Monday, 29 May 2017

Family Wedding in Listowel

Cliona Cogan on the balcony of  the bridal suite of The Listowel Arms Hotel on her wedding day, May 20 2017. In the background is The River Feale and Listowel Racecourse.

Saturday May 20 2017 was a popular day for weddings. In the U.K. Pippa Middleton, sister of the Duchess of Cambridge married her fiancé, James Matthews,  in Kenmare Alannah McGurk, daughter of Miriam O’Callaghan and her ex-husband  Tom McGurk married former Galway footballer Fiachra Breathnach and in Italy Lottie Ryan, daughter of the late Gerry, married her husband Fabio Aprile for a second time (the first time was a low key civil affair which the couple did in secret). The wedding of the day with a Listowel connection was the McKenna Cogan wedding in St. Mary’s , Listowel.

Let me tell you without fear of contradiction that Listowel is the best place in the world to organize and hold a wedding. St. Mary’s is a beautiful church which can be downsized to accommodate a small ceremony as well as being the ideal venue for a huge wedding. The hotel and all the local wedding suppliers are the cream of the crop.

My Kanturk family posing outside the church for the "real" photographer.

I’ll tell you a bit about the wedding day suppliers we dealt with.
The Listowel Arms Hotel were a delight to deal with from day one. Patrice, Asyia and all the staff were super efficient and obliging . The hotel itself is charming, warm and welcoming.  Asyia took lots of lovely photos which reached us long before the official  ones.  Her photos at the hotel entrance show how intimate, local and compact the place is for a wedding.

The dining room was stunning. The backdrop of the racecourse and river Feale lent an exotic air to the snaps of the top table.

 The food was delicious, the service excellent, the speeches were short and entertaining, the favours of Lily O’Brien chocolates (from Newbridge) and my book (from Listowel) were appreciated by the guests.

Dancing to Kildare band Transmitter went on until the wee hours and, in a lovely local touch, Damien from Jumbos made a late night delivery of some local delicacies beloved of the bride and her friends and mentioned in the groom’s speech.

Weddings nowadays are two day affairs. We all decamped to the Cliff House in Ballybunion for our day 2 and there we had a night of chat, finger food, some music and a few drinks. The happy couple headed for  a London minimoon on Tuesday. Highlights of this included 2 afternoon teas which were gifted to them by wedding guests. Andrea and Alexandra treated them to tea in The Shard. This is “the height of fine dining”. The restaurant where they ate is on the 32 nd floor and the food is as spectacular as the views.  Alex and Andrea are Erasmus friends of Clíona’s and their friendship has stood the test of time and distance.

Many years later here they are in St. Mary's Listowel with Alex's daughter Aoife .

The second teatime experience was  in Harrods. They even got a complimentary chocolate cake for dessert in view of the fact that they were on honeymoon.

A far cry from Jumbo's Listowel!

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