One last mayoral engagement
As they finish their year as lord mayor and lady mayoress of Dublin, Andrew Montague and Sinéad Ahern are busy getting ready to start a new life – as rock’n’roll-style newly-weds
THE FORMER LORD MAYOR of Dublin Andrew Montague and his former lady mayoress, Sinéad Ahern, removed themselves quietly from the Mansion House on Monday evening. Their personal possessions had already departed for their Ballymun home, including the crateloads of vintage cups that Ahern is assembling for their wedding, next Thursday.
Her trajectory in a few months from airy, relaxed bride in a Grease-style 1950s dress to what she frowningly calls Bridezilla is a source of lively entertainment to her friends. This is a 29-year-old woman of substance, pursuing a doctorate in clinical psychology, who in her spare time engages in feminist and Labour party activism with exceptional vigour.
“People would ask me what theme I was thinking of for the wedding, and I would say” – she puts on a slow, lofty voice – “ ‘It is a wedding theme: it’s a wedding.’ I thought I was the least Bridezilla person ever born. The idea of sitting down and having 120 people for beef or salmon would have been appalling.
“Then I found myself wondering about renting little vintage teacups to turn into candles and ordering little pearlescent hearts and pink ribbons on the internet for the Mass booklets and invitations, and spraying glue on to pink candles so I could put lace on them . . . I don’t recognise myself. Yes, I’m afraid pink is my theme. And roses. I am appalled at myself.”
They chose Kilkenny Castle – owned by the OPW – for the ceremony and would have liked a humanist service where God can be name-checked at least (in deference to both sets of parents). But although a new law allows for such services in selected places, it wasn’t enacted in time for the Montague-Ahern nuptials.
So a civil ceremony it has to be (unless you want two weddings, which they don’t), with the Beatles’ All You Need Is Love playing them up the aisle, and talented friends chipping in with Eva Cassidy numbers, a smidgeon of Bridge Over Troubled Water and a belt of We Go Together from Grease. Then they might ride a tandem down to the River Court Hotel for trout or lamb. Not beef or salmon because beef or salmon, basically, was the theme of their mayoral year, she says with some finality.
The former mayor and Labour councillor, for his part, will not be kitted out in John Travolta style, alas, although his year in office revealed him as a bit of a rocker. Ask for the top three memories of his year and he lists 1) meeting Aung San Suu Kyi, 2) the Dubs winning the All-Ireland and the thrill of introducing the team to 40,000 feverish fans in Merrion Square, and 3) holding Phil Lynott’s guitar.