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Sunday 21 September 2014

Nice day for a blue wedding!

DAVID MEDCALF reports from Kilrush

Published 07/06/2011 | 12:11

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Credit: PICTURES: GARRY O'NEILL

Even the bridesmaids wore Leinster rugby blue as Irish international star Leo Cullen married Dairine Kennedy (inset, top) in St. Brigid's Church, Kilrush on Saturday.

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A procession of Irish rugby stars passed through the gates of the church under a huge 'Come on Leinster' banner, among them Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman, Gordon Darcy and Johnny Sexton. KILRUSH was given a touch of high society on Saturday as rugby star Leo Cullen came from Wicklow to marry Dairine Kennedy of Clobemon Hall, between Ferns and Bunclody.

Press photographers jostled with each for the best shots of burly sportsmen and their brightly attired partners on the steps of St. Brigid's church. And the occasion was blessed by beautiful sunshine as the guests admired stunning views across the countryside to the west and north.

A huge 'Come On Leinster' banner spanned the gate to the church and the three bridesmaids (Ciara Kennedy, Louise Bloom and Cliona Godwin) wore blue to remind everyone of the Heineken cup winning allegiance of the groom. And massive blue hydrangeas were prominent among the blooms in the spectacular floral arch that adorned the doorway to St. Brigid's.

Liam Cullen, retired butcher and uncle of Leo, became an instant media hit as he provided a good humoured briefing beforehand to the gathering hacks and snappers. Meanwhile, the string quartet rehearsed in front of the altar inside the church with its startlingly modern 1960s design providing early arrivals with some mellow entertainment.

Father Joe Power bustled around shaking hands and smiling to all and sundry. The Mass servers – Jordan Allen, Lisa Fortune, Sarah Devereux, Patrick Doran and JJ Clarke – were immaculately robed in white and red. All this was happening in a townland barely large enough to register on the sat-nav screens of the approaching Mercs and Lexuses.

Some of the locals, including at least one who could pull rank as a former rugby player himself (on the Enniscorthy thirds team), congregated along the wall of the cemetery to play spot the celeb, or maybe gaze at the gúnas. Others ventured closer in the hope of picking up an autograph or two.

On the evidence of Saturday's display, heels are being worn high this year and so are the hems. The support of a manly lock or threequarter came in very handy for those ladies tottering on stilettos across the gravel of the car park. Cheery Leinster and Ireland team mate Gordon Darcy arrived with a young lady who elegantly defied the norm with a pair of flat sandals and a dress that swept the ground.

With the wedding scheduled for three o'clock, the watchers and waiters were rewarded for their vigil in the heat at precisely 2.36 p.m. when the groom swept up to the church's rear entrance aboard a swish black Volkswagen. His white waistcoat was picked out in dazzling splendour by the sun, until he donned his sombre wedding jacket.

The towering Leo – all six feet five inches of him - arrived with his groomsmen David Clarke, Thomas Keating and Owen Cullen. Brother Owen looked practically identical to his sibling, but sported a pink tie to distinguish himself from the groom, as the alert paparazzi soon figured out.

Father of the groom Frank Cullen, arriving with his wife Paula, did his best to explain the location of the family home at Callow Hill, somewhere in the Bermuda triangle marked out by Ashford, Roundwood and Newtownmountkennedy. He spoke of how Saturday was a great day for the Cullen family, coming just a few weeks grandchild number one was delivered by daughter Sarah. The little lad is called Fionn, barely the size of a rugby ball.

Leo was also in laid back good form, greeting everyone with a casual 'Hi, guys'. It must be ever so reassuring to soldier alongside his calm presence in the torrid trenches of a ruck. He left the worrying to the one person in Kilrush capable of looking down on him – Bob Casey of the London Irish Club. Bob is so tall he had to duck going in the door under the hydrangeas. He took charge of security and photo-opportunities. No-one dared to argue with Bob.

Who is that? The man with the sling – that's Shane Jennings. And the lad bursting out of his black suit, that has to be front row mauler Stan Wright. Where's Drico (Brian O'Driscoll to the uninitiated)? Here he comes, the Irish rugby captain sweeping up the steps hand in hand with wife Amy Huberman. Brian pressed ahead with all the determination of a centre spotting a gap in midfield. But Amy still found time to tell the reporter from the 'Evening Herald' where she bought her dress before being yanked out of the public gaze. Somewhere in the Westbury Mall, in case you need to know.

