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Michael O'Doherty: How Brian and Amy got it just right (unlike other celebs)

Only a couple of weeks back, I raised an eyebrow at the manner in which Cecelia Ahern and David Keoghan got married.

Fooling friends and media alike with a surprise ceremony, the main purpose of the foill seemed to be to catch the press off guard.

There was, I said then, another way to do these things, half way between the cloak and dagger event they organised, and the selling of the event to a celebrity magazine.

If you wanted an example of exactly what I meant, you need look no further than Co Leitrim at the weekend.


Brian and Amy's wedding was a PR triumph. In the hands of another couple, it's easy to imagine the locals bitching about how their town had been taken over, or the press complaining about the relatively lavish expenditure in such difficult economic times.

Instead, they attracted nothing but positive -- hell, make that glowing -- coverage.

Though they didn't give a single interview in the lead up to the event, in the process snubbing requests from just about every newspaper and magazine in the country Brian and Amy generated immense goodwill in the manner they conducted themselves when it came to the crunch.

Firstly, they kept it Irish. Choosing an Irish venue, an Irish bridal designer and even making sure their guests were just their Irish friends, and not some Z-list celebrity rent a mob, Brian and Amy set a tone for the festivities which would seem like a no-brainer to most people, but the details of which seem to curiously by-pass many others in their position.

They got the local inhabitants onside with a public walkabout the day before, and the inconvenience of the security arrangements was forgotten about.

Just as importantly, they gave the assembled photographers and well-wishers what they wanted.

Posing outside the church, embracing with Lough Rynn Castle in the background, Amy grinning like a cheshire cat as her bridesmaids waved for the cameras ... it's hard to recall a media event in which the participants seemed to be having so much fun. Many celebrities make their interaction with the public seem like a chore, reluctantly smiling for one shot before buggering off to the reception.


Not Brian and Amy.

But it was more than just good public relations.

When you read about the intense security, or the fear of an unauthorised photograph being published which accompanies weddings like Jordan's or any Premiership footballer you care to mention, you get the feeling that the couple in question don't actually enjoy what is supposed to be the happiest day of their life.

But despite all the media attention, it genuinely looked as if that's exactly what it was for Brian and Amy.

Not only are they in love with each other, but in the past few days, Brian and Amy made the whole country fall in love with them.

Check-trousered old golf guys still love Seanie

It's good to see that one of the last great bastions of backward, isolated-from-common-sense thinking -- the Irish golf club -- continues to remind us why they're such loathsome entities.

This week, it's the turn of Greystones Golf Club, where former banker Sean FitzPatrick continues to enjoy regular outings, while the rest of us pay for the catastrophic mess he's left behind.

Poor Seanie suffered the indignity of being heckled recently as he came forward to collect a prize in a tournament they ran and, sensitive soul that he is, complained to the committee. But rather than ask themselves why they still let this arrogant creep be a member of their club, they've instead chosen to reprimand the heckler.

These check-trousered old fuddy duddies, you see, still look fondly on how generous Seanie was to the club. "He was no saint," you can almost hear them say, "but he looked after us well," in an echo of the well-worn line always wheeled out by the relatives of convicted drug dealers at their funerals, as if doing one good deed excuses the person for being such a cretinous disgrace in so many other ways.

Well, of course it was easy for Seanie to be generous to Greystones Golf Club -- it wasn't his money or even the bank's, that he was being so magnanimous with. It was ours.

TCD should Beggar off

We always think of the academic world as being devoid of business nous, always a bit short of cash needed to replace the leather patches on the elbows of their members' corduroy jackets.

So you can imagine my surprise to read that my alma mater, Trinity College, has got a rather large stash sitting in the vaults of Irish banks. €200m, to be precise, and that in threatening to take it out and put it into 'safer' banks abroad, TCD risks undermining the Irish banking system.

Now I've nothing against businesses, even universities, making money. Colleges that look after their finances are probably doing an equally good job in maintaining academic standards. What I do object to, however, are the requests for cash which many former students receive from them on an annual basis.


I got mine only a few weeks ago, beautifully presented in a colourful brochure, explaining the need for investment, research, far-reaching capital projects to sustain their place at the forefront of worldwide academia.

But their message is fairly straightforward -- send us some money each month, because we deserve it.

Well here's an idea guys. Next time you need money for something, head to the nearest ATM and take out some of the €200m you've got sitting in your account. I'll take care of my bills, you do the same with yours...