Ballinacurra hosts first humanist gay wedding

December 1st, 2015 7:15 AM

By Kieran O'Mahony

Des McGahan celebrating with Daryl and Ray at their wedding ceremony. (Photo: John Allen)

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BALLINACURRA House in Kinsale was the perfect venue for the country’s first humanist same sex wedding last weekend. 

New Jersey-born Ray Davidson and Dubliner Daryl Gunning – both PhD students at UCC – were the lucky couple. 

As a PhD student of aquaculture, Daryl spends a lot of time in Bantry, researching with the Daithí O’Murchú Marine Research Station, while Ray is studying philosophy.

The newly-weds have been together over six years and got engaged in September 2013. 

Humanist registrar Norma McElligott officiated in a stylish private ceremony in the ballroom of the magnificent Georgian estate house and both Irish and American family and friends joined the happy couple for the special occasion.

‘We didn’t want two ceremonies – one for the date of civil partnership and then another for the legal partnership,’ said Ray. ‘We are true romantics and wanted one special day that we can mark every year and celebrate as we grow old together. Now that the law has changed, having one ceremony that is fully recognised is a dream come true and it really is the icing on the cake for us.’

‘Key to all of it for us was to find a stylish venue like Ballinacurra – that reflects what we are about and is also famous for its great food, the stunning coastal location of Kinsale and most importantly – somewhere that was private, and exclusive to us,’ added Ray.

Ray and Daryl are the first same sex couple to marry in Ballinacurra, and owner Des McGahan says it has opened up a whole new market for the country house, which is a few miles east of Kinsale town.

‘We were very excited about the results of the referendum and it’s going to mean a whole change in the style and direction of weddings, and this is a place that offers something unique.’

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