AS an Irish teacher, how could Mairéad Dineen refuse when she received a marriage proposal?
Even more impressively, Kieran O’Brien, who had grown up in England before moving to Ireland during his secondary school years, had never studied the language at school.
Mairéad, from Ballydehob, west Cork, and Kieran, from Shanagarry in east Cork, first got chatting on Tinder in May 2017. Days later they met for drinks and a whirlwind romance ensued.
Mairéad was to due depart for Nicaragua on holiday that August 2017 and Kieran booked his flights there three weeks after they met.
They got engaged 12 months later, in the Italian Garden on Garnish Island and, two years on, were married recently in St Brigid’s Church, Ballydehob, by Fr Tom Hayes, a cousin on the bride’s side.
Grace Crowley, Trish Aherne, and Máirín Dineen were by Mairéad’s side as her bridesmaids while the groomsmen were James Aherne, Eoin McGrath and Liam O'Brien.
The couple describes the big day as “perfect and magical” despite the pandemic. “We had to reduce numbers a lot due to Covid,” said the bride. “We originally had over 260 guests on the list. We went ahead with 50 family members in August and celebrated with 50 friends the day after.”
They organised a coffee cart “to keep the bride’s coffee addiction at bay in the churchyard”, added the groom. “It meant some friends could pop down to see us after the ceremony also,” he said.
The newlyweds travelled in a vintage car gifted by the bride’s parents, Pat and Eileen.
“Waving at people on streets in Skibbereen from the open-top car was a highlight of the day. It was like it instantly lifted everyone's mood even though we didn't recognise anyone with masks. It was nice to see the positive reaction to a wedding car after so many months of few weddings going ahead," said Mairéad.
Photographer Davitt Vaughan was spoilt for choice when it came to picture-perfect backdrops, including the iconic 12-arch bridge in Ballydehob as well as the scenic reception venue, Fernhill House Hotel & Gardens, Clonakilty.
Bridesmaid Máirín Dineen rewrote Ed Sheeran’sas Ballydehob Girl and performed it with her ukulele during the speeches.
Mairéad wore a Romantica (Tatum) dress sourced in Brides of Éire, Clonakilty, while the groom and his party were kitted out by Simply Suits.
The bridal hair and makeup were done in Mairéad’s home by Bantry makeup artist Stacey Egan and Bernie Barry and Marie O'Driscoll (The Whizzer Scissors, Ballydehob).
As a special touch, the groom’s mother Suzanne presented the couple with a knitted bride and groom for the cake table.
West Cork Wedding Videos also captured entire the occasion on camera and Maura McCarthy of Fleur Angelique created the floral arrangements.
Their honeymoon took the bride, a teacher, and groom, a support engineer, on a road trip that included Dingle and Killarney, in County Kerry, and Adare Manor in County Limerick. They are living in Ballydehob.