Vivian Cummins and Erney Breytenbach


VIVIAN CUMMINS AND Erney Breytenbach were married at their holiday home in Hermanus, South Africa, by the Reverend Pieter Oberholzer, on December 12th. As they spend every alternate Christmas there, they decided to avail of its climate for their big day. The major determining factor, however, was the fact that they could get married in South Africa, which is not possible for them, as two men, in Ireland.

Vivian is the youngest of the late John and Marie Cummins’s five children and grew up in Clontarf in Dublin. He attended Belgrove National School and St Paul’s College in Raheny. He studied at the Dublin Institute of Technology (Bolton Street) where he qualified as an architect in 1982.

While most of Vivian’s work experience was gained in architectural firms in Ireland, he spent several years travelling the world in the early 1990s, mostly as the design director for Richard Branson’s Virgin Group. He set up his own architectural design consultancy in 1996.

Erney is the only son of Ina and the late Berney Breytenbach and he has one sister. He grew up in Montagu, where he attended the local high school, matriculating in 1975. On completion of his compulsory two-year military service with the South African Air Force, he took a gap year where he spent time at a kibbutz in Israel and travelled extensively around Europe. He graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a degree in political science and philosophy. He worked as a journalist with an Afrikaans-language newspaper in Johannesburg before joining the South African department of foreign affairs. During his time with the diplomatic corps, he had two overseas postings to Ottawa in Canada and Oslo in Norway.

Vivian and Erney met on Easter Saturday 1996 in Dublin, while Erney was visiting a colleague in the South African Embassy in Dublin. While there was an initial attraction, Vivian, in particular, did not want to pursue a long-distance relationship having just recently returned to live in Ireland. However, after travelling to Oslo for Erney’s 40th birthday party, they decided to make a future together and Erney took early retirement and moved to Ireland. Vivian and Erney’s witnesses for their marriage were their respective sisters, Orla Fanagan and Sarina Joubert. Their wedding photographs were taken by a friend, Anne-Marie Delaney from Timahoe, Co Laois, who now lives in Cape Town.

The ceremony was followed by luncheon on the terrace of their house, bedecked with a free-form canvas tent erected for the day to shield their families and friends from the sun. Erney’s nieces prepared the table decorations using indigenous South African flowers.

Vivian and Erney will continue to live and work from their home in a converted lock house on the Grand Canal on the Kildare/Laois border.