Tales of a Kiwi girl at an Irish wedding

Last updated 05:00 24/09/2015

"It’s a full mass, with communion, plus the wedding ceremony, so we are there a while."

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A happy couple surrounded by friends and family are at the heart of most weddings around the world, but there's always room for local traditions as Joanie Throssell discovered at a wedding in Ireland's County Tipperary.

We are invited for 1.30pm at Terryglass Church, but we are late leaving. I am hoping the bride is late so that we are there before her.

I needn’t have worried, plenty of people drift in after us and the bride is a good 40 minutes late. No-one looks at all concerned; it is as if 1.30pm is just a guideline. The man seated in front tells us that a group of them had arrived at 1pm in order to get in a pint at the neighbouring pub beforehand!

I find Ireland to be a very religious (Catholic) country. The church is full and all are participating, not just paying lip service.

It’s a full mass, with communion, plus the wedding ceremony, so we are there a while. I don’t mind, it’s a good chance to people-watch.

The young are like young anywhere – the girls all gorgeous, tottering in impossibly high heels, and the boys in regulation suits.

The women of my generation are more of a mixed bag. Some are glamorous, a few hats and fascinators, some more homely in a frock and crocheted top. The men are like the younger generation, suits abound.

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The service over, the wedding party and immediate family members go for photos and it is suggested that we join others in the pub for a pint before moving on to the reception. It would be rude not to.

The black stuff is flowing freely when the best man appears and tries to shepherd us all out and get us on our way so that the wedding party do not arrive to absentee guests!

The reception is about 40 minutes away at Kinnitty Castle, which is now a hotel/wedding venue. The original castle was destroyed in 1209 and rebuilt four years later. Then the IRA set fire to it in 1922. Six years later, it was again restored.

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We are treated to drinks and nibbles, then seated for the main meal, speeches et al. The food is good, the speeches short and amusing – perfect!

The band need to set up, so we are all asked to temporarily retire to the bar "for a pint". Do you see a pattern emerging here? The Guinness family must be several thousand euros richer by now!


Eventually, we dance and drink the rest of the night away. Somewhere in the middle of all this I find myself in a group of young who are playing a drinking game which involves shots of Sambucca and a cigarette lighter! I am the oldest there and should know better, but...

Luckily we have booked into a B&B at the end of the drive. We eventually find our way there, and sleep very well.

All too soon it is time to wake for the full Irish breakfast, where we are joined by fellow guests who have had even less sleep than us – they didn’t get to bed until it was light.

We are all subdued, until someone mentions the rugby. The Lions are playing the Aussies. They check where I am from before further comment.

Suddenly they are all animated again and the word is that the only thing to sort their sore heads is... another pint of the black stuff!

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