We arrived in Carlingford after a two hour journey from County Wicklow on the motorway north. Both Glynn and I are still suffering from jetlag and found ourselves wide awake at around 3am so decided to drive up early to miss the traffic and make sure we had plenty of time to get ready before the wedding began at midday.
Carlingford is located on the eastern coast of Ireland just south of the old border into Northern Ireland, and exposed to the winds off the Irish Sea. It's a quaint fishing village with many of the old historic ruins scattered throughout the township, an old mint, gaol and entranceway to the town pictured above were the highlights for me. We met a cool breeze when we got out of the car but the sky was clear and it stayed blue and dry for the wedding, which was grand - as irish folk would say - and a bit of a miracle given the previous day of stormy weather.
In New Zealand you can get married in a church, or in a garden, or even at the beach...but here in Ireland you can be married in a 'fair dinkum' castle. Duncan and Denise chose to be married at Narrow Water Castle in an intimate ceremony with only a small number of close family and friends. The castle has passed through the generations and is still owned by the original Hall family, who provide it as a venue to help pay for the upkeep of the buildings.
It was special to be invited having never met Duncan and Denise, and was made to feel welcome. Photos were taken with the bride and groom as we arrived at the castle. I found myself ushered into the family photos before even having met the bride, who looked just stunning.
Those who attended the wedding were invited to a special lunch in Ghan House, an old homestead, and I found myself sitting next to Denise's brother a policeman (or Garda) and we talked about NZ v Irish justice policy (specifically the execution of warrants of arrest and diversion schemes) over seafood chowder, beef main and chocolate truffles - yum!
Following a quick nap back at our B & B we then attended the evening reception with extended family and friends at the Four Seasons Hotel. A huge buffet meal with guests 8 at a table. Lydia, Edu, Glynn and I were seated with Glynn's father's old rugby friends Tony and Harry and their wives Helen and Barbara. While we could hardly eat a thing because of the size of the lunch we'd had, I managed a guinness kindly purchased for me by Tony who used to be MD of the famous brewery before he retired. You can't turn down a guinness under those circumstances, and found it wasn't as bitter as the guinness you get at home. I'm looking forward to sampling more of the local brew as we journey around Ireland.
The rest of the evening I was introduced to the extended family. Glynn has many Aunts and Uncles - his father was one of seven. I talked about trains with Norman for some time and tried to convince him to make a trip to New Zealand to take the trans alpine railway from Christchurch to the West Coast. It was great to meet all of Glynn's immediate family too, his Mum and Dad, Tim and Bob and their new baby Ella, Duncan and Denise, and Lydia and Eduardo.
Even though New Zealand is as far away as you can get from Ireland the ceremonies are much the same with the reception, speeches, cutting of the cake and dancing to a band afterwards reminding me very much of my sister's wedding back home. Such a great day and by the end of the night the best cure for the battle with jetlag, with Glynn and I both sleeping right through the night since first arriving in Ireland.