Monday 24 July 2017

Stevie Wonder visits Galway store ahead of Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll wedding

Stevie Wonder and staff at CompuB store in Galway. Picture: @compub
Stevie Wonder and staff at CompuB store in Galway. Picture: @compub

Ian Begley

It's been one of the worst kept secrets about this weekend's wedding of Rory Mcilroy and Erica Stoll.

Stevie Wonder has been widely tipped to perform at the reception in Ashford Castle in the village of Cong, Co Mayo.

The singer was spotted shopping in Galway this afternoon at the Compu B store. The electronics store, which specialises in Apple products, tweeted a picture of his visit this afternoon.

The 'Isn't she lovely' singer was all smiles when he was asked to pose for pictures with staff. The store tweeted:

Rory McIlroy is marrying Erica Stoll at Ashford Castle
Rory McIlroy is marrying Erica Stoll at Ashford Castle

Eoin Healy from CompuB in Galway got the opportunity to serve the I Just Called singer. 

"At around 4.30pm a customer came in and approached a member of staff,” he said.

"I didn't really take any notice, but when I glanced over I heard the person he was with saying ‘This is Stevie and he's looking to buy a few things’.

“Then it just hit me and I was like ‘Oh my f**king God, it's Stevie Wonder."

“He was so friendly and started talking to me about how beautiful Ireland is even though it's a bit cold.

“He didn't mention anything about the wedding though, but he asked everyone their names and was happy to get into a picture with us. 

“He bought two pairs of Apple wireless earphones, a car charger and Bang and Olufsen earphones.”

The star was secured at the personal request of the golfer because his New York born wife-to-be is a huge fan of the soul and pop star.

Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy
Erica Stoll and Rory McIlroy

The last of the non-wedding guests left Ashford Castle this morning - and special security wristbands have been issued to allow access to the 350 acre estate from Friday until Monday morning.

Staff at Ashford Castle have been issued with green wristbands while other colours will designate wedding organising staff, security and entertainers.

A special marquee was erected outside the castle yesterday though the majority of the wedding ceremonies will happen inside the luxury hotel.

The golfer and his bride-to-be will have the Presidential suite once occupied by US President Ronald Reagan when he stayed at Ashford during his 1984 Irish visit.

The lavish four day wedding ceremony is understood to cost in excess of €500,000 - with Ashford Castle and virtually all hotels and guest houses in nearby Cong block booked for the wedding.

Private security officials are stationed at all entrances to the sprawling estate outside Cong village and access beyond the outer limits was strictly by special security wrist band only.

Roving security patrols are also in place around the sprawling estate to deal with photographers who may want to try and get a snap of the celebrity couple and their VIP guests.

Rory McIlroy (centre) and singer Niall Horan (right) with Conor McGregor
Rory McIlroy (centre) and singer Niall Horan (right) with Conor McGregor

Wedding guests arriving early at the main Ashford Castle entrance are greeted by a staff member in formal attire including butler's hat.

Most guests, however, are expected to arrive by air to the castle's own heli-pad.

A special no fly zone has been declared around the rest of the Ashford Castle estate.

A small army of caterers and wedding planners - most of whom are staying at Ryan's Hotel in Cong village - were hard at work for Saturday's ceremony.

Even teams of street cleaners were working to have all approach routes to Ashford Castle spotless.

The wedding party travelled to Cong village on Wednesday.

One local was adamant he spotted the golfer driving through the village on Wednesday afternoon in a Porsche.

Locals also said the golfer and his friends - who held his stag party earlier this month in the US - relaxed yesterday with some clay pigeon shooting in the Ashford Castle grounds.

Throughout Thursday fleets of jeeps and limousines, all with blackened security glass, swept into the luxury castle estate.

The wedding is expected to prove a who's who of not just the Irish celebrity scene but the international sporting world.

Rumoured guests are expected to include pop star Niall Horan, a good friend of Mr McIlroy, as well as Chris Martin from Coldplay.

Ed Sheeran is also a good friend of the golfer but any visit to the Mayo wedding will be limited by the fact the singer-songwriter has scheduled concerts in Manchester this weekend for his new 'Divide' tour.

The golfer has said his favourite music includes work by both Coldplay and Ed Sheeran.

The sporting world is expected to be represented by golfers Darren Clarke, Padraig Harrington and other Irish members of the Ryder Cup team.

Martial arts star Conor McGregor is also expected to attend having joined the golfer on his Miami stag party.

Irish businessmen including JP McManus, a major supporter of Mr McIlroy's charities, is also expected to attend.

In Cong village, locals said they hadn't recalled such excitement since the 1951 filming of 'The Quiet Man' and the 1984 visit by US President Ronald Reagan.

Gerry Collins, founder of 'The Quiet Man Museum' and film location walking tours, said the wedding will be "a tourism bonanza for Cong."

"I think this is going to give Cong and the whole area an enormous boost," he said.

"There is already a great atmosphere around the village and even the tourists, who are here for the local beauty and 'The Quiet Man' sites, are asking about the big wedding."

"Of course Pierce Brosnan got married here in Cong as well so this is a special place for celebrity weddings."

Singer Shane Filan of Westlife also got married in Cong.

"Hopefully, Rory McIlroy's decision to get married in Ashford Castle will persuade a few more A-listers to walk down the aisle here, Mr Collins said.

For some, Rory McIlroy wasn't the main attraction. Aoife Ferry (12) from Strabane, Co Tyrone was on holidays in Cong with
her mother, Ann-Marie, and was on the look-out for wedding guest Niall Horan.

"I'm a big One Direction fan," she said.

Even American tourists were getting in on the act.

"I'm a serious golf fan so it'd be great to catch a glimpse of Rory," Dave Blackman from New Jersey said.

"I'm a fan of Phil Mickelson and the US Ryder Cup team but it'd be nice to wish Rory well for his wedding even if he plays for Europe."

The decision to select Ashford Castle for their wedding was an easy one for Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll to make.

The couple - who have been dating for over four years - have brought in the New Year at the lavish estate for the past two years.

Cong's impressive list of celebrity guests over the years also includes Prince Edward, Princess Grace, Prince Rainier, Eric Clapton and Jack Charlton.

Online Editors

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News