Rugby legend meets his match
Paul's bride impresses French with chic style
IT takes a lot to impress French women when it comes to style – but new rugby bride Emily O'Leary swept them all away at her wedding to 'giant' Paul O'Connell.
There were approving "oohs" of "tres belle" as Emma arrived in a sweeping gown of white chantilly lace, with a draped back and small train and a headdress of white flowers and feathers.
"I'm happy – very happy," said Paul afterwards, as he kissed his bride. "It's a great day and we're really looking forward to the rest of it."
The guest list was a veritable Who's Who of Irish rugby.
Ronan O'Gara and his wife Jessica were first to arrive, along with Donncha O'Callaghan and his pregnant wife Jenny.
Legendary Ireland kitman Paddy 'Rala' O'Reilly was next to arrive, as well as Alan Quinlan, chatting away to business magnate JP McManus.
Keith Wood and Peter Clohessy were flanked by fellow former greats Frankie Sheahan and Anthony Horgan.
"I was afraid to put on my shirt," joked Keith as the sun blazed overhead.
Munster chief Niall O'Donovan arrived at the cathedral with former Ireland internationals Barry Murphy and Jerry Flannery.
Munster coach Rob Penny and former Lions player David Wallace and current Irish scrum-half Eoin Reddan were also there, with retired international Mick O'Driscoll. Perhaps a touch more than is fashionably late, Emily arrived with her father Pat in a vintage Renault car.
Her bridesmaids, wearing mint floral print dresses, were her sisters, Stephanie and Danielle, and best friend Lorraine Murray. Her flower girls in pink were Paul's nieces, Julie and Rachel O'Connell and Jessica Collins.
Paul had arrived earlier, with best man, his brother Marcus, and groomsmen, his brother Justin and Paul, Emily's brother.
"You couldn't miss him," said the Irish holidaymakers, as they pointed them out to members of the local French media who had gathered for this occasion.
Guests were later bussed to the stunning Chateau Lartigolle, in nearby Pessan, for a stylish reception, billed as 'French country with a cosmopolitan twist', were they enjoyed a banquet 'en plein air' of local seasonal produce such as canapes, local foie gras with fig chutney, pan-fried duck breast and fennel bisque or warm wild mushroom tartlets.
But a spectacular spit-roast was the centre piece of the feast. The bride and groom later fed one another with the top two choux buns, in line with local custom.