Always looking out for differences from other newlyweds? The unique and unusual idea for Irish weddings, over the past few months, seems an excellent beginning. We have been busy at work seeking out the best secret and unusual wedding venues around Ireland, just see what we’ve found…
Fancy a grand country house to celebrate in style all by yourselves? Well that’s what Uppercourt Manor just outside Freshford in Co. Kilkenny offers you – a beautiful 17th century country estate, recently renovated to the highest standards, all available on a private rental basis. Imagine yourselves enjoying breakfast in the huge traditional Irish Kitchen, family around the table in the Breakfast Room preparing for a celebration to remember later with all your loved ones in the expansive Banquet Room. Sitting Rooms, Library & Music Rooms, a huge estate to wander, gardens with rolling lawns to sip champagne upon before the dancing and speeches. This is the Downton Abbey dream for the 21st Century.
Guests: up to 100 indoors
Accommodation: sleeps 20 (plus extra house sleeps 24)
Just on the outskirts of Bray lies the historic estate of Killruddery, the seat of one of Ireland’s last truly aristocratic families – the Earl and Countess of Meath. The house is a Victorian Gothic revival mansion built on the site of a much older house, and it boasts one of the most romantic rooms in the country – the Orangery. Newly available for ceremonies and events, this is a space to behold. After dinner in the orangery, a candle lit path takes your guests to the grain store, through part of the 17th century gardens. In the grain store you can let loose and have a really great party in the 18th century barn conversion facing into a beautiful courtyard. So you’ll have the best of both worlds, grand reception, party par excellence in a space you can make your own.
Guests: up to 120 indoors
Accommodation on site: none but Kilruddery is in Bray town
Reknowned for its Friday night Posh Nosh Club, Durhamstown Castle has earned its place among the places to escape for a culinary retreat in Ireland, and now they are opening up their doors (and lawns) to weddings with a difference. This 600 year old tower house is nestled in the quiet countryside of Meath, outside Navan (just a skip away from Dublin on the N3), and is perfect for those looking for an intimate wedding location with the emphasis on good food and warm atmosphere. For those with a larger guest list, the gardens provide a perfect setting for a marquee and you know the food would be second to none.
Guests: 20 in the castle, more dependent on marquee
Accommodation: rooms to sleep 12
Combining a newly renovated former 12th Century church, a country farm house, rolling parkland, a riverside setting and a huge barn to party in, Brook-Hall just outside Lisburn near Belfast in Northern Ireland, is a place to relax, celebrate, party and enjoy. Gather friends and family to stay in the self-catering cottages, exchange vows in the historic former church, wander the secret and walled gardens with a cocktail before enjoying a rustic style reception in the big converted barn, Brook-Hall offers a great space to those who want a wedding with a difference.
Guests: 90 in the barn
Accommodation: the four cottages sleep 20
Just outside Killarney, at the beginning of the picturesque Ring of Kerry is Coolclogher House run by Mary Harnett and her loyal team, who are denizens of real Irish hospitality. This romantic Victorian Country House is certified for civil ceremonies, enjoys beautiful views of the Kerry mountains and is reknowned for the quality of the dining experience so you can be assured your guests will be wined and dined to a high standard. Smaller groups could celebrate in style within the manor house itself, or for larger parties a marquee can be organised on the lawns so guests can enjoy summer sunshine and all that Kerry hospitality has to offer…
Guests: dining room seats up to 12 guests, marquee dependent on guests
Accommodation: up to 15 in house