Our wedding story: ‘My uncle called over with a fry-up for everyone’

Hot water bottles and crisps kept Claire McMahon and Donal Neville going on the 15-minute drive to their wedding recepton

Claire McMahon, a GP who plays camogie for Clare, met Donal Neville, a primary school teacher from Adrahan, Co Galway, in 2007 at NUI Galway.

In August 2014 they were in Rome when Donal proposed at the Trevi Fountain. “It shouldn’t have been a surprise after eight years, I suppose,” laughs the bride, “but it was.”

Neither wanted a long engagement so when the Armada Hotel in Spanish Point, Co Clare – a place close to their hearts – was available on February 7th, they went for it.

Note to other brides: The only obstacle that arose by planning within a short timeframe was wedding-dress related. Claire was told her perfect dress would take more than six months to order. Luckily, the same one – in her size – was found after digging through boxes of new stock.


The bridal party – bridesmaids were Claire’s sister Helen McMahon, and friends Emma O’Driscoll and Aine Jones – spent the morning of the wedding in the McMahons’ house in Kilmaley.

“I’m one of five so the house was buzzing with my three older brothers, their partners, three nephews and one niece [aged between three months and six years], two dogs, my parents Anne and Eugene, and my aunt Kathleen McMahon. My uncle PJ McMahon called over with a fry-up for everyone.”

Claire and Donal were married 200 yards from her family home in Connolly Church, in which Anne Roamer had arranged the “amazing” flowers. The couple loved that Fr Pat Larkin asked them to face the congregation during the mass.

Team-mates from Kilmaley Camogie club were waiting outside the church with a guard of honour, and the 15-minute drive to the reception was made all the nicer by the hot water bottle, crisps and sandwiches left in the wedding car by a thoughtful sister-in-law.

Portumna-based band Hot Fuss (www.hotfussband.com) facilitated the dancing and the wedding finished up at 5.30am in the hotel residents' bar.

Claire, based in Co Clare, and Donal, currently teaching in Drimnagh Castle, Dublin, spent a week in Kerry after the wedding and are planning a trip to Argentina this summer.

We’d love to hear your wedding story. If you’d like to share it with our readers email weddings@irishtimes.com with a photograph and a little information about your big day

Photographs: Paul Corey, paulcorey.ie