(Daithi O Se is one of Ireland’s leading TV personalities who presents the Rose of Tralee, the most popular program on television.He and his Irish American bride Rita Talty will marry this summer)
I’ve been engaged for almost a year now and to say that the wedding preparations got underway almost immediately would be an understatement.
A very exciting time for all, especially both families. The day the parents met was a funny one. Even though my future in-laws have been in the US for 35 years you could swear they had never left Co. Clare.
Both sets of parents are very alike. My father comes from West Kerry and my mother from just outside Castleisland. They met in Chicago and lived there for ten years and came home in 1969, with two children and one in the oven! Not me, I came along a few years later.
I was told the Mike Talty my Father-in-law to be was a gas man.(Irish parlance for a man who likes to pull off a joke or two )
Gas men don’t really like other Gas men going out with their daughter, not alone get her to move back across the lake where he came from! I was kinda nervous meeting him. When I came to the door he let a roar! ‘get the big gun Micheal and the heavy bullets’ Jesus what kind of a lunatic is this fella I said to myself. It turned out that the lunatic was only acting the fool. A Gas man out and out.
Mrs. Talty, ‘the Irish American’ I call her and she hates it! Not alone did I ‘steal’ her daughter from her, but also her best friend. She breaks my chops all day every day, so we get along great! I am really lucky that we get on so well.
There was a tradition in Ireland as far as I know to ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage. Even though I was in my local pub ‘An Bóthar’ one night at Christmas and I was the only one out of nine lads who did so. They actually laughed at me!
So how do you ask a ‘Gas man’ for him daughter’s hand? With great difficulty, especially when his phone doesn’t stop ringing! We were in New Jersey for a month last summer and I’d head of with Mike every day in the truck ( I was waiting for my chance).
I had planned on asking midweek, but midweek came and went. I realized then that it was harder than I thought. I finally got the nerve one day when we were coming up from South Jersey. I asked and Mike went quite.
This was unfamiliar territory for both on us, there was never more than 30 sec. silence between us. ‘are you off you head’(this is the biblical version) he shouted! Again he was messing, he shouted so loud even the lady who was in the car next to us swerved. It was very funny. I got the all clear. Not forgetting that if you ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage the father of the bride has to cough up on the big day and he will. God bless traditions!
In the beginning we were going for a small wedding, but as time went by the list grew! The wedding list is one of the hariest parts of the whole thing. This was only the start. If you get married in Ireland there are two parts, the Church and State it’s the same almost everywhere.
On the civil side of things there is something to watch out for if you were born in the USA and getting married in Ireland. Your birth cert needs an Apostle Stamp from the USA. The embassy stamp is not good enough. If you don’t have this stamp the Wedding will not go ahead. This happened to us.
In Ireland you have to register your marriage 3 months before the date or it’s a no go! Wedding are a bit different here. A few months back we sent out ‘save the date’ cards. I said to herself that this might confuse a few people at home and it did. We received 4 RSVP from these ‘save to dates’. I can only imagine what these people thought when the real invite came.
Usually at the Church the groom and his best men are waiting at the top of the altar for the bride and all her ladies. I’ve been told the groom men and the bridesmaids will walk up the church together, leaving me like a ‘Pleb’ at the top on my own!
On to the reception. We are having a cocktail hour. This is all new to my Irish friends. We’d have a cocktail hour alright, but not until about seven am and they are a different kind of cocktail. Sausages of course!
Once they’ll realize that there will be booze there they’ll be fine. In Ireland it seems the men do all the talking after the dinner, Father of the Bride and Groom, the best man, the priest and the groom. Not a female voice within an ass’s roar!
We have favors for people, which is common enough here. I can’t let the cat out of the bag about them but we have ‘kerry for Sam’ M&Ms.
This wedding could get dangerous as we are expecting a set dancing ‘dance off’ between the Kerry Polka/slide and the Clare Reel. The Clare crowd have only read about our fancy footwork in folklore. I hope they have the note pad ready!
In true West Kerry style the day has turned into three and gone from a wedding to a festival. The 12th of July a great day to be Irish just like the other 364.