Colm O’Leary and Elaine Reilly got married on 5 August 2022 in front of their families and friends in the beautiful Triskel Arts Centre in Cork City.

They were super ready and organised after a three-year lead-in.

My enduring memory of my youngest son’s wedding will be the broad smile of happiness across his face that lasted all day long.

I happened to be taking a picture of him with Philip, his brother and best man, and his groomsmen – Diarmuid, his brother, and his great friend Colm Foley – when Colm’s face burst into the happiest of smiles. “Wait,” he said, “I see Elaine,” and he quickly strode away to greet his beautiful bride.

Elaine glided up the aisle on her dad Donal’s arm. She was wearing a blush pink gown with an applique lace fitted V-necked bodice set off by a full skirt and train of delicate tulle. A very fine veil with a train completed the exquisite ensemble.

She was radiant, beautiful, sophisticated and confident, beaming back at Colm.

Colm grasped Elaine’s hand and hardly let it go all day. Their love and sheer admiration for each other was evident from the get-go.

Colm and Elaine climbed the steps and took their seats to the side.

I noticed Elaine struggling with her foot. She pulled and pushed for a few moments and then gently released her foot that had become entangled in her multiple skirts. That’s when I shed a few tears at the co-incidence that was unfolding.

On my wedding day, I too got my foot caught in my tulle skirts but unlike the gentle manoeuvrings of Elaine, I pushed my foot right through the skirt and remained like that until outside the church!

Their love of their families, commitment to friendship, enthusiasm for their work and gratefulness for life’s gifts all formed part of their day

Elaine’s mum, Mary, and I lit the symbolic candles of two lives. I pivoted on top of the steps trying to get Philip’s attention to guide me down.

He was a little slow off the mark but then responded to my wild gestures. While I was confident in my high heels, it had been a while since I’d worn them and I certainly did not want to be the mother in law in a heap before the ceremony got under way.

The rest of the ladies got Philip’s arm readily and I heard people saying later in the day: “Wasn’t Philip wonderful the way he guided people down the steps.”

Colm and Elaine’s wedding ceremony was crafted carefully by them. Their readings, music and vows signified two very kind and principled people with a serious moral compass.

Their love of their families, commitment to friendship, enthusiasm for their work and gratefulness for life’s gifts all formed part of their day.

Mary and Donal and Tim and I took part in the ancient Celtic ritual of hand-fastening of Colm and Elaine’s hands with ribbons symbolising the binding of two lives.


The reception was held in the magnificent setting of Fota Island Hotel and Spa. The meal was scrumptious and the hotel staff were wonderfully attentive and yet nicely unobtrusive.

Colm and Elaine have two trusted canine friends, better known as the doggos, Hugo and Penny. They made a brief appearance.

The speeches from Donal, Tim, Diarmuid, Colm and Philip were all well-crafted and light-hearted, with appropriate serious notes. Diarmuid welcomed Elaine into the O’Leary family with enthusiasm.

Our celebrations went on long into the night, finishing with a singsong where many of the young cousins contributed a song or two. It was lovely to see the young generation of cousins growing and developing into fine solid, talented citizens.

Phil Bowe, Colm’s uncle, gave a wonderful rendition of Sliabh na mBan, representing what I will call the middle generation.

Colman O’Leary, also Colm’s uncle, was also in full voice for the family favourite of Darby’s Castle. All the beautiful songs were appreciated, especially the performance of some funny numbers by Colm Foley.

Poignantly, there was a marked absence of the older generation. Colm’s grandad, John, recently deceased, was remembered and missed. Lil, Colm’s nana, was in hospital. Colm and Philip visited her before the wedding. These are the moments that make us proud.

We were thrilled to have Elaine’s grandad Tom with us. He represented the whole generation and was visibly proud of his gorgeous granddaughter Elaine.

I hope Colm and Elaine will have every happiness and success as they set out on their new journey together as husband and wife.