As first daughter Georgina Ahern and pop idol Nicky Byrne exchanged tender “I dos” inside the church, some Irish journalists reportedly endured punches and kung fu-style kicks from security guards outside. Adding to the surreal atmosphere, formerly friendly villagers started shouting abuse at the happy couple and their guests for taking over the scenic village of Gallardon. Representatives from Hello!, the British celebrity magazine that bankrolled the affair, were on full alert, making sure that no one got a look at nuffin’, aw royt?
Ahhh . . . ain’t love grand?
The nuptials, which have been the focus of national attention in Ireland for the last few weeks, drew journalists and photographers from scores of Irish and European newspapers. The hacks were corralled at a distance from the 11th-century church, l’Eglise Saint Pierre et Saint Paul, but this did not seem secure enough for the guards, whose ranks included plainclothes cops. When the cameras started clicking, the guards sprang into action. A photographer from the Irish Sun was reportedly hoisted by the scruff of the neck and deposited six feet away, while a News of the World shutterbug received a punch to the head. A snapper from the Irish Daily Star could be forgiven for assuming that everybody was kung fu fighting. Those kicks were fast as lightening. (Sorry — couldn’t resist. Though, in fact, it was a little bit frightening . . . Huh!)
As everyone knows, les contretemps were inspired by the Hello! deal, which involved enormous piles of francs in exchange for exclusive coverage of the event. What you might not know is that the media blackout included all members of the wedding party: bridesmaids, groomsmen, and parents. So for the duration an taoiseach was, technically speaking, as unavailable to the media as his pop star son-in-law.
Everyone arrived in swanky limos and buses — make that “people carriers” dahling — with the windows blacked out. Among the few details to leak out: the bridemaids wore lilac dresses, the Cristal champagne flowed freely (was P. Diddy in the house?) and the kegs of Irish beer, imported especially for the occasion, didn’t make the journey unscathed.
“It was a bit bitter,” a guest confided to the Sunday Independent.
The meal was prepared by chef Oliver Dupart, who has une Michelin star to his credit, so the roast mignon of veal was probably tres yummy — though we’d have had to pass on the smoked meat and ratatouille pie. Ditto the cr