THEIR engagement made national headlines but their wedding on Friday, December 27th was wonderfully private.
It was while he was still serving as an exceedingly high-profile county mayor that the independent councillor Declan Hurley first laid eyes on Catherine Biggs at Dunmanway Agricultural Show on July 1st 2018.
One year later – to the day – Declan brought Catherine ‘walkabout’ at his farm in Dunmanway until they came across a cow with the question: ‘Will you marry me?’ painted on its side. The cow in question was Butters, one of Declan’s favourites.
Catherine, an award-winning hair and make-up artist whose mother Angela is a native of Dunmanway, said ‘yes,’ and the rest of the story became national news.
‘Shortly after our engagement,’ Declan said, ‘we decided that we wanted a small and intimate wedding with just our family and very close friends.
‘You could say our wedding was a break from tradition. We decided to keep it very simple and pared-down. There was no bridal party, just our parents who witnessed the marriage, and our friends and family helping us with everything on the day.’
The wedding itself took place in St Joseph’s Church in Ballinacarriga, close to where Declan attended primary school and where Catherine’s mother now lives.
Describing their wedding day, Catherine said: ‘It was fantastic: Declan sent his little Austin 10 vintage car to pick me up and my uncle gladly walked me down the aisle as my Dad passed away six years ago. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church and the Dunmanway Folk Choir sang beautifully.’
The reception afterwards was at the Inchydoney Island Hotel, where Catherine and Declan enjoyed their first and subsequent dates.
They marked the occasion with a wild and windy photo on the headland – the spot where they stood and chatted on their very first date.
Even the bovine Butters featured in proceedings: Catherine’s aunt Patricia made the cow into a most memorable wedding cake topper.
Declan said: ‘We decided on a Christmas-themed wedding because it’s our favourite time of the year and with both Catherine’s and my family all visiting it made perfect sense. Although the run up to Christmas was hectic, once Christmas Eve came around everything was done and we just had the most beautiful Christmas with family and friends. It certainly will be a Christmas to remember.’
Declan and Catherine rang in their first New Year together as a married couple while on honeymoon in Europe.