'We thought we were very sophisticated and 'pretty cool ' but our waitress saw through us right away and said 'you 're on your honeymoon ' '

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'We thought we were very sophisticated and 'pretty cool ' but our waitress saw through us right away and said 'you 're on your honeymoon ' '


Michael Carlin describes his wedding day including the food and dress. He remembers the emotions he felt when standing up to give his speech. He also describes his honeymoon, he drove down to the South of Ireland with his new wife. He remembers how they felt lonely after a few days and decided to cut the honeymoon short. He reflects on the sacrafice his wife made in moving away from her family to the Troubles just beginning in Northern Ireland.


Michael Carlin


Trinity College Dublin




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Michael Carlin

Is Part Of

Marriage and Family


Life Story

Spatial Coverage

Newry, Co. Down

Temporal Coverage


Life Story Item Type Metadata


Women are usually better at answering these questions than men, but I do remember a lot of the wedding day. At my mother's insistence, all the men were in morning suits, top hats, tails, gloves - the whole works. Although Joan and I resisted, we knew we couldn't win. But when we look back at the photographs and see how well everyone looked, we realised that she was right. We were married in the Church of our Lady's Nativity, Leixlip, Joan's home village. It was a wonderful day. The sun shone and, with a few exceptions, it has continued to shine on us over 40 years later. We put a lot of effort into planning the whole thing, not only in preparing for the day, but preparing for our life together. We attended a pre - marriage course which ran for 8 Sunday evenings. One of these clashed with the England v Brazil world cup match (the one with the famous Gordon Banks save). None of the males (including the Counsellor) wanted to miss the match, so the kick off time on the course was delayed and everyone - well, maybe not the Ladies - was happy. Although we had meticulously planned the wedding Mass and the ceremony, the whole thing seemed to pass me by until it was time to take our vows. I became very nervous and stressed - so much so that Joan thought that I was having cold feet. Afterwards, outside the church, everyone was commenting on the beautiful singer and magnificent music. I never heard one note of it. Our reception was held in the Country Club in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath. Joan did a great job selecting the meal menu and my friend, Liam Ryan, who was a leading showband manager, provided the music. Everything ran smoothly until it was time for the groom to speak. I began confidently, as I had the whole thing written out and had read over it the previous night and that morning. But writing it was one thing, delivering it to our family and friends was a different matter entirely. I was so overcome with emotion that I was forced to abandon it half way through. I sat down feeling highly embarrassed. On the first night of our honeymoon we stayed in the Montrose Hotel in Dublin. When we went into the dining room for our evening meal, we thought we were very sophisticated and 'pretty cool' but our waitress saw through us right away and said 'you're on your honeymoon'. Next morning we hit the road in the Hillman Imp (with its boot in the front) and travelled the south and south west of Ireland. We stayed a few days in Ardmore, County Waterford and then we moved on to Glengarrif in beautiful west cork, where we visited the famous Garnish Island. While we couldn't wait to get away to be on our own, after a few days and strange feelings of loneliness came over us. One morning we decided to cut short our trip and head back to spend some time with Joan's parents and her sister, Brigid. The next big step was Joan having to leave her family and friends and come with me, up to Newry, where the troubles had just broken out. I knew that she was in love with me, but it was a big leap of faith and I don't know if I fully appreciated what she was giving up.




Irish Research Council for Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (IRCHSS)

Research Coordinator/P.I.

Dr Kathleen McTiernan (Trinity College Dublin)

Senior Research Associate

Dr Deirdre O'Donnell (Trinity College Dublin)


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