IT WAS Frank McCourt’s alma mater, a museum in honour of the Pulitzer Prize winning author and now the Hartstonge Street centre has hosted its first ever wedding.
While Niall Keely and Niamh Ni Aodha are from Galway and Clare respectively, the couple said ‘I do’ in front of over 90 guests in the former Leamy’s school on Saturday because their love story began - and continues - in Limerick.
“We live right in the city and really love it,” Niamh explained, adding that she loved Angela’s Ashes and wanted somewhere with history and a connection to their lives.
“A lot of our early dates were going for walks by the river or around the Georgian quarter. We love the Georgian area, and there are so many gems there.
“We also wanted to share this lovely part of Limerick with our friends who may have a different impression of the city,” she said.
They both wanted somewhere “a bit different” and knew the Frank McCourt museum was “the right place immediately”.
Both of Niall’s parents were teachers so a school room seemed fitting, and Niamh’s grandfather, Fred O’Brien, was also a pupil in Leamy’s school.
Niamh’s mum and her 14 brothers and sisters grew up on Catherine Street so this part of the city felt very special to her.
“The street was their playground. My grandparents also had a shop on Roches Street, my grandmother was a dress maker and grandad a tailor,” she said.
Both attended the University of Limerick at different times - for undergraduate and postgraduate courses. Coincidentally, they both had also worked for the same company - again at different times - but finally their paths crossed in the Strand Hotel three years ago for the company’s Christmas party. “We had similar interests and became friends first. Then we decided to organise a party in The Shannon Boat Club together, and very soon we became a couple,” said the beautiful bride.
Among the special guests at their wedding was their 10-month old daughter Willow, while they celebrated afterwards in No 1 Pery Square until the early hours. The bride’s style was inspired by icons from the 1950s, and by chance, she met Limerick milliner, Irene Curran during Riverfest last year, who designed and made a bespoke piece for her.
Una Heaton, director of the museum, said she was “delighted and honoured” the couple chose the museum for their wedding, and hopes Frank’s spirit bestows on them a happy union. “The day was perfect. There was a very warm feeling to it all. Frank had some sad times here, but it’s great to see happy times here now.”