Teenaged girls all but swooned at the site of brawny Tullow man Seán O'Brien. The photo patrol were delighted to have Jonathan Sexton in their sights but the crowd along the cemetery wall reserved their applause for two of their own, Bab and Tom Davitt. Bab confirmed that she was responsible for baking and deco-

rating the cake – all three layers of it. The first layer was biscuit, the second lemon and the third chocolate. Delicious to taste and parcelled in inevitably blue ribbon.

Leo and Dairine met at college. She has since found herself a proper job as an executive with Google, while he has been playing games as a professional sportsman, not making full use of his accountancy qualification. You don't need letters after your name to work out that a try and conversion adds up to seven points.

The Kennedys hail from Limerick but Dairine's parents Jerome and Deirdre have happily settled in at Clobemon by the Slaney, where the marquee was erected at the weekend for the wedding reception. The bride made the short journey from the house to the hill leading up to the church in a 45 year Jaguar, which expired with a cracked rotor 200 metres from its destination.

Fortunately, a swish modern Mercedes driven by a member of the Clobemon staff was ready to sweep Jerome and Dairine up the gate – shortly after half past three.

The bride looked every bit as beautiful as a bride should be, with a ready smile for friends and cameras alike. Spectators gasped and clapped at the site of

the gorgeous ivory white dress that skimmed the gravel. Up the steps with her and then into the church to the stains from the strings of Pachelbel's Canon in D. Ahh!

While the ceremony went ahead inside, a scattering of onlookers waited outside in the church grounds – impeccably manicured for the occasion by FÁS workers such as Michael Kenny and Jim Mulholland. The photographers took advantage of the break to send their pics back to base from via dodgy broadband from their cars. Brendan Keely, the man with the Jaguar, busied himself repairing the cracked rotor.

Then at last the happy newlyweds emerged into the sunshine to be the snapped and clapped. Yer man from London Irish kept a wary eye on proceedings but it was all very relaxed and good natured. The men with the long lenses started a game to see who would be first to capture a decent pic of Jonathan Sexton's mystery lady in black, the only person present to be in the least camera shy.

Snapping and clapping over, bride and groom squeezed into the Jag. Leo's knees must have been up around his trademark ears as he took his seat in the back. Off to Clobemon Hall with them then for a slice of Bab Davitt's cake in the marquee. Great day for a blue wedding. KILRUSH was given a touch of high society on Saturday as rugby star Leo Cullen came from Wicklow to marry Dairine Kennedy of Clobemon Hall, between Ferns and Bunclody.

Press photographers jostled with each for the best shots of burly sportsmen and their brightly attired partners on the steps of St. Brigid's church. And the occasion was blessed by beautiful sunshine as the guests admired stunning views across the countryside to the west and north.

A huge 'Come On Leinster' banner spanned the gate to the church and the three bridesmaids (Ciara Kennedy, Louise Bloom and Cliona Godwin) wore blue to remind everyone of the Heineken cup winning allegiance of the groom. And massive blue hydrangeas were prominent among the blooms in the spectacular floral arch that adorned the doorway to St. Brigid's.

Liam Cullen, retired butcher and uncle of Leo, became an instant media hit as he provided a good humoured briefing beforehand to the gathering hacks and snappers. Meanwhile, the string quartet rehearsed in front of the altar inside the church with its startlingly modern 1960s design providing early arrivals with some mellow entertainment.

Father Joe Power bustled around shaking hands and smiling to all and sundry. The Mass servers – Jordan Allen, Lisa Fortune, Sarah Devereux, Patrick Doran and JJ Clarke – were immaculately robed in white and red. All this was happening in a townland barely large enough to register on the sat-nav screens of the approaching Mercs and Lexuses.

Some of the locals, including at least one who could pull rank as a former rugby player himself (on the Enniscorthy thirds team), congregated along the wall of the cemetery to play spot the celeb, or maybe gaze at the gúnas. Others ventured closer in the hope of picking up an autograph or two.

On the evidence of Saturday's display, heels are being worn high this year and so are the hems. The support of a manly lock or threequarter came in very handy for those ladies tottering on stilettos across the gravel of the car park. Cheery Leinster and Ireland team mate Gordon Darcy arrived with a young lady who elegantly defied the norm with a pair of flat sandals and a dress that swept the ground.

