Life

Friday 18 October 2019

We still do: Three love-struck couples turn clock back to 1973 at wedding hotel

Here come the brides: Don and Breda O’Neill, Tom and Sheila Fitzgerald and Edward and Jean Barrett gather at the Metropole in Cork to remember their wedding day
Here come the brides: Don and Breda O’Neill, Tom and Sheila Fitzgerald and Edward and Jean Barrett gather at the Metropole in Cork to remember their wedding day

Ralph Riegel

Between them, they've been married for a combined 138 years. Now three brides are set to reunite at the same wedding venue they shared 46 years ago.

When Don and Breda O'Neill, Tom and Sheila Fitzgerald and Edward and Jean Barrett celebrated their weddings at the Metropole Hotel in Cork, Carly Simon's 'You're So Vain' was in the charts and 'The Sting' was the Hollywood blockbuster of the year.

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The three brides, who all worked at the Sunbeam plant in Cork, married within hours of each other on the same day in 1973 - two in the morning and one in the evening.

Two of the brides became life-long friends after meeting again on the train to Dublin en route to their honeymoons in Jersey.

Breda, Sheila and Jean back in 1973
Breda, Sheila and Jean back in 1973

All three will now return to their reception venue at the historic Cork hotel accompanied by their husbands.

However, these couples still have a few years to go to match James and Patricia Skinner, from Mitchelstown, Co Cork, who celebrated their marriage at the Metropole 68 years ago. The Skinners are now 95 and 96 and still happily married.

All of the couples will attend the hotel as part of its 'Wedding Club' reunion, with more than 200 couples set to attend.

Metropole manager Roger Russell said they were overwhelmed at the response to their wedding reunion.

"We have had so many visitors to the hotel over the last few months to tell us their stories about their wedding," he said. "Weddings have changed over the years, going from wedding breakfasts for an hour to big affairs with 200 people over the whole day."

"Over the last 50 years, we have had more than 3,000 weddings at the hotel.

Enduring love: James and Patricia Skinner, Mitchelstown, on their wedding day in 1951
Enduring love: James and Patricia Skinner, Mitchelstown, on their wedding day in 1951

To mark its romantic role, the 122-year-old hotel will also display a "wedding wall", with photos of all who have married there.

Irish Independent

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