Golden day as couples give solid tips on bliss
WHAT'S the secret to a long and happy marriage? Stick with it. That, or maybe move to Douglas in Co Cork.
A total of 29 couples, many from the same neighbourhood, got together last night to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
The happy couples sat down to enjoy a special celebratory meal to mark their golden anniversaries -- all of which fall this year.
The event was organised by the Young At Heart Douglas Senior Citizens Club.
Club spokeswoman Phil Goodman said she had become aware there was an unusually high number of couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversaries in her locality this year, so she decided to investigate further.
"I started asking around and putting up notices looking for people who were celebrating their golden wedding anniversaries. I was absolutely amazed when I found out just how many anniversaries were falling this year in Douglas and the surrounding areas," she said. "I thought it would be so nice to bring the couples together to celebrate this momentous occasion," she added.
Mrs Goodman also discovered that three of the couples, who all lived on the same street in Douglas, were married in the same church on the same day -- one after another.
Two of these couples subsequently ended up in the same bed-and-breakfast in Dublin on honeymoon.
Maurice O'Rahilly and his wife Theresa were one of those couples.
"Three of us from the same road got married on the same day.
"The next night my wife and I were coming out of our room in a bed-and-breakfast and we banged right into one of the other couples who were in a room nearby.
"Neither couple had any idea the other was there. We all got quite a surprise. We sat down together and enjoyed a drink together that night," he said.
Maurice and Theresa originally met at a ceili in Cork's City Hall. They were married in 1960 and have three children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Maurice said "give and take" was the secret to a good marriage.
Mary and Michael Sullivan from Douglas, who were also present last night, first met when they were living and working in New York.
The pair married there in 1960, but decided to return home to raise a family.
"I suppose it's important to be good friends and to support one another and to cope with life's ups and downs as best you can together," Mary said.
"Stick with it, is really about the strongest advice I can give any young couple starting out," she added.
The couples had a special cake at Quigley's Restaurant in the Douglas Shopping Centre last night, which featured their names and the date of their wedding.
The event was also attended by the Lord Mayor of Cork Michael O'Connell and the Lady Mayoress Catherine O'Connell.