To be sure, to be sure twas a foine wedding begorrah - bejabbers - out there on the western edge of Europe - just a few miles inland from where the Atlantic crashes on the giant Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. Flute and whistle playing Katie, her of the foine voice, my beloved niece was finally tying the ould knot with Seamus the electrician from the Aran Islands.
It was to be a civil ceremony. Unfortunately, there's no registry office in Clare so we had to drive curvaceous miles over the wild limestone landscape of The Burren to reach Clarinbridge in County Galway. There the official ceremony was held in The Clarinbridge Court Hotel. The weather was kind as clouds scudded in over Galway Bay, leaving vast pools of bright April sunshine in between, making the emerald green more verdant and the turlough lakes more silvery. As part of the ceremony, I had to read an Indian blessing selected by Katie - a little shakily - having only been handed it ten minutes beforehand - but folks were complimentary. It was all about how, in marriage, we have to hang on to the sunshine that sometimes hides behind the clouds.
After the ceremony, there were a few drinks in the bar - you can see the scene below - my brother Paul on the fiddle and Katie on the whistle - then back over The Burren to Vaughans' Pub in Kilfenora. The wedding breakfast was for around two hundred. We guzzled Guinness and wine and danced like dervishes. The best man, Noel, who now lives in Arizona was as drunk as a skunk, cavorting and tumbling and communicating in a language that only Aran islanders with alcohol problems could possibly understand. It was a long day and we finally hit the sack after two a.m..
I do hope Katie will be happy with Seamus. She deserves some happiness. It was a great send off, a wedding to remember with fond smiles in the years ahead. I wrote something like this in the wedding book that was passed from table to table:-
"Seamus and Katie went to sea in a beautiful pea green boat..." A wedding is like the launching of a ship. I hope your voyage is long and happy, with few storms to ride and many lovely ports to visit. God speed!"
Shirley with our son Ian, Kilfenora April 7th 2006