Louise and James Amazing Wedding in Westport Ireland
It was 4.30am on Friday 17th April and I was at home just getting to leave for Stanstead airport to catch a plane to Knock which is an airport on the West Coast of Ireland. Stanstead was fairly busy, I parked the car and headed to the terminal. I was a bit concerned that my cameras would have to go into the aeroplane hold but the case I have fitted perfectly and Ryanair fortunately didn’t weigh it so all was good.
I sat on the plane and saw a few people who later on would be at the wedding. When I walked over to my seat there was a guy sitting in it, he looked a bit like Ray Winston so i politely chatted with him and he went to his seat.. un known to me this was Russell Foster “one of James work colleagues”.. later on you will hear more of him and what a lovely man he is.
I got off the plane at Knock and got the hire car and drove out of the airport for the 45 minute trip to Westport. On the way you are instantly taken in by the green and beautiful countryside that surrounds you. It was my first time in The West of Ireland as my father’s family are from Waterford which is the south coast.
When I pulled into the hotel, James was standing outside with a couple of his close friends. They were all very relaxed and then Louise came out… it was great to see everyone. I put the cameras in the room and got my I phone out just incase there were any pictures to be taken and headed off to see St Patrick’s Church with the bride and groom and about another 15 people.
St Patrick’s Church sits at the bottom of Croagh Patrick or as the local people refer to it as The Reek. Its height is 2510 metres and history states Saint Patrick fasted on the summit of the mountain for forty days and forty nights, in the year 441 (fifth century) and also built a church there. We didn’t climb it as it took Louise’s dad 5 hours just to go up it last time and this is a fit Irish Scaffolder!
We left the church to look at a location we had discussed before flying out there, it was a beach with the most beautiful views imaginable in every direction. As soon as I saw it I said this is the one..”totally un spoilt” was what people said and it was true, there was not a car, electricity pylon or mobile phone tower anywhere to be seen.
We did a few photos here and then we all headed off to the Pub for a pint of Guinness and something to eat. We stopped in a pub called The Tavern” and was voted number 1 Irish pub of distinction and had won awards for distinction… the food was sensational. See Web link below.
We all headed back to Westport Woods Hotel where the myself and the majority of the guests were staying and also where the Wedding Reception was taking place tomorrow.
I sat at the bar and chatted with Russell and had a nice relaxing time. I then decided as I had the rest of the evening free that I would use the leisure facilities so I went and did a light workout and then used the sauna and Jacuzzi… other guests were there and it was very relaxing.
THE BEGINNING OF THE DAY
I woke up and went for a short drive to check locations and routes and then joined Russell who I met the day before for breakfast, I will keep in touch with this true gentleman and great guy.
Started officially at 10.30am with James.. I went to the room and on route met Michael and Gerard the brides brother and grooms younger brother.. they had been out till 4 am and hadn’t got a clue where people were etc. So I took them under my wing and we all headed to see James. When we went in James was showered and very relaxed..”the planning was done .. the day was here and he was ready to get his suit on and start his day off. I spent a bit of time with them all and the one thing that struck me most.. was the fact that they were helping each other get sorted.. one of the friends even went to his room and got an Iron and Ironing board out and did a couple of shirts.. but refused to do Michael’s socks (private joke). We all walked to the cars and the boys made their way towards the church to have a Guinness or two with the rest of the guests.
THE BRIDAL SUITE
It was now 11am and I walked in to see Louise and in the room, her mum Frances, Maid of Honor Siobhan, Flowergirl Macey, Bridesmaids.. Lauren, Fran, Donna and Sasha plus two hairdressers and Caroline Kilgallon make up artist (link below).
Louise was very chilled.. the Prosecco was flowing nicely and there was a very relaxed atmosphere in the room. Louise dad Patsy popped in briefly and we did his button-hole and cravat. I went out the room and when I came back Louise was getting her dress laced up. She looked absolutely Fabulous, the long dark hair and brown eyes combined with the dress.. was one stunning bride “and she’s very photogenic” Can this get any better?
