Young at heart: vintage couple ties the knot

HAVING waited most of her life for the man of her dreams, 86-year-old Limerick bride Mary McGrath did not keep her 83-year-old groom waiting too long at the altar on Saturday.

After being pronounced man and wife at the city’s St John’s Cathedral, Limerick’s vintage couple were mobbed by hundreds of well-wishers as they walked down the aisle linking arms.

Asked where they were going on the honeymoon, Mary said with a laugh: “To bed.”

Martin Considine arrived 20 minutes before the noon ceremony dressed in top hat and tails with a red rose on his lapel. Mary arrived on the dot at 12 noon looking resplendent in a two-piece cream suit, embroidered with sequins with a matching hat.

She was linked down the aisle by her nephew Chris Duhig and accompanied by bridesmaids, Sylvia McGrath and Patricia McGrath and little flower girl Orla Burke, the youngest member of the wedding party, aged four.

Fr Liam Enright recalled how months previously an elderly woman called to the presbytery. “She said she wanted to book a wedding. I didn’t know the woman and asked her was it for her grand-daughter. ‘No love,’ she said, ‘it’s for myself’. I think I needed to sit down and we had a grand chat. I later met Martin and it was plain to see they were so happy. This is a story of love, a personal story they will cherish themselves.”

Mary, Fr Enright said, told him Martin was the first man to ask her to marry him and she was not letting him go.

Martin’s daughter from his first marriage, Mary Gilliver, travelled from England with her husband, Peter. Mary, 60, said: “My mum, Mary Ellen died six years ago. I am so happy for my father and my mum would have wanted to him to find this happiness with my new step mum. We warmly welcome Mary into the family.”

Pat Burke, a nephew of Mary’s, remarked: “I have managed to get a new uncle at this time of my life.”

Bridesmaid Patricia McGrath, a receptionist at Dunnes Stores headquarters in Dublin, said she was now the only woman in the McGrath family without a husband. The 52-year-old said she is looking for a man: “All he needs is to have a car and his teeth.”

Paddy Ryan from Garryowen carried on a great wedding day tradition in St John’s parish by turning up as the chimney sweep. He said: “This goes back to Sean na Scub. It’s for good luck to the couple.”

Among the well-wishers was Frank McCracken who works for the Good Shepherd Day Care Centre where Mary and Martin met.

He said: “I drive the mini bus and pick up Martin and Mary three days a week to bring them to the centre. Martin proposed to Mary in the bus.”

More than 100 guests attended the wedding reception at the Castletroy Park Hotel and a bigger party went on afterwards at the Weigh Inn pub in Ballysheedy.

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