Sunday 17 December 2017

Kiss and make-up: Sinead and Mary friends again at wedding of the year

Singers put past to bed as Mary's daughter walks down the aisle

Mary Coughlan and Sinead O'Connor
Mary Coughlan and Sinead O'Connor
Bride Clare and father of the bride Frank Bonadio.
Neil Jordan and wife Brenda.
Father of the bride Frank Bonadio with Mary and Sinead
Mary Coughlan with bridesmaid Maude Gibney, bride Clare and father of the bride Frank Bonadio.
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

THEY say a picture paints a thousand words. Yesterday, two of Ireland's most beloved singers, Mary Coughlan and Sinead O'Connor, were pictured with their ex Frank Bonadio for a very special gathering. Hopefully, it put the past to bed forever.

Yesterday, in the very smart Millhouse Hotel in Slane, Co Meath, that seemed like ancient history as Mary, Sinead and Frank were all beaming together.

Sinead, looking more beautiful perhaps than ever in a figure-hugging rigout she bought on Amazon, came over and gave me a big hug.

Filmmaker Neil Jordan with wife Brenda Rawn had just arrived. He was wearing jeans and a blue Paisley-pattern shirt.

Half-an-hour later, he re-emerged in a blue pin-striped suit and a cane.

Mary was fixing her dress in the reception of the hotel. Frank could be heard in the drawing room, introducing guests with American accents – this is so 'n' so from Minneapolis, etc. He was all smiles, as was his ex-wife Mary.

The very special occasion was the wedding of Mary and Frank's beautiful 21-year-old daughter Clare to Killiney man Ciaran Farrelly.

"I am so happy," the mother of the bride told me. "I have been up all night organising everything and unpacking dresses, but I am over the moon, so, so happy."

That happiness will be deepened further by the fact Clare and Ciaran's baby celebrates his first birthday today. "He is named Felice after his grandfather, who is Italian," Mary said.

The bride looked radiant in a beautiful creation by B Couture in Arklow. "We rooted everywhere for dresses," Mary said.

"It is specially made for her and she looks like a Hollywood star in it."

The whole star-studded affair had the feel of an old Hollywood wedding – the superstar blues singer who was married to the suave American; when that marriage breaks up the suave American then falls for the superstar soul singer . . . they fall out, then all become friends again.

And they were all together yesterday at the coolest Irish wedding of the year. Frank looking dude-stylish with his grey Nike runners worn under his tux, Sinead in a fitted creation that wouldn't have looked out of place at the Oscars, and 'Queen Mary' in a green guna by Irish designer Sean Byrne.

"I wanted the dress to reflect Mary's personality and I wanted her to feel comfortable," Sean told me.

"We decided on a stunning green silk dupion, which worked perfectly with my clean, tailored lines. I think Mary looks amazing and has a terrific pair of pins, which I wanted to show off."

But the mother of the bride only wanted to talk about the happy couple: "They have known each other for years because they worked in horses together.

"Ciaran works in Coolmore Stud breaking stallions," she said, adding that for their honeymoon, "they are going to Cadiz in Spain, where Salavador Dali used to live".

Mary's 84-year-old father Peter Doherty travelled up from Galway specially.

At 2.45pm in the sun, Frank, Mary and Clare emerged from the hotel, all singing: "I'm getting married in the morning."

Later, at 3.30pm, when the bride and groom came out of the old millhouse on the grounds, the rain was coming down in buckets but not even that could dampen spirits.

Mary sat at the 'Ennio' table with Frank, Sinead, and Mary's boyfriend of seven years John Kelly.

Neil Jordan sat at the 'Secretariat' table with wife Brenda and Richie Buckley.

The first dance – Jamie Lawson's I Wasn't Expecting That – was sung by Mary Coughlan herself.

She rewrote the last verse about the nurse saying it has come back because, Mary told me, "it was too sad to sing about. So I changed it to about Clare's smile as she walks down the aisle".

A happy ending in more ways than one.

Sunday Independent

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