Cliona Cogan on the balcony of  the bridal suite of The Listowel Arms Hotel on her wedding day, May 20 2017. In the background is The River Feale and Listowel Racecourse.

Saturday May 20
2017 was a popular day for weddings. In the U.K. Pippa Middleton, sister of the
Duchess of Cambridge married her fiancé, James Matthews,  in Kenmare Alannah McGurk, daughter of Miriam
O’Callaghan and her ex-husband  Tom
McGurk married former Galway footballer Fiachra Breathnach and in Italy Lottie
Ryan, daughter of the late Gerry, married her husband Fabio Aprile for a second
time (the first time was a low key civil affair which the couple did in
secret). The wedding of the day with a Listowel connection was the McKenna
Cogan wedding in St. Mary’s , Listowel.

Let me tell you
without fear of contradiction that Listowel is the best place in the world to
organize and hold a wedding. St. Mary’s is a beautiful church which can be
downsized to accommodate a small ceremony as well as being the ideal venue for
a huge wedding. The hotel and all the local wedding suppliers are the cream of the crop.

My Kanturk family posing outside the church for the “real” photographer.

I’ll tell you a
bit about the wedding day suppliers we dealt with.

The Listowel Arms
Hotel were a delight to deal with from day one. Patrice, Asyia and all the
staff were super efficient and obliging . The hotel itself is charming, warm
and welcoming.  Asyia took lots of lovely
photos which reached us long before the official  ones. 
Her photos at the hotel entrance show how intimate, local and compact
the place is for a wedding.

The dining room
was stunning. The backdrop of the racecourse and river Feale lent an exotic air
to the snaps of the top table.

 The food was delicious, the service excellent,
the speeches were short and entertaining, the favours of Lily O’Brien
chocolates (from Newbridge) and my book (from Listowel) were appreciated by the

Dancing to Kildare
band Transmitter went on until the wee hours and, in a lovely local touch,
Damien from Jumbos made a late night delivery of some local delicacies beloved
of the bride and her friends and mentioned in the groom’s speech.

Weddings nowadays
are two day affairs. We all decamped to the Cliff House in Ballybunion for our
day 2 and there we had a night of chat, finger food, some music and a few
drinks. The happy couple headed for  a
London minimoon on Tuesday. Highlights of this included 2 afternoon teas which
were gifted to them by wedding guests. Andrea and Alexandra treated them to tea
in The Shard. This is “the height of fine dining”. The restaurant where they ate is on the 32
nd floor and the food is as spectacular as the views.  Alex and Andrea are Erasmus friends of
Clíona’s and their friendship has stood the test of time and distance.

Many years later here they are in St. Mary’s Listowel with Alex’s daughter Aoife .

The second teatime
experience was  in Harrods. They even got
a complimentary chocolate cake for dessert in view of the fact that they were
on honeymoon.

A far cry from Jumbo’s Listowel!