It’s the little things that make you feel loved. Like arriving a little dusty at Dublin Airport and clearing customs at a surprisingly rapid pace to find our dear friend Mahlia giving a warm reception as we come through the arrivals gate.
We Love You Mahls!
With an ever present smile how could you not?
Rental car sorted, we decide it’s best letting the studious one of us drive so as not to get slapped with a ticket. Well we are back in Europe, what with its bastard speed cameras and all, therefore Sarah is given the keys.
Now, the only reason we’re in Ireland is because stupid Dougall (jokes) is getting married in a castle. Let us explain. When first notified of the nuptials the selling point was, for Matt anyway,
I’m not going to fly back from South America unless it’s in a bloody castle!
And indeed it is and here we are. Fully trumped we pull into the small town of Glaslough in Country Monaghan, where the community more or less revolves around the comings and goings of Castle Leslie Estate. Covering 1,000 acres the estate is a pristine example of Irish countryside. Three lakes, ancient woodlands, meadows, it’s got the lot.
Staying on the estate itself turns out to be a great idea as the onsite chauffeurs happily shuffle us and the three friends staying with us from the old stable mews to anywhere within the property or adjacent village. We spend the first night at the castles Lodge bar where friends are reunited, most of us having meet during our time in London. After several years apart there’s only one way the night can end. Messy.
Up suited and booted the next day for the third wedding in twelve months, we’re escorted to the castle proper for what will surely be a ceremony to remember. Mostly agreeable weather gives us a gentle breeze strong enough to allow the sweet scent of manure to momentarily waft into the wedding hall. Yet when the doors close it’s all ears on the bride Michelles brilliant Irish cousins who sing her down the aisle.
Formalities done Mr McDougall plants one on the new Mrs. McDougall and the fairytale forever after begins. Onto the reception hall for a few drinks and the bride and groom have done the smart thing in not having an open bar, with prudent knowledge that a room full of Irish, Aussies and Kiwis will suck every last drop out of it and then some. Most people spill outside to enjoy stunning views of the castle and grounds and revel in feeling like royalty for a moment.
After a brief relax we’re herded into the dining hall and given seating at round tables. Shane deviously devised the arrangement at our table to plant three singles side by side (a bloke and two girls). Miraculously after all the obvious signals of flirtation he still manages to fall asleep at the table. A good feed, plenty of free flowing wine, some emotional speeches followed by a ‘traditional’ cutting of the cake involving a sword and we gather around the dance floor for the first dance.
Now it’s fair to say the Irish are a bunch of talented bastards. The band of the night are all Irish, the pre-dinner reception has family members as young as 16 playing traditional music on the couch whilst at the end of the evening the bride, Michelle, even has a tickle of the ivory then belts out a 2am rendition of Wonderwall perched on the edge of a couch as those still standing serenade the wedded couple.
With hangovers pushed aside it’s back to the village pub for yep, you guessed, more beer. And music, this time from the father of the bride’s band. Lets just say there was Guinness, singing, dancing, shouting and lots and lots of laughing. Another great craic, we’re both now in need of liver transplants and London is still to come.
Another great coming together of friends old and new left us wishing that all our friends lived and played in the same place, always.
Taking your very expensive camera to an Irish/Kiwi/Australian wedding is not a good idea. Leave it at home, let the professional photographer do his job, grab yourself a drink and hit the dance floor. That’s what weddings are for!