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Ken & Priscilla

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I just wanted to share the wedding day timeline of this wonderful day. From the photographers point of view.
Ken and Priscilla’s big day, Such a beautiful story to tell. The wedding of Ken&Priscilla and how we went about capturing this amazing day.

By sharing the wedding day timeline it gives you the reader a unique glimpse from my POV.

I was first contacted by Tom Loomis. Tom no stranger to Macroom. He has been coming here for decades Bringing with him all the colour and sounds of the Philadelphia String band. Every two years for St Patrick’s day. Over two hundred travellers would grace our town and March in the parade. Many of whom were part of the Philadelphia String Band. Full costumes and brass instruments and tons of energy would create an amazing atmosphere right here in Macroom.

ken and priscilla at the gearragh
Ken and Priscilla at the Gearragh

Tom is the man behind all of that. Anyway, Tom contacts me letting me know he has sent his nephew my way to photograph their wedding. Which would be taken part in the Castle Hotel here in Macroom. Thanking Tom I was eagerly waiting for the first contact from the bride or groom to be. True to his word, Priscilla sent me an email. In her email she described why they were coming, what she was getting up to while here, and of course the fact they planned to wed while here.

She told me,

Tom, send her some of my work, and she would be delighted if I could shoot their big day. She also told me it was just going to be the two of them and two witnesses. So if I had any ideas about how we would go about it, she would love to hear. Delighted to be chosen to capture anyone’s special day. My mind went into overdrive. So I emailed her back and suggested an adventure of a shoot. I described that the area we live in is stunning, and only a few km away are even more breathing opportunities for amazing images. So I suggested this, why not when the ceremony is finished we drive to the Gearagh. The Gearagh is a historic site deep in history. Out here if we walk in for a few minutes there is a beautiful location for stunning images.

Priscilla at the Gearragh
Priscilla at the Gearragh

I sent her pictures and a video I had done of the Gearragh so she would understand it better. From the Gearagh we travel 10mins to Gougane Barra. Gougane Barra is the little church in the valley. Hundreds of years old is this little church. But out here it will provide us with unique opportunities for images. Then we could travel over the mountains heading back towards Macroom.

On the road upon the mountain, we could stop.

Taken in the scenery of old Ireland. Here the walls are still as they were hundreds of years ago. Old style cottages and vast mountains in the background. Once finished here we travel back towards Macroom and stop off at Carrignaphoca Castle. If we get permission we will be given the keys.

With the keys,

We can open up the castle and walk up the stairs and grab a few pictures in and around the 550-year-old castle. Then we can head back into town, and we can shoot in and around the hotel. When the light starts to fade we can simply step outside the hotel and take some images around the town. Maybe I can also ask the most popular bar if it would be ok for you guys to play a game of pool. And I can capture this also.

This is an adventure I am proposing. About 3 hours round trip. Some walking, the part of us going into the castle. We will need to walk through a working farm. Through the field to reach the castle. Then I sent the email. Sent the email along with images of each destination I had already taken images of.

And waited…………….. lol

As I was waiting my mind wondered that maybe I have purposed a bit too much. But I was honestly thinking if indeed it was just going to be 3 of us. Then we could capture so much in some of the most beautiful locations I know. Places I shoot regularly and know like the back of my hand. And since it was their first time in Ireland. Then send them home with some truly epic wedding pictures. You got mail…. Received an email back from Priscilla, simply saying ” That’s it !!” That’s what we will do she said. It sounds amazing and looks amazing in the images I sent her. Time to prepare. I had a good few weeks before their arrival.

In the meantime, I sent them friend requests on Facebook. Phoned the farm where Carrignaphoca castles is situated and asked for permission telling them my plan. Contacted Dinnen’s bar and asked the owner would it be ok to drop by with the bride and groom.

Thankfully both places were super kind and said not a problem. I have been out to the Gearagh a few thousand times already and so with Gougane, but still as the date got closer I travelled back out walking the grounds. Here I am just taking notes of areas that will work well when it comes time to shoot. I do this for every wedding I shoot.

Just best practise to have your homework done.

The surprise….. As the date due closer, Tom Loomis contacted me again. Here he told me how Ken’s mum and dad, Tom and his wife were going to fly over the day before the wedding and surprise them in the hotel. Super, I said, I will be there. It will be an amazing opportunity to round off this whole story when giving back the images.

The Evening before.

