I recently drove to Kilfenora, Co.Clare for Ciara & Damien’s wedding. There was an interesting story behind this wedding. Back in April 2014 I photographed Sinéad & Conor’s wedding in Kilfenora in Vaughan’s pub in the village and posted them online as well as sharing them with Vaughan’s pub. Ciara and Damien, both from Ireland but living in London now, saw the photos online and contacted me asking if I would be available for their wedding. Thankfully I was as this was a great wedding to be part of.
It’s a long drive from Belfast to Kilfenora in Co.Clare, roughly 252 miles but I love the Burren landscape in Co.Clare so decided to travel down with my partner Aoifé and our friend Sandra and stay a few days in the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon. The Falls Hotel is in Ennistymon, a small town about 15mins from the village of Kilfenora. Ciara & Damien were staying in the Falls too which made meeting up on Saturday morning to get some preparation shots very easy!
The bridal suite looks out of the front of the hotel back over the Inagh River towards the waterfalls in Ennistymon (photo above). After getting ready we took a short drive North to the Burren college of art. This is where the ceremony was held. The Burren college of art is built beside Newtown Castle which is a 16th century tower house (photo below). The ceremony was held in the actual college however in the gallery space which was an amazing large white room. There was actually a photographic exhibition on the walls with images of Belfast by photographer Frankie Quinn who happens to live the same area of East Belfast i’m living in. I loved this as a venue for the ceremony, it looked fantastic and the soft light coming in the room made it very bright and airy.
Ciara & Damien had a humanist ceremony which was beautiful and they both looked fantastic as did all the guests. It was a lovely sunny morning as everyone arrived but during the ceremony the sound of heavy rain on the roof was a bit worrying, thankfully however just as the ceremony finished the skies cleared the sun appeared again! After the ceremony the guests mingled for a bit while I took some more photos. We got a few quick group photos at the castle and I took a few photos of the happy couple at the back of Newtown castle down a grassy road (top image).
Once the guests had all taken a few photos I jumped in my car and drove ahead. Ciara & Damien got into their wedding car and followed me. The guests meanwhile got into a bus headed for the reception. I drove ahead of the couple up the road to a particularly twisting section of the road known as corkscrew hill. It’s a short but steep twisting section of road that curves up the side of one of the very rocky hills in the middle of the Burren. I drove ahead to get a few photos of the wedding car driving through the landscape.
Once everyone arrived at Vaughan’s pub it was straight to the bar for the guests, I don’t think the Guinness tap stopped all afternoon! Vaughan’s pub (link here) for anyone that doesn’t know is a small traditional bar in the centre of Kilfenora, it’s small but full of character. It was also used for the filming of bar scenes in Father Ted which was filmed in the area. As a reception venue it’s brilliant, very laid back, the staff are great and it works really well for photos.
The dinner and dancing took place in the converted stone barn just to the side of Vaughan’s. I got sneak preview of the barn before the guests arrived and got some great photos. It was decorated beautifully and I think everyone was amazed when they finally saw the inside. I really enjoyed photographing this wedding. Ciara & Damien are an amazing couple and it looked like they were having the best day. I wish them all the best for the future and thanks for asking me to be there!
I actually got a lovely email from Damien after I’d given them their photos. It’s great to get positive feedback from a happy couple and I couldn’t resist sharing some of the email below.
“…we’re truly delighted with them. You really managed to capture the atmosphere on the day as we thought you would. The little moments and encounters between guests are really lovely as well as those you got of the two of us.
Ciara and I felt going into this, that a wedding is just as much about the people than it is about the bride and groom and this is really something across in the photographs.”