I was asked to photograph the wedding of some good friends in Cobh, Ireland. I wouldn't normally be traveling to Europe in the summer high season but I really wanted to be there and do this for them. I asked Graham to come along as my guest. I fly over in the morning, he's coming later since i couldn't get a ticket on the same flight, having arranged mine before i invited him. I have a long layover in Dublin airport. They write my name down on a list to make sure my baggage gets sent on. Hmmm… Best offer a few extra sacrifices to the Luggage Gods. But they are having computer problems so my ongoing boarding pass is hand written and no seat is assigned.
My Aer Arann flight to Cork ended up being over an hour and a half delayed. By the time the flight is ready to board, there is no driver in sight for the bus that is going to take us out across the tarmac to the plane. Everything seems totally disorganized. We finally get out to the plane, it's open seating due to computer outages. We're queue to get on and I see on the wet ground beside the staircase… my luggage!!! A baggage handler calls out my name and asks if it's the only bag. Well that's a relief I say out loud. I was sure it wasn't going to arrive with me. The man in front of me turns and says, Yes but you don't have it in your hands yet! True enough!
And my luggage does indeed show up on the conveyer belt in Cork and I only have an hour or so to wait for Graham. There isn't a lot in the Cork airport to do while waiting. He arrives and so does our cab driver, prearranged by my friend Rose. Tony transports us safely to our hotel, the Bella Vista Hotel in the little town of Cobh (see review). The hotel is really pretty, with an excellent view of the town, cathedral and harbour. Our room is on the top floor with slanted eaves that bruise our heads more than once when we aren't paying attention.
We are meeting the bride and groom and two other friends who have arrived for the wedding, for dinner. We have enough time to change and walk down to the waterfront, not a long way to go. The pub that was chosen, however, has had it's liquor license revoked (another glitch) so we go to the Rushbrooke Hotel for dinner. The reception is going to be held here so it's a good chance to try out the cuisine and it doesn't disappoint.
Afterwards, we had back to the town centre where there are loads of bars and restaurants and go to the Titanic bar. We sit outside on the patio where there are musicians and singers and a step dance lesson is underway with audience volunteers. Rose sings a song or two including a very funny one that admonishes women NOT to get married. Off back up the hill to the resident's bar in our hotel for a few nightcaps and eventually we stagger up the stairs to bed.
Friday and we've got the day to ourselves until the wedding rehearsal this evening. The hotel serves up cold and hot breakfast in huge proportions and we both eat our fill, especially enjoying the wonderful warm scones! The glass conservatory that houses the restaurant is bright and cheerful and makes for an up beat start to the day.
We spend the rest of the morning walking around Cobh, examining St. Colman's cathedral, and the shops and buildings along the harbourfront streets. The clouds part briefly but there's a bit of a breeze off the water so it's comfortable for walking. We go to the Cobh Heritage Centre, a renovated old train station where the Queenstown Story museum is. I was there last time I visited but we both went through it again.
The wedding rehearsal goes off without a problem. A few more people from out of town have arrived and are in attendance as well. We all pile into two cars to go to a Chinese restaurant back in the centre of the town. All is well and we all enjoy a really excellent Chinese meal at the Hong Kong Kitchen, washed down with equally stellar Chinese beer.
We decide not to continue to the Titanic bar with some of the others and rather than walk back up to the hotel we do get a cab, sharing with Jane who's staying at the Rushbrooke. That's the thing about Cobh. Most of the streets are hills. Some steeper than others but if you are on foot, you *will* be climbing hills at some point.
Big day tomorrow. Hope the weather is nice for the wedding!
The weather doesn't look overly promising when we get up. By the end of the day it's nicer that it starts off but we don't see much blue sky.
We take a taxi to Rose's near noon. I wanted to take some pictures while she was getting ready. We do manage to get her to the church more or less on time and the wedding goes off wonderfully. They are so happy, just glowing! They've been together 5 or 6 years I think and have a 4 year old son who is probably one of the most beautiful boys you've ever seen.
Lots of photos are taken in the church yard with guests and with the couple posing for shots near the lovely old trees that surround the grounds. The hotel is decked out wedding style, the cake stands displayed and the room is ready for the guests who spend an hour or two in the bar inside and outside socializing first. The hotel is on the river that leads into the harbour and the grounds have a couple of places perfect for photos including an ivy covered archway.
The meal is probably the best wedding food I've ever had, with choices for each course. The food and wine is heartily enjoyed and the company is congenial. We make friends with the others at our table while we eat and listen to the speeches. The rest of the evening is as weddings always are. Cutting the wedding cake, First dance, band plays, people dance and drink. The party is enjoyed by all
This was our last night together. We talk about plans for our next visit (long distance isn't always so good!). The next day, I fly to Heathrow around mid day. I decided to stay in a hotel at the airport overnight. I am tired and feeling blue so i decide not to find my way into London and just walk around the area. There's a nice pub i find to have a drink and a meal in and i spend the evening catching up on my travel diary.