Tuesday 23 July 2019

US ambassador returns to his adopted home for lavish wedding

Tom Foley and his new bride Leslie Ann Fahrenkopf raise a toast to each other after the ceremony
Tom Foley and his new bride Leslie Ann Fahrenkopf raise a toast to each other after the ceremony
U2’s Edge and partner Morleigh pictured at the wedding
Gerry Ryan and his new love also attended the former ambassador's wedding
Kathleen Watkins and husband Gay Byrne at the church

Breda Heffernan

The worlds of diplomacy and celebrity were united in a sun-drenched churchyard in Co Kildare at the weekend as the society wedding season kicked off in style.

Former US Ambassador to Ireland Tom Foley returned to his adopted home country to tie the knot with his beaming bride, Leslie Ann Fahrenkopf from Washington.

Mr Foley had announced the engagement at a farewell party last January before stepping down as ambassador.


And while the couple might have been expected to walk down the aisle in the US, they instead chose the picturesque surroundings of Christ Church in Celbridge for their big day on Saturday.

The bride drew admiring gasps as she stepped out of a vintage car in a fairytale gown by designer Carolina Herrera.

The wedding was a star-studded event with U2 rockers Edge and Larry Mullen rubbing shoulders with film director Neil Jordan and theatre impresario Michael Colgan.

There was also a healthy smattering of political guests, including Health Minister Mary Harney and her husband Brian Geoghegan, EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy and his wife Noleen, as well as former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds and his wife Kathleen.

Broadcaster Gerry Ryan and his new love, UNICEF director Melanie Verwoerd, held hands as they arrived at the church along with property developer and owner of the new O2 arena, Harry Crosbie and his wife Rita.

Teen actress Sarah Bolger, star of 'In America' and, more recently, 'The Spiderwick Chronicles', injected a dose of Hollywood glamour as she arrived on the arm of her boyfriend and son of the groom, Thomas Foley Jnr. The younger Foley also served as his father's best man for the ceremony.

The 18-year-old movie star admitted to being overcome during the ceremony and shedding a few tears. However, she remained tight-lipped on the prospect of partaking in another Foley wedding any time soon.


The wedding was also attended by a slew of RTE presenters including Pat Kenny, who will step down as host of 'The Late Late Show' next month, as well as his predecessor in the role, Gay Byrne, and their Montrose colleague, Mary Kennedy.

Around 350 guests attended the ceremony, which saw them sipping champagne outside the church before being ferried to the nearby Castletown House for a sumptuous reception.

The newlyweds, who met in 2004 but only began dating last summer, later jetted off to Italy for their honeymoon. It is a second marriage for Mr Foley (57) and the first for Ms Fahrenkopf (41), a lawyer who worked in the White House before becoming a vice-president at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation.

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