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Going, going, gone, thank God! - Irish wedding traditions change for the better

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Despite their best efforts, the "boys" had identified the Going Away car in which their suitcases had been waiting all day. It was invariably horrifically daubed with all manner of bawdy messages, and there were items like boots and corsets and rusty pisspots tied to the back.

The couple was shoved inside and the groom was so rattled (it was never his own car) that he jump-started the thing twice before eventually escaping at 70 miles an hour, all the pots and pans clattering, nearly blind because of the smeared windscreen.

And that was the Going Away. It was a dreadful ritual.

They had to stop a mile out the road to clean the windscreen at least and get rid of the clattering rubbish behind. They had to leave all their friends and families and loved ones behind at the height of the merrymaking.

They had to leave a hotel that was jumping with excitement and merrymaking and drive to another one maybe a couple of hours away near the airport.

Here they did not know one soul, and normally the place was like a morgue when they booked in.

They both had headaches after all the excitement and strain of the day. They were both knackered.

They would have loved to have stayed on to the very end of their very own party, but they had to go through the Going Away.

I've discussed the reality of wedding nights after Going Aways like that with many wise men down the years.  A fair synopsis would be that they were not very romantic at all. We will leave it at that.

Now, thank God, a honeymoon suite is part of the package provided by the reception hotel. Couples enjoy all the fun of the party and schedule the start of their honeymoon for maybe two days later when they are fully rested and relaxed again.

Going Aways have gone away for good. That is a mighty change for the better.

There is an odd time when we need to say good riddance to traditions. This is a classic example.

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