The evening before the wedding, Priscilla was competing in cork city. She was doing a high jump in the city and was to return to the hotel later on in the evening. Ken’s mum was using messenger to keep in contact with Ken. Using messenger allowed her not to give away the fact.

That now they were in Ireland and hiding in the very hotel Ken and Priscilla planned to get married. I travelled down to the hotel that evening and met up with Tom and his wife and both the parents of Ken. I told them I would just hide away back here and capture the surprised expression on their faces when they arrived. And then we waited.. and waited. Eventually around the corner of the bar at the hotel came Ken and Priscilla. The images I have attached here says it all really. No need to explain the joy from this moment when you can see it in the images.

The day arrived..

The morning of Ken & Priscillas wedding I was up extremely early. Not because of nerves or anything. But because I had a very sick dog at home. And I was trying to syringe water into his mouth and I was also trying to get him to take his medication. Bear was the name of my dog and he was in pretty bad shape from an accident the day before. Woke up my Girlfriend and we decided it he needed to go to the vets, and have fluids and medication administered through a drip.

We loaded bear up and Eva took him out 20 mins before the vets were due to open.

I finished getting ready for the wedding and made my way down to the Castle Hotel.

Here I met Ken and Priscilla while they were having breakfast and learned the room numbers of which each were getting ready in. Up to the bridal suite first for the bride.

Bridal Suite

Quickly on entering the bridal suite I rearrange some furniture to be able to situate the dress for the first couple of images. Priscilla was in front of the mirror getting ready.

At this time she said ” O yea James Rte is dropping by to do a piece on the wedding”. Kind of left out the whole hype about the wedding.

Priscilla is indeed an Olympian and has represented her country in the Olympics. When the papers learned of this, they were on it, as so were RTE. To be fair.

I wasn’t distracted by the hype at the time. Had so much going on with Bear, who sadly wouldn’t make it just a few days later.

I absolutely love this time at a wedding.

When it just you and the bride/groom. You get to read the situation and the nerves well. Was hoping for some of the nerves to pop up at this wedding. Nothing? No nerves, not what I could see anyway.

In fact, I am pretty much trying to be invisible in the bridal suite.

When Beyonce comes on over the speaker. There she is moments before walking down the aisle.

Dancing to brown skin girl by Beyonce.

It was a fantastic moment just watching the bride cool a cucumber dancing away. Headed over to the grooms room where Ken and his Father and Tom Loomis were. Again just staying out of the way and clicking away capturing the moment. Maybe some nerves here at the grooms room. Nope, As a photographer, you are always watching out for the nerves. They can be so amazing to capture. It is that raw form of emotion that makes an image just perfect.

Instead, I got to capture something equally beautiful.

It is strange to describe it. Coming from the bridal suite where she was dancing doing her makeup.

Where the Rte cameras following her around. To the grooms room where the groom and his father and uncle Tom were. All talking about how you would have to relocate for work these days. And I guess in that calmness of the morning lies the beauty of it all. These newlyweds weren’t nervous or scared, they absolutely could not wait to get married. And it was glowing from them. It was perfect.

Castle hotel staff here were absolutely amazing. I mean they go above and beyond for everyone, not just brides and grooms.

A member of the staff actually handpicked and arranged flowers from her own garden for the boys. Ken and Priscillas plan of sneaking away. Come to Ireland, compete and get hitched without making a fuss.

Well turned out a little differently. Tom has a long connection with the town.

TOM has fantastic people at the Castle Hotel. They looked after him, when he made the calls and arranged a few things. The parents and Tom and his wife flying over well that was just the cherry on top. Back to the bridal suite, where now it was time for Priscilla to get into her stunning dress. She was joined by Ken’s Mum and one of the witnesses named Lauren.

Once in the dress,I position her for a few quick images before I headed to the room where the ceremony would take place. A friend of Priscillas, named Alex got ordained and performed the ceremony. It was absolutely beautiful. Alex and Lauren signed the papers and it was time to start the adventure.


ken and priscilla at the gearragh
ken and priscilla at the gearragh

We headed to the Gearagh where Alex and Lauren joined the newlyweds. On reaching the Gearagh we had to walk about half a mile in to find the first spot that I had chosen to photograph them. No worries, Priscilla picked the dress up and started walking with Lauren. I was chatting away with Ken and Alex as they helped carry the off-camera flashes and stands.

