Sunday 21 January 2018

Couple climb Croagh Patrick to say 'I do' in mountain top church


Tomás Heneghan

Saying ‘I do’ at the top of a mountain might not be everyone’s ideal big day, but it was for one Galway couple recently.

Filipe and his wife Anna decided to climb Croagh Patrick and marry in the small church at the top at the end of May.

Speaking to, Filipe said the pair had climbed the mountain once before and wanted to have a small, private wedding there.

After making it to the peak in ordinary climbing clothes, the pair had a room in the small church to change in.

“We were very happy to know that it was possible to get married there. It was a very small wedding in a very small venue. We didn’t take too long to arrange it. It was very straightforward. We just had to climb the mountain.”

They were then married by Fr John Kenny who Filipe said “was very happy to do it”.

Friends gathered for the ceremony
Friends gathered for the ceremony

Filipe said he was concerned about the weather on the day and the pair had chosen May as they thought May and September would be the driest months.

He explained: “It’s always a risk to climb Croagh Patrick because it’s a bit hard to predict the weather.

“We were lucky, to be honest, we were lucky. It didn’t rain at all that day. It was a bit sunny when we were climbing, which was beautiful. After the ceremony we had some sunny spells.

“If it was the day after it wouldn’t be so nice, so we were lucky.”

However the weather was not going to put a dampener on the couple’s big day as Filipe explained they had a “plan B”.

“Of course we had a plan B. We went to the Westport church to book. We had the plan B to book the St Patrick’s Church at the bottom [of Croagh Patrick], in the event that it would be very nasty weather. But thank god we didn’t need the Plan B.”

As well as planning for the perfect month, Filipe said they also wanted to get married on a weekday rather than a weekend, so they could avoid the tourist rush.

“That’s one of the reasons we booked during the week. We didn’t want to do it on a Friday or a Saturday because of that. We didn’t want to have many people around, just us. There were a few Irish but lots of tourists - Canadians and Americans.

“They hadn’t seen us really on the top because when we got to the top and we dressed up there wasn’t that many. But while we were climbing Fr Kenny was introducing us.”

The couple had two days in Westport and went to the Westport Coast Hotel after returning from the mountain.

They followed up their unique wedding with a honeymoon to Spain, where they walked the Camino de Santiago.

Filipe told “It was perfect. We did the Camino de Santiago, the North one, the one by the coast. Last year we did a portion of it. This year we finished it.

“We decided to do that on our honeymoon because climbing Croagh Patrick is a pilgrimage, lets say, so we just continued that walking. It was excellent.

“A little bit painful because it’s always painful the first week, but afterwards it’s just amazing. You clean your head. It’s good to do housekeeping on your brain and on your thoughts and everything, so it was very nice.”

Filipe and Anna finished their wedding celebrations in Spain with “three days just to chill out”.

The couple, who now live in Galway, met in Portugal before Filipe moved to Ireland eight years ago for an IT job.

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