California Love…in Ballintubber!

Annie Shark and Bryce Beasley from California who got engaged at Ballintubber Castle last year will be bidding to become King & Queen of the Castle on July 22nd. Pic: Kieran Croghan

Students Bryce Beasley and Annie Shark discovered more than they bargained for when they signed up to take part in the ‘Castles in Communities’ project in Ballintubber over six years ago.

Hailing from the Bay Area in San Francisco, the pair first met and fell in love while taking part in the archaeological dig in 2017 before Bryce decided it was time to pop the question at Ballintubber Castle last year.

“We met in Ballintubber in 2017 and started dating in 2019,” Bryce said.

“It (the proposal) was something I had been planning for a while. Last year was our first year back after the pandemic which was a relief because there are only so many places to hide a ring box in a very small apartment!”

Bryce (26) went the traditional route in asking Annie’s parents for permission prior to his romantic medieval proposal. Thankfully, all parties were in agreement.

“I was very surprised,” Annie (27) said, “I really had no idea so he did a good job keeping it secret!”

The couple plan to wed in California but before that they will be hoping to be crowned ‘King and Queen of the Castle’ on Saturday, July 22nd as part of Heritage Weekend in Ballintubber.

“There’s definitely less stress during this visit,” Bryce laughs.

“It’s always nice to come back to Ballintubber. People here say ‘welcome home’ to us and it’s really good to be home”.

Bryce and Annie’s engagement is not the first time ‘Castles in Communities’ has resulted in a marriage proposal. There have already been three marriages stemming from the Ballintubber project. No wonder American visitors ‘dig’ the area so much!