My run of Mayo GAA-themed weddings continued with Sinead & Pat’s recently. As soon as I walked into Sinead’s house, I saw an entire wall covered in a collage of photos of big events involving the county team. Sinead’s Dad, Sean, was in the middle of most of them. He was the county secretary for 14 years. It seems Pat had ambitions to make the County side himself – a little birdie told me he sometimes put in extra late-night training sessions in the hope that Sean would see his potential. Though they’ve had lots of provincial success, picked up a league title and an under-age all-Ireland, being a Mayo supporter must feel like being a constant bridesmaid sometimes. Sadly, that continued in Croke Park today.
Sinead was being waited on hand and foot by “The Dolls”- Edel & Fionnuala - as I arrived. As well as her bridesmaid's duties, Fionnuala was doing everyone’s hair as well, but still managed to remain calm, collected and ready on time. Meanwhile Katie the Golden Retriever was unruffled by all the activity around her. Flowergirl Caitlin was definitely not camera-shy and even performing a little comedy routine in the middle of the ceremony, which made everyone forget any nervousness they may have been feeling.
Brides travel from far and wide to get married in the beautiful Ballintubber Abbey, but it's just 2 minutes down the road for Sinead. Though it’s fantastic, the Abbey can put the fear of god into photographers – the body of the church is very bright, but it's really dark around the alter, and that contrast can be tricky. I like to only use the ambient light – I hate firing flashguns in a church – in two of the shots below, it's just the warm glow of the candles lighting Sinead & Pat.
There’s always going to be fun & games when Pat’s around. He’s a great man for the slaggin’, and when Fionnaula made a comment revealing that she likes a bit of raunchiness with her romance, it became a running joke she wasn’t allowed to forget. He opens champagne like a Formula 1 Driver, and is sufficiently in touch with his feminine side to carry the bouquet for much of the day and sip his glass of bubbly with a strawberry and frosting. A thoroughly modern man.
We arrived back to the usual warm welcome from Olivia, Recep & Michelle at Kilronan, where there was plenty of time to mingle and enjoy a glass of champagne, while Manila Strings entertained the guests. It’s a bit bizarre hearing three Filipino musicians doing a double-bass and skiffle-board version of “Ride On”, but somehow it works. Earlier in the day, Sean Costello sang beautifully in the Abbey, while Sean Slattery and The Connections got the dancing going late into the night.