A historic 18th-century manor house at the foot of the MacGillycuddy Reeks in Kerry was the picture-perfect setting for Ciara O’Connor and Padraig Brennan’s big day.
The luxury Churchtown House in Beaufort, Killarney, rolled out the red carpet for its second-ever wedding after Ciara, from Scartaglin, Co Kerry, and Padraig, from Ballinhassig, Co Cork, exchanged vows in Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Scartaglin.
The wedding Mass, in April, was led by Fr Larry Kelly, Ciara’s dad’s cousin, who had also performed the marriage ceremony for the bride’s parents 31 years before.
Orla O’Connor sang When You Say Nothing At All as Ciara walked up the aisle and the bride’s mother sang Your Wedding Day by Jimmy Buckley during the reflection.
Ciara looked elegant in an Enzoani dress she sourced in Diamond Bridal, Cork.
“The whole day was perfect,” said the bride. “The sun shone, we were blessed with the weather — it was like a summer’s day with blue skies.”
As the newlyweds emerged from the church, they were greeted by socially-distanced friends and family, applauding them. “It was a lovely surprise and really made our day,” said Ciara.
Jonathan and his team at Churchtown House ensured the celebration was “exquisite”, said the bride.
“It was magical,” she added. “Nothing was too much trouble and the staff knew all of us by name! Because it was a small wedding, it was really intimate.”
The newlyweds travelled in style, thanks to Horan’s Wedding Cars, and the church flowers were by Enchanted Flowers, Macroom.
Ian Cronin of Ian Cronin Photography and Riona MacMonagle captured the big day on camera, while LM Videography made a movie of the occasion.
The couple met 11 years ago in Limerick, in Molly’s bar. “I was in college in Limerick at the time and a mutual friend, Fiona O’Brien Kelly, who lives in Kinsale, would always give Padraig the heads-up if I was about to visit,” she said.
The rest is history. Padraig organised a surprise proposal on July 23, 2018, in Muckross, in Killarney National Park, with the help of another friend, Aoife Brosnan.
“I was to go out for dinner with the girls and was ready — wearing a maxi dress — when my friends suggested we go for walk,” said Ciara.
As they approached Muckross Lake, Ciara spotted candles lit along the walkway overlooking the lake. “It was where we had strolled on one of our first dates, and that’s where we got engaged,” said Ciara.
Both sets of parents, Marie and Seamus O’Connor and Bernie and Peter Brennan, the bride's sister, Aine O'Connor, maid of honour, and the groom's brother, David Brennan, best man, played key roles in their big day.
They had originally booked another hotel but when faced with restrictions on numbers due to the pandemic changed plans and went on to organise a bijou celebration at Churchtown House.
Although they had originally dreamed of a 200-guest wedding, the newlyweds have no regrets about their smaller do. "I wouldn't change it for the world. I would tell anyone else who is planning their wedding at the moment, 'Go for it'," said Ciara. "Churchtown House made our dreams come true."
The bride, a teacher at Scoil Naomh Eltin, Kinsale, and groom, who is a part-time farmer and also works at Glasslyn Veterinary Clinic, Bandon, live in Kilbrittain.
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