Our wedding story: from college love to a Kerry beach

Hilary O’Hagan and Conor Brennan A garden ceremony with all their friends (and family)

Hilary O’Hagan (32), head chef at 3FE coffee and owner of Blas Catering company, and Conor Brennan (33), a music technology lecturer at IADT Dún Laoghaire, both grew up in Stillorgan, Co Dublin. They met through friends during their college years, at DIT Cathal Brugha Street and Queen’s University Belfast, and after nine years together, Conor proposed on Coumeenole beach, Dingle, Co Kerry, in 2014.

On June 26th this year they were married, in a humanist ceremony, in the walled garden of Trudder Lodge, Co Wicklow. On the same day, 70 years before, the groom’s grandmother Kay McDonnell had married her late husband Joh. The reception was catered by Galway-based Yum Tree Kitchen, who laid on mezze starters, spit-roast lamb and chicken, and lemon tart and strawberries. The bride’s dress was from Dirty Fabulous – who also made her headpiece and veil – and her sisters, Lorraine and Joanne O’Hagan, were bridesmaids.

The best man, Tom Cosgrave, from Dublin band The Minutes, and Aoife Ruth played music during the ceremony, including an acoustic version of LCD Sound System's All My Friends as Hilary walked up the aisle and Neil Young's Harvest Moon, a favourite of Conor's.

Friends and family demonstrated their talents in the form of wedding presents: Rachel and Dave of Paceprint made the wedding stationery. Pastry chef Natasha Gibson, of Littlecakegirl, made the cake, and food stylist Jette Virdi decorated the venue.


Hilary’s aunt Ann, a former florist, created the floral arrangements, bouquets and buttonholes and her uncle Colm drove the bride and her father Joe to the ceremony dressed in full chauffeur uniform for the occasion.

The band, Shift and the Shifters, morphed their sets, and costumes, from the 1950s to the 1980s, and ended their night in a “battle of the bands” with the Daft Punk tribute act.

Before heading down to the basement bar for a singsong that went on until 8am, the newlyweds rocked the dancefloor to the original version of All My Friends.

The following day, Conor’s mother Anne Brennan and his brothers (and groomsmen) Barraí and Dáire Brennan, had organised a surprise sports’ day with a bouncing castle, ice-cream van, and egg-and-spoon races.

The couple backpacked through Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia for three weeks after the wedding.

Photographs: Yolene Dabreteau, yolenedabreteau.net

Sarah Geraghty