Chaotic, crazy and great craic – the Irish Wedding experience!

It’s early Friday morning and our normally quiet house is gone a little bit crazy. It’s the morning of the wedding of our daughter Tara, to her now husband Ray, and mayhem and chaos are the order of the day. We have three bridesmaids, the bride’s mother, and the bride herself, all to have their hair and beauty sorted, so the hairdresser, Grace, and the beautician, Melissa, are there, flat out making sure the wedding party are looking their best on the big day.

  Throw in myself and our two lads, Alan, who was driving the bridesmaids, two or three photographers and a videoman, and the driver of the wedding car, Alec Dempsey – a man who played football against me many a time –and, all told, it was a bit like a small Fawlty Towers with a bit of Only Fools thrown in.

  However it all worked out in the end, and we headed to our local church where our recently arrived parish priest, Fr. Larry, was waiting to conduct what turned out to be a most beautiful ceremony. I’ve told you before of the singing gem Annette Griffin from down the road in Ballymoe, who sings like an angel, and, accompanied by her mother, she put on a spellbindingly wonderful performance. Annette is the head of entertainment in the world acclaimed Ashford Castle Hotel and it’s an honour she thoroughly deserves, and her hauntingly beautiful rendition of the wedding songs was the talk of the place – she really is a special talent. 

  Anyway, off we headed past the many bonfires and wishing signs, and in keeping with a long-standing tradition, there was a pit-stop at Mikeen’s, where Mikeen and his wife Carmel surpassed themselves with a welcoming reception of their own. The happy couple pulled a pint of Guinness behind the bar, which I’m sure someone drank, and then we hit for the reception in the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon.

  On the way we stopped off at the famous castle in town for the pictures, a really lovely place, before we arrived at the hotel to be greeted by the traditional red carpet and all the usual trimmings. Now I have often praised the Abbey, the Grealy family, and their staff before, and rightly so, but the overwhelming reaction from everyone that I spoke to was that this time they really excelled themselves, and everything from the fabulous newly refurbished ballroom to the food, service and accommodation was top class, and a credit to all involved in the running of the long-established hotel. Carol and myself had our reception there 36 years ago, so it was a little bit nostalgic to be back again with Tara’s wedding.

  After the dinner we had a little rest followed by a pint or two, and then it was back to the ballroom for the musical entertainment which was provided by the marvellous White Cakes, a five-piece band from Castlerea, who kept us on the dance floor for the next few hours.

  One of the blessings that writing a column like this one gives me, is that I can occasionally use it to highlight the many positives that exist on our own doorsteps and everything that was involved on the day was all local, including the beautiful wedding cake from Molloy’s Bakery, the vintage car from Smyth’s, Roscommon, the photographer, Maurice Sirr, and the amazing sweet cart from David Crehan (they travelled to Athlone to my own immediate neighbour in the shop), Lorna Stuart-Trainor of A Room in Bloom Florists for the beautiful flowers and the only thing that was outsourced was the photo stand in the foyer, where a few lads from Ballyshannon took photos of loads of the guests in all sorts of funny costumes and you got your completed pictures almost immediately. I haven’t had the courage to look at mine yet.

  When it comes to sartorial elegance all the men in the wedding part were immaculately turned out by Donnellan’s and John Corcoran Menswear, so much so that I had to turn down several modeling offers! However, I will be available from January 2017 onwards. 

  Anyway back to the White Cakes, and when you want a band that are really brilliant – why not stay local and give them a shout. And for us Creggs people, the good news is that they are playing at the Creggs GAA Dinner Dance, also in the Abbey, on January 28th – make a date of that night in your diary and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed, on either count.

  So to sum up, even though it had nothing to do with me, if you are thinking of tying the knot and you are not too far from Roscommon town, you don’t have to go miles away – it can all be done just as well in your own local area.

  To bring the curtain down on the wedding night itself we had a disco, by which time my batteries had run out and I was in bed, and the following night the one and only Elvis from Edenderry, Greg Traynor, absolutely rocked Mikeen’s, and if you didn’t pull a muscle the night before, you surely pulled something at Elvis. It’s all over now thank God, but I have to say it was some craic. All that’s left for me is to wish Ray and Tara a long, happy life together, and may the sun always shine on you both. 

Joe – a truly remarkable man

Finally for this week, the entire area has been saddened by the weekend death of Dr. Joe Daly, a man who was known, loved, and respected by people from all over the country. The enormous attendance at his funeral was testimony to the Ballygar doctor’s popularity.

  In Creggs Rugby Club, he was one of our greatest-ever friends and supporters, and held the position of club president for very many years, and was instrumental in bringing the small rural club to the prominent position it holds in Connacht rugby today. He also served as President of the Connacht branch, and was one of the most respected men in the world of rugby.

  To thousands of people over the years, he was their family doctor, someone they could turn to in times of trouble, a doctor who was available to help at any hour of day and night.  

  We have all lost a good friend but the Daly family have lost a great dad and Madeleine has lost a great husband, and in their hour of grief I hope it’s some consolation for them to realise that very few people made the impact on their community that Dr. Joe did. My sincerest sympathies to the Daly family. May he rest in peace.

Local events

Back to normal local things and on Sunday afternoon the annual Senior Citizens Christmas party took place. I’m told as always it was one of the events of the year: the best of music with Jimmy Kearney, and The Lancers, the best (and lashings), of good food, and a copious supply of good drink all added up to a great bit of craic, and I hope all the heads were not too bad the next morning.

  Also, with the wedding creeping up on us, we all sort of forgot about Christmas and I’ve just realised it’s only two weeks to the Barrie Harris Walk.

  My training this year is not up to scratch, but I’ll be there, and the important thing for you is to keep the sponsorship cards out there and make sure the money for all the deserving charities keeps rolling in. So many of them benefit from the funds raised by the walk, so keep the foot on the pedal. 

Disney magic

Last night I found myself watching the lovely animated film ‘Bambi’, and I really enjoyed it; however what totally amazed me was the fact that the film we were watching was made in 1942, and the quality was unbelievable. If I didn’t see the date myself I would not have believed it.  

  Disney has been producing animated films for a long time now, and obviously they got it right from the start. 

Til next week, bye for now