Actor Gabriel Byrne and his long-term partner finalised their secret Irish wedding over coffee and scones in one of Cork’s top restaurants.
Byrne, 64, who guards his privacy intensely, married US-born producer Hannah Beth King in an intimate humanist evening ceremony at the renowned Ballymaloe House hotel in East Cork on Monday.
But the couple spent last Friday morning meeting several people in Fenn’s Quay, recently named Cork’s best restaurant.
It is believed they were finalising arrangements for the ceremony.
Chef Kate Lawlor said Byrne popped in last Thursday evening to check out the venue.
The couple arrived at around 8,30am on Friday, ordered coffee and scones, and met several people before leaving.
They popped back at around 10.30am for breakfast. And in a possible sign they were distracted by their forthcoming nuptials, left a mobile phone behind.
But King popped back later to collect it.
“He was very polite and interested in the history of the city, and what was going on here food wise,” Kate said.
“And he said he believed we have the best scones in Ireland.”
Anyone spots Gabriel Bryne in town he left something behind him here @fennsQuay can you tell him please— Corkonafork (@Corkonmyfork) July 31, 2014
Their Ballymaloe wedding ceremony was attended by just a handful of close family and friends. Hazel Allen of Ballymaloe House declined to comment, apart from confirming the “fabulous” ceremony did take place at the hotel.
Byrne’s agent also refused to discuss any details about the ceremony, other than to confirm the wedding took place.
Florida-born King has produced and directed documentaries and docu-drama series for networks such as Discovery and PBS.
The couple, who are both based in New York, met in the city and have been together for several years.
In an interview in 2012, Golden Globe winner Byrne revealed he was in a “committed relationship”, describing his partner as “lovely, intelligent, and beautiful, absolutely beautiful”.
Byrne is perhaps best known for his roles in big budget blockbusters such as The Usual Suspects, Millers Crossing, End of Days, Stigmata, and The Man in the Iron Mask, and countless TV series, including The Riordans, Bracken, Christopher Columbus, and more recently Vikings and Quirke, the acclaimed drama set in 1950s Dublin.
The couple has holidayed at Ballymaloe on several occasions.
A champion of the slow-food movement, which has been espoused for decades by Ballymaloe figurehead Myrtle Allen, Byrne and King spent several days relaxing at the Allen family-run hotel in the run-up to the wedding.
The couple also dined in Ballycotton on Sunday, where locals said they seemed very relaxed and very much in love.
Cloyne woman Sharon Murray met them as Byrne was helping King reverse a car out of a parking space.
“We just spotted him and asked him if there was any chance of a photograph. And he said ‘yes’. There was no hesitation,” she said.
She posted the photograph taken by her son Liam, 16, of Byrne with her, husband Tony, and their children, 13-year-old twins Brian and Caitlin, on Twitter yesterday.
— Sharon Murray (@SharonAherne) August 6, 2014
“He was such a lovely man, so nice, and showed no sign of wedding nerves. We’ve seen them in the area before and thought they were just staying here for the weekend. He’s still got it. He has great skin. All my friends were weak and wondering how I got the photograph.”
Byrne and Ellen Barkin, the mother of his two children, separated amicably in 1993 and divorced in 1999.
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