No turning back for Áine's big day
A Dromore West bride has spoken of her joy at beating the odds of getting to the church on time after Storm Emma disrupted her travel plans home from London for her wedding.
Aine Kilgannon was due to marry her South African fiancé Heath Bateman last Saturday at 1.30pm in the Church of Perpetual Succour Dromore West.
Their woes started on the Wednesday before when Heath, who works at The Weather Channel in London, had his flight cancelled after a four hour delay. They booked more flights to Shannon for the following day for himself, his parents Beverley and Gordon and brother who had already travelled all the way from South Africa for his big day. They had intended spending a day or two touring in Galway before his nuptials.
On the Thursday, Heath's flight to Shannon was cancelled, as was Aine's flight to Dublin.
Aine got to work and decided the ferry was their only option left. "I said 'we have to get the ferry' and the earliest one was at 2pm on the Friday," Aine told The Sligo Champion yesterday (Monday).
Her determination kicked in and Aine, Heath and a wedding party of 25 arrived at London Euston Train station at 6 o'clock Friday morning to get the train to Holyhead port in Wales.
"My boss Yasir Hussain actually offered to drive me to Holyhead," said Aine. "All the trains out of Euston were cancelled and we were just praying that the train would go to Wales," she said.
"It was delayed by 40 minutes and then we were told to go to platform 10 - there were screams of joy out of us," she said.
Two hours into their train journey however, Aine was told that all ferries from Holyhead were cancelled. She didn't break down. "I did not cry at all. My next mission was to get the next ferry after that," said Aine.
One lady she spoke to actually told her to 'turn back now' but Aine persisted and told her that "this was my only option."
"Even if it's the next day, I told her I had to get married tomorrow," she said.
Staff at Stena Line heard of their predicament and gave them a cabin to rest in and some prosecco while waiting for the next sailing. The captain visited them and told them the next sailing would be 5am Saturday morning.
They finally left Holyhead at 7.15am and arrived in Dublin at 12.15pm, much to mother of the bride Una Kilgannon's relief.
Templeboy bus driver Michael Finnegan was waiting to drive them to Kilronan Castle and they arrived there at 3.15pm. Having missed their church time, Fr Anthony Gillespie drove to Keadue church to marry the couple at 6 o'clock on the Saturday evening, when Dad TJ finally got to walk Aine up the aisle.
"I was on a high, the adrenalin kicked in. The staff at Kilronan Castle let us party on for longer afterwards to make up for the three hour delay to our wedding reception," said Aine, who is an account manager with Mapp Media in London.
"I was in top form!" she smiled. "It was an epic journey but we had no choice as Heath's family had travelled all the way from South Africa and they had spent so much money getting here," she said. The happy couple are now spending some quality family time showing Ireland to their South African relatives.