With the wedding scheduled for three o'clock, the watchers and waiters were rewarded for their vigil in the heat at precisely 2.36 p.m. when the groom swept up to the church's rear entrance aboard a swish black Volkswagen. His white waistcoat was picked out in dazzling splendour by the sun, until he donned his sombre wedding jacket.

The towering Leo – all six feet five inches of him - arrived with his groomsmen David Clarke, Thomas Keating and Owen Cullen. Brother Owen looked practically identical to his sibling, but sported a pink tie to distinguish himself from the groom, as the alert paparazzi soon figured out.

Father of the groom Frank Cullen, arriving with his wife Paula, did his best to explain the location of the family home at Callow Hill, somewhere in the Bermuda triangle marked out by Ashford, Roundwood and Newtownmountkennedy. He spoke of how Saturday was a great day for the Cullen family, coming just a few weeks grandchild number one was delivered by daughter Sarah. The little lad is called Fionn, barely the size of a rugby ball.

Leo was also in laid back good form, greeting everyone with a casual 'Hi, guys'. It must be ever so reassuring to soldier alongside his calm presence in the torrid trenches of a ruck. He left the worrying to the one person in Kilrush capable of looking down on him – Bob Casey of the London Irish Club. Bob is so tall he had to duck going in the door under the hydrangeas. He took charge of security and photo-opportunities. No-one dared to argue with Bob.

Who is that? The man with the sling – that's Shane Jennings. And the lad bursting out of his black suit, that has to be front row mauler Stan Wright. Where's Drico (Brian O'Driscoll to the uninitiated)? Here he comes, the Irish rugby captain sweeping up the steps hand in hand with wife Amy Huberman. Brian pressed ahead with all the determination of a centre spotting a gap in midfield. But Amy still found time to tell the reporter from the 'Evening Herald' where she bought her dress before being yanked out of the public gaze. Somewhere in the Westbury Mall, in case you need to know.

Teenaged girls all but swooned at the site of brawny Tullow man Seán O'Brien. The photo patrol were delighted to have Jonathan Sexton in their sights but the crowd along the cemetery wall reserved their applause for two of their own, Bab and Tom Davitt. Bab confirmed that she was responsible for baking and deco-

rating the cake – all three layers of it. The first layer was biscuit, the second lemon and the third chocolate. Delicious to taste and parcelled in inevitably blue ribbon.

Leo and Dairine met at college. She has since found herself a proper job as an executive with Google, while he has been playing games as a professional sportsman, not making full use of his accountancy qualification. You don't need letters after your name to work out that a try and conversion adds up to seven points.

The Kennedys hail from Limerick but Dairine's parents Jerome and Deirdre have happily settled in at Clobemon by the Slaney, where the marquee was erected at the weekend for the wedding reception. The bride made the short journey from the house to the hill leading up to the church in a 45 year Jaguar, which expired with a cracked rotor 200 metres from its destination.

Fortunately, a swish modern Mercedes driven by a member of the Clobemon staff was ready to sweep Jerome and Dairine up the gate – shortly after half past three.

The bride looked every bit as beautiful as a bride should be, with a ready smile for friends and cameras alike. Spectators gasped and clapped at the site of

the gorgeous ivory white dress that skimmed the gravel. Up the steps with her and then into the church to the stains from the strings of Pachelbel's Canon in D. Ahh!

While the ceremony went ahead inside, a scattering of onlookers waited outside in the church grounds – impeccably manicured for the occasion by FÁS workers such as Michael Kenny and Jim Mulholland. The photographers took advantage of the break to send their pics back to base from via dodgy broadband from their cars. Brendan Keely, the man with the Jaguar, busied himself repairing the cracked rotor.

Then at last the happy newlyweds emerged into the sunshine to be the snapped and clapped. Yer man from London Irish kept a wary eye on proceedings but it was all very relaxed and good natured. The men with the long lenses started a game to see who would be first to capture a decent pic of Jonathan Sexton's mystery lady in black, the only person present to be in the least camera shy.

Snapping and clapping over, bride and groom squeezed into the Jag. Leo's knees must have been up around his trademark ears as he took his seat in the back. Off to Clobemon Hall with them then for a slice of Bab Davitt's cake in the marquee. Great day for a blue wedding.

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