With miles of rugged coastline, a young and vibrant capital city of Dublin and the endless beauty of the rolling, green hills surrounded by low mountains that give it the nickname of ‘The Emerald Isle’, it is clear why Ireland is where you wish to be wed.
Here are our top five churches. The first three are smaller churches in the country and two are larger, grander options.
Cratloe Church, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare
Cratloe Church is a distinctive white-washed barn church dating from 1791 with an intimate and beautiful interior. Bishop Newman called the church the “little gem of Limerick Diocese”. It is one of only three remaining barn churches in Ireland.
Cratloe Church is a popular location for marriages with up to 120 couples from many countries getting married there each year.
St. Finbarr’s Oratory, Gougane Barra, Co. Cork
Named after the patron saint of Cork, the St Finabarr’s Oratory is set on a small island in the middle of a lake in the magnificent Gougane Barra valley. St Finbarr’s Oratory is probably one of the most picturesque church settings you will ever see.
The Oratory accommodates just 50 people for a wedding liturgy and is popular with couples who want their marriage ceremony in ‘a place away from it all’.
Coolcarrigan Church, Coolcarrigan, Co. Kildare
Nestled in woodland on the Coolcarrigan estate, the church is unique, romantic and traditional. It also has a distinctive round tower. As the church is surrounded by a dry moat, it is only accessible by walking through the Lynch gate.
It is for these reasons that it has been featured in several films, including ‘Irish RM’ starring Peter Bowles.
Ballintubber Abbey, Ballintubber, Co. Mayo.
Dating from 1216, Ballintubber Abbey on the shores of Lough Carra is fully operational complete with a beautiful ruined cloister and a sacred well on the grounds. It is the most historic site in the area and the only church still operating in Ireland that was founded by an Irish King (Cathal O’Conor, King of Connacht).
Ballintubber is an ancient, picturesque village nestled at the foot of the Partry Mountains. It sits on the Tóchar Phádraig, the ancient and well-travelled pilgrimage route to Croagh Patrick.
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.
Perched on a hill overlooking the River Liffey, at the heart of the historic city of Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral has been at the centre of Dublin life for almost 1000 years. A wedding venue your guests will not forget, Christ Church is available for weddings year round. An ideal venue in particular for an atmospheric winter wedding, with plenty of candles and rich red and green winter wedding décor.
Some words about the wedding gifts
When it comes to wedding gifts it can feel a bit dull to choose something from a couple’s registry. Even if the couple ask for a new toaster or mushroom brush you may want to get a more personal gift that speaks from your heart. If you want a gift that shows the couple how much they mean to you, personalize or customise your gift so your message is clear to them (check www.eternityrose.co.uk for some good ideas).
A gift that celebrates the couples union and gives them an opportunity to continue the celebration of their love and commitment to each other in the years ahead is a perfect gift. Expect more on this topic with our next post…