Diamond Limerick couple who found love in London over 60 years ago

Donal O'Regan

Reporter:

Donal O'Regan

Full circle: Pat and Mary Hourigan left Limerick for London to find work, found love and are as happy after 60 years of marriage as they were on their wedding day

Full circle: Pat and Mary Hourigan left Limerick for London to find work, found love and are as happy after 60 years of marriage as they were on their wedding day

PAT is from Doon, Mary from Fedamore and where did they meet – a dance hall in Wimbledon.

It is the quintessential ex-pat love story in the UK. Pat and Mary Hourigan married in Tooting, London and have just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.

There were few jobs in County Limerick in the 1940s and 1950s so Pat left these shores at 19. Mary was even younger at just 16. They carved out successful careers in construction and nursing respectively, and met the love of their lives.

They wed in December, 1957 when Mary was nearly 21 and Pat was 23. Mary recalls that it cost £20 a head and over 200 attended their nuptials.

Two children followed – Josephine and Polly – and they now have five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. While living in London they dreamed of having a big back garden and now they do in Cappamore.

“We always wanted to come back to Ireland,” said Mary.

They came back in 2002 after almost 50 years in England.

“We have got everything here in Cappamore that you would ever want. It is a lovely little village and people are very nice. It is close to where he is from in Doon,” she continued in her lovely light London lilt. 

Pat and Mary are as in love today as they were on their wedding day – as the photographs prove. But what is the secret to a long and happy marriage that had lasted over 60 years?

“I don’t know really. We have always gone off and enjoyed ourselves. We’ve had a good life really. We never had a lot of money to spare but we were very happy,” said Mary.

And they are to this day. Being a Doon man, Pat brought his love of hurling across the Irish sea. Pat was one of the founding members of the Sean Treacy’s club in London, which he also captained.

“Our Sundays were spent out following the Treacy’s,” said Mary.

She turns 82 this month and Pat will celebrate his 84th birthday in March. They plan on celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary with family and friends next month.