The skies may have been grey and drizzly but it mattered little to newly-weds Cormac Gollogly and Richard Dowling when they became the first same-sex couple to tie the knot under Ireland's new marriage equality legislation.
"It's great to be the first to do it," said Cormac as he gave his new husband a kiss moments after Senior Registrar for South Tipperary, Mary Claire Heffernan confirmed that they were first same sex couple to be civilly married in Ireland at 8.40am on Tuesday. A number of other same-sex coupled are due to marry today.
Cormac (35) a barrister from Terenure in Dublin and Richard (35) who works with AIB and is from Athlone, had met 12 years ago in The George in Dublin and within a few days were a couple and have been together ever since.
Just under two months ago, on 18th September, they formed a civil partnership at a ceremony at Kilshane House near Tipperary town again performed by Ms Heffernan. When the marriage equality legislation was enacted ,they decided to come back to South Tipperary to tie the knot.
Richard explained how he had proposed to Cormac on a beach in Sitges in Spain two years ago on September night ablaze with a fireworks and Cormac had immediately accepted his proposal and they have been planning this day ever since.
Cormac said they had decided to go ahead with the civil partnership ceremony in September as at that point there were still legal challenges to the marriage equality referendum result and they weren’t sure that it was going to survive such challenges.
“It’s ‘Murphy’s Law’ - had we not booked the civil partnership ceremony, then I bet the marriage referendum would not have passed, “ joked Cormac who paid tribute to the Irish people for passing the referendum and allowing him to marry his beloved.
Both Richard and Cormac made solemn declarations that they knew of no lawful impediment to marrying each other before they both vowed to take the other as “their lawful wedded spouse to love and comfort him in sickness and in health”.
“Richard and Cormac are now going to seal their marriage with the giving and receiving of a ring. A ring is an unbroken circle - it has no beginning and no end. It symbolises unending and everlasting love and is an outward sign of the lifelong promise that you have made to each other,” said Ms Heffernan.
This morning’s ceremony took place in the perhaps less than romantic setting of the HSE Community Care Hospital in Clonmel with the couple signing the register on a hospital trolley to confirm their new status.
Wearing a light grey/blue Hugo Boss suit, Cormac smiled as he and Richard exchanged vows and rings before their witnesses, Kilshane House co-owner, Jane de Roquancourt and Vitaliy Halstyan who runs an equestrian centre at the popular Tipperary country house.
Richard opted for a Ted Baker country gentleman look, complete with a fishing fly on his lapel and when asked if it had any significance, he paused for a moment and then joked: "Oh I used it to catch Cormac and it worked !"
The couple enjoyed a two week honeymoon in the Maldives following their civil partnership ceremony in September so another honeymoon isn’t in the cards immediately and instead they were planning to travel back to Dublin for a celebratory meal with family and friends this afternoon.