I know this is quite a tardy post since the titled event occurred last Saturday (and well into Sunday), but I don’t want to hear any grumbling: better late than never!
Summary: saw my beautiful cousin’s wedding, ate way too much delicious food, wore heels without crying for a personal record of 16 consecutive hours, and partied with my newly acquainted family until the sun was about to rise… Sound good? It was!!
The church ceremony took place right in Portmagee where Aunt Margaret and Uncle Michael live and also right down the road from our B&B. We watched Kathleen and Uncle Michael depart their house for the church in a horse drawn carriage, which I would have deemed lovely, if I didn’t have an admittedly strange, yet gripping and uncontrollable fear of horses. Fighting the urge to jump in the rental car’s trunk and cower, I was brave and snapped pictures anyhow:
The wedding ceremony started at 12:30pm and was short and sweet. Besides the bride and groom, other highlights featured my cousin Shinead as the maid of honor, two adorable flower girls, and Papa and Catherine as passage readers. After pictures and letting doves go, everyone headed up to a beautiful hotel in Tralee for the reception starting at 5pm. Tons of pics were taken with my new, awesome family, and we ate an AMAZING meal! The menu read that our choices for entree were lamb and fish. Not being fond of many kinds of fish, I figured lamb was a safer bet, even though I had never tried it before. After devouring chicken-bacon salad, soup, and bread, the lamb arrived with mashed and scalloped potatoes and tons of yummy vegetables. Scanning for a napkin in case I was about to ditch my table manners, I attempted to look like I knew what I was doing and dug in (fake confidence has been the key to my success many a time). Within the first half a of chew, I knew this was the best part of the dinner. The even better part was all the lamb was provided from Aunt Margaret & Uncle Michael’s farm, which is pretty cool!! (What would my weekend post be if I didn’t have a picture of food?!) The food also explains my choice in title. The wedding was big, but the only fat part about it was the feeling of needing to be rolled onto the dance floor to get my groove on to burn off some calories after our huge meal!
After dinner was finished and some tables were cleared for a dance floor, an Irish band started around 9. Papa attempted to teach me how to waltz, my cousin Tim and I were partners in an Irish spinning dance (if anyone has seen the movie Leap Year, it’s the exact same dance where the girl’s heel flies off and hits the bride in the face), and I got to watch Nana, Papa, and tons of other people do Irish dances! When the band started to wind down around 12:30am, the night was not over yet! A DJ was up next and played til 4am! It was so much fun laughing, drinking, and dancing with all the people I met over the weekend. I also got to teach my cousins Catherine and Nuala the Macarena dance which was hysterical!!
Even after the late, late night, the family had breakfast on Sunday around 9. I’m not sure how I was functioning enough on 4hrs of sleep to chew and swallow my toast and eggs. The good part of the afternoon was touring the area called Ballyduff where Nana’s mom, whom I called Nanie, left from for America when she was a teenager. On the property where Nanie lived, we even met Nana’s cousin Anthony who brought us to the graveyard and property where the school was. It was neat meeting yet another family member and being shown around the area! I know Nana and Papa really appreciated it. The family gathered one last time (while I was there) Sunday night at a pub in Tralee to drink and chat some more. My Uncle Donal (Papa’s brother who lives in England, kids: Tim, Catherine and Sean (one sibling was missing from the wedding)) is such a larger than life character. He told stories with outrageous detail and enthusiasm; we couldn’t help but be entertained. He would be a perfect fit to bring into my Irish Folklore module with his great memory and story-telling skills!
After this weekend full of fun and family, I’m looking forward to making a few trips to visit!: England to see Tim, Catherine, Uncle Donal and Aunt Pat; Northern Ireland to see Sean and Nuala; and Tralee or Portmagee to see Kathleen and her new husband Dermot, Shinead, Aunt Margaret and Uncle Michael!! It has been unreal to see so much family history and where all my ancestors grew up here in Ireland. I hope I can show Shannon around all these places significant to our family someday! This weekend was emotional for Nana and Papa, going back to where Papa grew up and where Nana’s family came from, on possibly their last trip to Ireland, but I’m beyond thrilled and grateful that they were able to show me these places themselves. It means the world to me that the timing with my studying abroad and the wedding coincided. Kathleen & Dermot’s wedding was such a serendipitous opportunity where I was able to meet and celebrate with so much family, which I otherwise might not have gotten the chance to. I’ll always have the memories (and pictures, of course) from this fantastic five-day weekend, and wish I could relive it again!
To see my full album from touring in County Kerry: click here
For the full wedding album: click here!
To check out the photography I’ve been trying out with my sweet camera: Click here.
Off to London this weekend, Cheerio!!