AN American bride has recalled her “perfect wedding day” ceremony, which was held in idyllic surroundings on farmland near the Cliffs of Moher last year.
Shannon and Thomas Young exchanged their wedding vows at a “most gorgeous” location on land owned by Pat Sweeney, who provides guided walking tours on his Cliff Walk.
The ceremony and reception, which was held on May 9, 2017, illustrates the tourism spin-off from the introduction of the cliff walking tours.
In total, 71 guests – 63 Americans, two English, and the remaining include their Irish friends enjoyed a series of visitor attractions throughout North Clare.
All of their wedding guests stayed in Doolin. The wedding party booked all 17 rooms at Hotel Doolin from Sunday until Thursday.
Shannon created a spreadsheet listing a large number of the Bed and Breakfasts in Doolin so that her guests could book a room that would be walking distance to the hotel.
Most guests stayed from Sunday until Thursday, some extended their stay until Friday or arrived earlier the previous weekend. A handful of guests only stayed two or three nights.
Asked why they chose Pat’s land, Shannon explains the views from his land were majestic and absolutely gorgeous.
“Since we were bringing our friends and family all the way to Ireland we wanted them to experience the views, culture, and spirit of the west coast.
“Our first look was down on the rocks near the Doolin Pier; we could see our ceremony site from across the water and it was very special.
“The ceremony was held at the most gorgeous location on Pat’s property. It was a beautiful sunny day with clear skies.
“Our mothers performed a hand fasting ceremony, which was a special touch. The reception at Hotel Doolin was also perfect. The party lasted until the early hours in the morning, and Ancormen Wedding Band kept everyone dancing and lively. Our wedding day was absolutely perfect,” she recalls.
Their wedding planner, Samantha Harding of Samantha Harding Events, connected them with Pat as one of three potential ceremony sites.
Samantha Harding planned their wedding ceremony, including organising their florist, ceremony space, hair and makeup artists, transportation, and all of the fine details. Hotel Doolin had a fabulous team for hosting and planning their wedding reception.
The couple decided to risk the weather and chose to have their ceremony on Pat’s land.
Having connected their guests with Pat, about 25 of their friends and family joined him on his walking tour to meet them at the Cliffs the day before their wedding.
Shannon describes their nuptials as the best week of their lives.
Having spent the weekend with quite a few wedding guests in Dublin, they drove to Doolin on Sunday, May 7 for their welcome party at Hotel Doolin and then dinner at Gus O’Connors.
On Monday, May, 8 they hosted their guests at the Cliffs of Moher to enjoy the sites and visitor center together. This is also when their friends embarked on Pat’s walking tour.
They hosted their rehearsal dinner that night at McDermott’s Pub in their private room before their wedding day on Tuesday, May 9.
On Wednesday, May 10, they hosted a farewell barbecue at Hotel Doolin for their guests, and then joined about 15 of their guests on O’Brien’s Cruise Tour beneath the Cliffs of Moher.
“Our wedding was more than a day, but a wonderful week enjoying County Clare. Our friends left with fantastic stories about hiking the Burren and surfing in Lahinch. We couldn’t dream of a better wedding and a better experience for our friends and family,” she recalls.
Shannon is from San Clemente, California USA while Thomas is from Colorado Springs, Colorado USA. The couple met studying at the University of Colorado at Boulder and currently live in Denver, Colorado USA.
Shannon works for Favor TechConsulting, LLC in the Health Care Information Technology field, supporting the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Thomas is a Press Secretary at the Sierra Club, supporting the Beyond Coal campaign.
The couple first visited the Cliffs of Moher in June 2015. It was their first time visiting Ireland, drove from Dublin, down south through Kilkenny, spent a few nights in Dingle, and then attended the Doolin Folk Festival in Doolin.