Our Wedding Story: A former Christian brother meets his future husband at Alternative Miss Ireland

Joe Kirby and Brendan Treacy

 

Joe joined the Christian Brothers in 1981 and lived in St Helen’s in Dublin – then a monastery – until he left the congregation in 1987.

“I was very happy when I was living in St Helen’s and throughout all my time in the brothers, but I wasn’t free to be fully myself. I didn’t come out until after I left and had moved to Abu Dhabi to teach.”

Fourteen years ago, he met Brendan, from Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary, at the Alternative Miss Ireland. Within a month the couple had moved in together and a year later they opened an interior design business, Silver River Interiors, in Tullamore, Co Offaly, (which they moved to Dublin last year).

Joe and Brendan – who never wanted a civil partnership, “we were already business partners” – were married on February 20th last at the Radisson Blu St Helen’s Hotel. “Going back there was like completing a circle,” says Joe. “I was able to be fully myself in front of all my family and friends.”

The humanist ceremony was celebrated by Joe Armstrong, a former Marist priest who had known Joe as a fellow philosophy student at UCD, “back when I was Brother Matthew living in St Helen’s”.

Two former Christian Brothers performed music during the ceremony and Brendan surprised his new husband by singing The Voyage by Christy Moore.

Brendan’s parents have both died, as has Joe’s father, but the men were joined by Joe’s mother Kay as well as their brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces. Among the 90 guests were friends from Joe’s time working in the Middle East who had travelled from Trinidad, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Turkey and the UK.

The newlyweds’ first dance was to Dear Future Husband by Meghan Traynor. They live in Tullamore.

Photograph: Paula Nolan, paulanolanphotography.ie

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