A couple who had never lived together in the same country since falling in love during a holiday romance over a decade ago have tied the knot after lockdown brought them together.
American Megan LeMasurier-Barry and her Ennis-born husband, Steve Barry, are now looking forward to building a life together after years of a socially-distanced relationship.
The couple exchanged vows in Cork’s Triskel in the venue’s first civil ceremony since lockdown was introduced, with just 16 people in the venue.
Megan, 37, an occupational therapist from California, and Steve, 39, an architect working in Midleton, Co Cork, met in Florence, Italy in 2007 while they were each travelling solo in Europe. They were both staying in the same hostel when romance blossomed.
Steve, who was due to leave the next day, extended his stay in Florence to go sight-seeing with Megan.
Both recall the heartbreaking moment they went their separate ways, sharing a romantic goodbye kiss on a train station platform as Steve headed for Milan and Megan for Rome.
They stayed in touch over the years, and had other romantic relationships, but the memory of their time in Florence, and of that kiss, lingered.
The couple met again in Cork in 2016 as Megan visited Ireland and they fell in love all over again, though Megan had to return to the US.
The wedding finally went ahead and was streamed live on Facebook to Megan's family and friends in the US, and to Steve's dad, Tony, who was unable to travel.
Megan's matron of honour, Gabby Gallegos, spoke to her via Google hangout that morning. Steve’s best man, Andreas Andreou, was by his side for the ceremony, while groomslady, Siobhan Reidy, was Megan’s bridesmaid on the day.
“The ceremony was wonderful,” Megan said.
“It felt funny walking into such a beautiful place and standing on the stage - but I guess that’s what’s supposed to happen - the bride is supposed to be the centre of attention. We had a great time.”
Steve praised the Triskel team.
“We had asked them to try to create a theatre feel and thanks to their skills they were really able to pull it off," he said.
“I know a lot of people weren’t able to make it but I’m not sure that we have done anything different.
"We are done with long-distance relationships and being apart. We’re looking forward now to building our life together.”