot.

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Ted's wife Hattie is quite a character - she has an extraordinary range of sounds - whistles, clicks, shrills, shrieks and contented little warbles. On warm days when the studio doors are open she often wanders in to check how the work is going or have a little snooze.

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Pivo makes it quite clear that he's more interested in getting his hard feed than having his photo taken after a long day in the fields.

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After the Arctic temperatures of December there have been lots of casualties - cracked pots and dead plants. All three of the eucalyptus trees are goners, even one which was over 20 feet high.

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Lulu on the prowl

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Lily Allen caught redhanded eating the flowers - again.

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Tess has calmed down a little bit, but if she doesn't get at least one good walk a day there's trouble..... One of my grooms for next year, Martin,was the youngest ever winner of One Man & His Dog. I'd like to see what he could do with Tessie.

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When the pond ran dry in the heat, Digby & CJ insisted on their own paddling pool.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Michelle & Dan

The fabulous weather continued on Saturday, 20 degrees and sunshine, just what everyone hopes for on their wedding day - and perfect for enjoying the grounds and gardens at Lough Rynn Castle. First though, I headed to Michelle's house on Cairns Hill where it really was all happening. Niall Magahy was filming, Katie Bannon was hard at work doing the make up - I just had to include a close up of Michelle's great green and gold eyes. The pink champagne was flowing, and Chief Bridesmaid Stef was prescribing little nerve-steadying brandies to anybody who'd take one before we left for the church.

Meanwhile, down the road where the lads were staying, things were much more serene. Everyone was suited and booted in lots of time, with the only cause for concern the fact that Shane had had his top lip nicked at the barbers during his hot shave. A touch of make-up did the trick though, and we all agreed nobody would slag him for wearing L'Oreal - because he's worth it.

En route to Lough Rynn Michelle & Dan popped into Derreen Woods - the bluebells are only out for two weeks a year so it would be a shame to drive past them. The bridal party travelled on in style in Michael McMahon's stretch limo, before switching to alternative transport. If Aidan had been on a public road he'd have been pulled for overloading that golf cart I'm sure.

Stef, Trish, Kim and Debbie looked great in their four shades of pink, but even so, they couldn't outshine Michelle, who was stunning in her Jenny Packham dress. I couldn't finish without mentioning Michelle's Dad Tony, who was so proud of hs daughter - you can see him in the mirror below, and who gave one of the nicest, most heartfelt speeches I've ever heard from a bride's father.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Sandra & Ray

After my away-day on Thursday, I was very much at home on Friday for Sandra & Ray's wedding in Boyle and The Landmark. I'd photographed Sandra's sister Joan's wedding for IWP four years ago, so I knew some of the characters involved. It was great to see Joan & Gerry's son Donnacha acting as the page boy, though his little sister Roisin is still a bit too young to be a flower girl. That honour fell to Martha Kate, who loved the flower basket Norma Duignan made for her, and carried it around all day.

St Joseph's is an unusual church in that it is really bright with loads of natural light, which makes photographing the ceremony easy. Afterwards, we had a stroll through the grounds of John Mitchell's beautiful Abbey House, which he had kindly given me permission to use for a nominal fee. (I'll buy you that pint Wednesday in Lavin's John). Then it was off to The Landmark with a quick stop in Derreen Woods along the way.

After an hour or so mingling with the guests at the drinks reception and enjoying the trad session, there was time for a wander round the boardwalk in the evening sunshine. I caught the start of the next-day party in Daly's on Saturday, and everyone was gearing up for another great night. It was tempting to stay and party, but I must be getting old and sensible....

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Sunday, May 1, 2011

Aoife & Enda

With the May bank holiday, it was a three-wedding weekend for me, starting in Kells on Thursday with Aoife & Enda. I was due to go along to second-shoot for Ger, but he dislocated his knee while planting spuds a few days beforehand and a plaster cast from thigh to ankle left him a little bit immobile. He bravely came along and played his part though.

Everything when smoothly in Aoife's house - the clock shows she was ready to go in lots of time, so Enda wasn't left with a long anxious wait at the church. Brendan and Sandra look very proud as they see their daughter coming downstairs in her dress for the first time. I'm sure Brendan was also pretty proud yesterday when Leinster beat Toulouse.

Those doves took off like rockets - even shooting high-speed at 6 frames per second, this was the only shot I got of them in flight. Our journey to the Johnstown House Hotel was a little more leisurly, taking in a stop at Trim Castle along the way.

Brian from AbFab Video made the movie, while Cormac from AT&T was a very professional and attentive chauffeur. Just in case you're wondering why there's no pic of the handsome groom and his men - Hopalong Haughey did those despite his handicap!

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