It was now 12.45 pm so I left Louise to freshen up and headed to St Patrick’s Church to see the priest as the ceremony was in just under 1 hours time (see video at bottom).
Next to St Patrick’s Church is a pub and I went in and found the two best men Mark and Jimmy, the Ushers John, Adrian, Michael, Gerard and Kevin (Arg). We went and did a few photos with Croagh Patrick behind and what a backdrop it made.
Everyone went in and then the wedding car pulled in with Louise and her dad Patsy inside. The bridesmaids came over and Louise walked into the church with her dad and down the 100 feet aisle. James looked at her and had a big smile across his face. The priest did a beautiful wedding Ceremony and a full Nuptial Mass.. James kissed Louise before those magical words were spoken by the priest and this was mentioned by him shortly after James had finished… with everyone laughing “it was a great moment”. The registers were signed.. It was now official Mr & Mrs Keighrey.
The couple greeted their guests outside and once this was done I took a huge group photo just before heading down to take some pictures of Croagh Patrick behind.. the sun was blazing, it was warm and couldn’t have been any better.
The guests headed back to the hotel, the main wedding party headed off to The Beach with us. The location for this beautiful spot was down a windy lane about 1 mile long.. when you get to the end nothing prepares you for the un spoilt and perfect place that it is.. Croagh Patrick one side The North Atlantic the other. We spent about 40 minutes here getting the pictures taken and all the time I was thinking ” Perfect light and perfect shots”.
We all made our way back towards Westport. Earlier this morning I went out in the Car to run over the route and find any other locations on the way back that we could possibly use for pictures. So I signalled to the driver of the wedding car and we pulled in and took some beautiful pictures by a Fishermen monument.. another fabulous spot for photographs. We jumped back in the cars and headed back to Westport Woods Hotel. As the Wedding car pulled in the friends and family were all there having drinks, cheering and going over to the couple to congratulate them.
Louise and James then had a drinks reception with everyone. Joanne was running the wedding for the Hotel and I told her we hadn’t done any family photographs yet or shots with the friends. so I said I would get the ushers to get the people we need outside and take the pictures we need. Joanne was fantastic and couldn’t do enough to help but we had it sorted.. and to help Louise’s bro Gerard is 6 foot 7 and giant of a man.. he is also a lovely guy and true gent.
We did the pictures we needed and everyone was called through for the meal.
Louise and James had sat me on a main table in the room which was very kind, I sat with some great people Karen, Claudia, Daniel, Lucy and more. We chose our main course which was lovely and we had a great meal.
The speeches started and it was slightly different Patsy..brides dad, Pat..grooms dad, James..groom, Mark.. (bro) / best man number 1 and then Jimmy..best man number 2. The best men delivered two great speeches one brother speech which was brilliant, then the best mate and closest friend Jimmy’s annihilation began explain how James got his nickname KEG (see pic on Beer Barrel) this involved James (Keg) drinking vases of flower water and many more great stories. The sweepstake was won with a 38 minute time and someone on our table made a healthy 40 Euros.
It was dancing time and James and Louise started it all off with a beautiful first dance to be followed by Frances the brides mum singing a beautiful song to her daughter as she danced with her dad Patsy.
The Irish band then kicked in and played some great Irish songs, everyone was dancing and the atmosphere was amazing.
I would like to thank Louise and James for flying me over to Ireland. The wedding was originally booked in London but due to venues changing things, the bride and groom made the decision to move everything over to Westport. This could have meant me not going and you both booking a local photographer out there. I am so glad you didn’t, the wedding will always be one that I will remember and although I was working I felt part of the day and one of the family.
Heres a selection of Photographs I have selected.. they start from the Day before and end boarding the plane on the way back to England.
Slow Motion Video clip of Bride and Bridesmaids jumping.
Video of views on the way to The Church.
Louise and James Wedding Westport Ireland
© Written and Photography by John Paul O’Donnell
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Photography John Paul O’Donnell
Hotel Westport Woods
Church St Patrick’s
Make up Caroline Kilgallon
The main pictures 800 plus will be ready shortly, James and Louise will have the details and will let you how to order.
John Paul O’Donnell Photography “often copied … never beaten””.