Monday, January 21, 2013

Nicola & Sean - Kilronan Castle

Sean & Nicola's winter wedding began with a quick visit to the lads on my way to Nicola's. The three men from Cooraclare were proudly sporting their local club colours, despite their recent relegation in the Clare League. Back at Nicola's, the girls were even more colourful in their Japanese kimonos.

With it's high ceilings, dramatic arches, bright interiors and high steps, St Mary's Church is a great venue to photograph. And when the full choir performs as they did for Nicola & Sean, the sound matches the fantastic interior. It's not really fair to single anyone out, but Noel Holmes stirring rendition of O Holy Night had a lot of people talking in the Churchyard afterwards.

Being a Carrick girl, Nicola fancied getting some photographs down by the Shannon before we headed over to Kilronan Castle. It was dry, and the sun was setting in the west, which gave us a dramatic backdrop, but it was bitterly cold. Even being wrapped in Sean's big manly arms couldn't stop the winter wind from biting as it whipped of the river. So we quickly jumped into the cars and headed for the comfort and warmth of Kilronan.

Eamon from Big Apple was alongside me on video again. We work well together, which is just fortunate - by my count, it was our 13th in 2012 - we can guess every move the other is about to make at this stage. The Weightless Astronauts provided the music. Special mentions too to Nicola's mother Pauline, who made the cake with her friend Ethel, and the striking bouquets and floral decorations from Annmarie Bowring and Rosemary Carroll. After the wedding, Nicola & Sean were heading on a dream holiday to Thailand, Australia and Singapore. sound good to me.

Blog Collage-nicola

Friday, January 18, 2013

Helen & Joe - Kilronan Castle

Often, people come to me because they don't want much in the way of posed or over-elaborate set-up photographs. Lets face it, most of us aren't cut out to be models, so being photographed naturally works better. So it was interesting to be asked to work with an accomplished model like Joe, a man whose face has graced billboards the length and breadth of the country, and who was the poster boy of one of Ireland's leading financial institutions during the Celtic Tiger Years. One of his groomsmen told me that Joe, in fact, turned down a lucrative offer to be the face of Versace's mens clothing as it would have meant moving to Italy.

Helen too, was a natural in front of the camera, and looked fantastic. I arrived to the bridal suite just as Recep was bringing breakfast in on a silver tray. There was lots of the usual hustle and bustle of preparation, but I still had time to pop down to the bar before the boys headed off to the church.

The swans on Lough Meelagh were in co-operative mood and glided over to add to the pictures as Helen & Joe strolled out along the jetty. After that, it was back to the warm welcome at Kilronan where the champagne corks were popping. Cathal Farrelly was alongside me on video, doing his thing as quietly and discreetly as always. Over dinner, we were treated to a set of hilarious speeches, as each speaker outdid the last. It turns out that as well as being one of Ireland's top menswear models, Joe is a total wind-up merchant. There were quite a few of his victims cringing in the room, as Best Man Pat listed some of the more outrageous pranks. Then Late Nite Radio really got the evening going. The place was rocking as I left, with some quite Dirty Dancing on display....

Blog Collage-Helen & Joe

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Colette & Daran - Lough Rynn Castle

In the past, meetings of Mayo & Meath generally took place in Croke Park, and invariably involved a giant schemozzle with red & yellow cards getting thrown around like confetti. Despite the presence of Mayo footballing legend Cora Staunton in the bridal party there were no late tackles from the Royals at Collette & Daran's wedding.

Indeed, the story of their meeting was told during the marriage ceremony. Like the journey to Croke Park, it took a while, with a few stumbles along the way before they finally met on a date with the encouragement of mutual friends. From that moment on, their names were on the cup and it was inevitable that we'd all get a big day out to celebrate their wedding.

My run of good luck with the winter weather finally ran out, as by the time we got back to Lough Rynn, the storm clouds were gathering overhead. We braved a run down to the gardens, but no sooner had we got there than the heavens opened. Noting was going to dampen Collette & Daran's spirits though, and with the blazing fire in the Baronial Hall, everyone warmed up again pretty quickly. It always helps to have Eamon's from Big Apple on hand to lighten the mood with his wisecracks too.

Blog Collage-Daran & Collette

Una & Mick - Lough Rynn Castle

Una & Mick are sporty types. Running, swimming, cycling, duathlons, triathlons - they do it all. But their first love is rowing. Carrick-On-Shannon has a fine tradition of rowing, boasting the oldest Club in Ireland, many international victories and an outstanding Olympian in Frances Cryan. Their fellow rowers honoured them with an eight-blade salute as they left the chruch.

So after the ceremony in Leitrim Village, we just had to take a little diversion en route to Lough Rynn to stop off at the Clubhouse and take a few photographs by the river. Once again, I got lucky - on a pretty miserable day, we got in and out before the rain arrived, and by the time we got to Lough Rynn, the sun was breaking through as we took a stroll through the grounds.

Paul Noone was alongside me on video for the day. Things were getting lively as I was leaving, and with Donnacha, Ronnie Donal & Dave of Late Nite Radio getting everyone dancing, it was always going to be quite a party.

Una & Mick Collage

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Orla & Killian - Markree Castle

There were lots of familiar faces around at Orla & Killian's wedding - I'd photographed Killian's sister Emma's wedding in Galway on General Election day in 2011. This one was closer to home, in Crossna, with the ceremony being conducted by Fr Brian Conlon. Things are never dull when Brian's in charge, and he always adds to the fun and excitement of the day.

We took the scenic route back to Markree Castle, driving through Lough Key, where the trees were turning all shades of green, orange, yellow & brown. Who needs New England in the Fall, when we have the Forest Park on our doorstep?

Markree is a favourite venue of mine, but this was my first time there in 2012. The gardens make a lovely backdrop for photos, and the fantastic evening light made it well worth our while strolling down to the edge of the lake before dinner.

Blog Collage-Orla & Killian

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Deborah & Brian - The Landmark Hotel

I had to suspend the blog to try and get all my albums ordered for Christmas delivery, there are a few to catch up on. First is Deborah & Brian's wedding which took place in Charlestown, with the celebrations afterwards in The Landmark Hotel in Carrick-On-Shannon. I'd had instructions that there were to be no pre or during make-up shots - the ladies were determined to be looking their best - and they were. So once hair and makeup were done, the day settled into a very fun affair with lots of craic among the bridal party.

We stopped at one of my favourite spots for photos outside the Forest Park in Lough Key, where we had some nice Autumnal light, before heading on to The Landmark, where the party continued for two days before Deborah & Brian flew off to the sunshine in Florida. Niall from Complete Weddings was alongside me, doing what he does best and capturing all the action discreetly. You'll see below that Brian does a very good meaningful gaze off into the distance and many of you will no doubt recognise the famous face of Colin Benson.

Blog Collage-Deborah & Brian