Former 18th century Cork church holds first civil wedding ceremony

You wait decades for a wedding — then two come along at once.

A bride and groom took centre stage at a Cork City concert venue yesterday as the former 18th century church hosted its first civil wedding ceremony.

And the Triskel Christchurch witnessed a second civil ceremony just a few hours later.

First Eilís Gleeson, 34, from Gneeveguilla in Co Kerry, tied the knot with Alan Swanwick, 34, from Shanagarry in east Cork.

Eilís, a career guidance teacher in Bishopstown Community School, said she had been looking online for the ideal wedding venue since Alan popped the question in 2010.

They visited Christchurch on South Main Street and Eilís said: “We knew straight away it was absolutely perfect.”

There has been a church on the site of Christchurch since the 12th century, although the present building dates from 1725.

It was transformed under a €4.8m regeneration scheme and opened as a multi-purpose arts venue in Apr 2011.

But it wasn’t listed as an official civil marriage venue until the couple applied to get married there. They have now paved the way for other couples to do the same.

“Everyone in the Triskel was just so brilliant to deal with,” Eilís said.

The bride wore a short vintage-style dress, with a lace top over a sweetheart neckline, made in Brighton by Joanne Fleming Design, and a headpiece by Peacock and Ruby in the English Market.

Alan looked sharp in his dark navy fitted Hugo Boss suit.

The couple hosted a reception for their 100 or so guests at The Rectory in Glandore where they remembered Eilís’s grandmother, Elizabeth O’Callaghan, who died just a month ago, aged 98.

Later, Niamh Arnott and Stephen Foley became the second couple to tie the knot in Christchurch.

“Although primarily designed as a concert venue, Triskel Christchurch is such a beautiful building that we are delighted to now be in a position to offer it as a venue for civil weddings,” artistic director Tony Sheehan said.

Both couples now have the distinction of being married in the same venue as poet Edmund Spenser.

Local tradition has it that he married Elizabeth Boyle there on Midsummer Day, June 11 1594.

More in this section