We reached the first place and started shooting, creating amazing images with the scenery and blue sky and white fluffy clouds. Started to walk back to the car, stopping off at a few places on the way back to create a few more images. Then it was off to the little church in the valley.

Gougane barra
The beautiful gougane barra


Gougane needs no introduction, maybe the most photographed little church in the country. Here we were joined by Ken’s parents and Tom and his wife. We photographed here for about an hour. Then I turned to them and said “right we have two choices”

A, we head back over the mountains stopping off for images up there.


B, we head to Carrignaphoca Castle and create some images there. Trust me it is a lot to ask, summer’s day carrying the wedding dress, suits on, fully dressed up. He said the castle, I want to do the castle.

Ken is a history teacher back home, the castle was a must for him.

Right follow me…..

Priscilla reflecting on the day at Gougane
Priscilla reflecting on the day at Gougane
Using Natural light from the doors to create this image
Using Natural light from the doors to create this image

Carrignaphoca Castle.

I have to admit, this is the part where I thought they would pull out. Working farm, we had to get the keys of the castle, walk about 500 meters through a field that hosted cattle all year round. I thought if they are going to cut the adventure short, this is where it would get too much.

Alex and Lauren joined us at the castle also.

Carrignaphoca Castle.
Carrignaphoca Castle.

I quickly knocked on the door and grabbed the keys. We walked through the farm, and into the field. Again Priscilla hoisted up the dress and started walking with Ken. I am in the middle of the group. Alex and Lauren behind me. Walking the distance to the castle, there were cows and calves in the field. I’m thinking if they get spooked here they might want to turn around and go into town. Nope !!!.

In fact, Lauren started walking towards the calves.

As she is doing so all dressed up shes joking. “Hey guys watch the shadows in the grass, there not shadows” referring of course to cow poo. We were all laughing at this stage as we reached the castle. We got the gates opened and I explained to them we need to go up the old castle stairs.

Carrignaphoca Castle.
Carrignaphoca Castle.

Told them,

“guys it’s very steep, so slow and stead.

No problems, Priscilla marched forward. followed by her husband. Making sure that he had her just in case she slipped backwards. We all reached the top of the castle and took a minute to look out the windows at the amazing view. We created some amazing images here.

Before descending down the stairs again. Outside and around the castle, we created some more epic images. We walked back the field and said thanks to the family who allowed us access through their farm and onto the castle. Actually here we had to separate Lauren and the farm dog, she became good friends with him and was rubbing his belly.


We headed back to the hotel, where I said alright guys, I shall leave ye rest for a bit. I will head home, which is 2 minutes away.

I’ll be back in a while and we shall head around the town for a few pictures. Back home I was able to upload the images I had taken already and edit a quick few. Sending them directly to the bride and groom.

Dinnen's Bar
Dinnen’s Bar

They were blown away, to say the least. In the late evening, I headed back down to the hotel, where they were finishing up dinner. Quickly photographing the proceedings here. We headed out, first down to Dinnen’s bar where they had a game of pool.

As Irish as you can get.

Got a fabulous reception when we entered. My idea for the images were simple, have it as Irish as possible. Don’t remove anyone from the images or change anything around for the images. Just shoot naturally, take nothing away. We popped outside the bar and I took a few more images outside. Actually the owners son popped his head out for one of the images. And I left him in the final cut. Why ?. Because quite simply that’s as Irish as you can get. The bride and groom loved it.
I had other images of him not in it also. But that was too funny to not include. We headed around the town stopping off at a few places and creating epic images.

Using two flashes on stands pointed at the couple I was able to use Macroom as my backdrop. I walked them back to the Castle Hotel and we gave each other huge hugs. I assured them the images are epic, and I could not wait to start editing them. They were over the moon.

Said my goodbyes and jumped into my car. Sat in my car for a few minutes just to reflect.

It was indeed a fantastic day.

At times I thought the adventure would be too much. We have to understand here, we are talking, fully dressed up. High heels, suits the lot.

And some of the locations there was quite a bit of walking and walking in a summer day, all dressed up.

But no, not a worry in the world to them. They loved it, heck I loved it. I used the places I visit regularly and know so well, to create epic wedding images. In doing so we had fun. Certainly, a day to remember!!

It is days like this I love been a wedding photographer.

Amazing people.

You can read more about this amazing day here at RSVP magazine just click HERE.

You can check out my wedding gallery HERE

and you can check out my wedding photography packages HERE

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