Finding my parents’ honeymoon memories in battered old suitcase

Family Fortunes: Annette McCafferty and Vincent Geraghty were married in 1956

What I had expected to be a chore became an absolute labour of love. After a stay in hospital, my dad had gone to a local nursing home – he thinking it was short term, us knowing otherwise. We persuaded mum to move to a bright, well-located apartment, just around the corner from her old home. She was not exactly delighted at first, but she knew it was the only way she could remain living independently.

As mum and dad had struggled to cope, the family home had become run down, so preparing it for sale was a foregone necessity; it was on with the rubber gloves.

Among the clutter, dust and memories lay a battered leather suitcase of dad’s filled with old papers and certificates. Hidden away in an old folder, I found a long-kept and secret documentation of their honeymoon, almost 60 years before.

Annette McCafferty and Vincent Geraghty were married in St Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry, at 10am on August 22nd, 1956. Wedding Breakfast followed in The City Hotel, and then they set off!


They flew from Belfast Airport to Glasgow. The return airfare for Mr Geraghty “& Friend” was £11/-. Dining at table no. 5 in Restaurant 101 on Hope Street, Glasgow, and ordering an omelette (costing 5/6), steak (10/6), veg (2/-) and sweet, (6/-). Drinks cost 7 shillings. They spent their wedding night in The Central Hotel – bed and breakfast costing all of £3-12-6.

Just their style

Onwards the next day to the Edinburgh Festival – just their style. No sun worshipping for Annette and Vincent. They took full advantage of their week’s membership. I know they would have adored the infamous Edinburgh Military Tattoo which they attended on the Friday evening. And there was time for shopping – Dad buying a new cap, and Mum a headscarf in Forsyth’s on Princes Street.

Their new life together began in Newcastle, Co Down. The following year I was born. A move to Belfast followed, and the safe arrival of twins. Next stop was Donegal, where we lived for seven happy years before packing up once more and heading to Sandycove, Co Dublin.

In the end, mum was to live only six months in her stylish new apartment near dad’s lovely nursing home – she passed away peacefully, but most unexpectedly, in November 2016. Dad eventually passed away in the early hours of August 23rd, 2017.

I will forever be convinced that Mum put out her hand to him on the night of his death – their Wedding Anniversary calling “ Vincent! What’s keeping you?” Together again and at peace.

Happy anniversary darlings.