Celebrating our 4-year wedding anniversary, I am starting to remanence about all the amazing adventures Yvonne and I have had. We have traveled to over 16 countries together, lived in two different countries together, and even survived international dating. On this day its hard for me not to think about my favorite spot in Ireland, Duckett’s Grove, which she introduced me to. Yvonne grew up coming here, riding horses with an old woman who lived in one small section of it. Since the first day Yvonne took me here to wander around, I fell in love with it.
There is an amazing gatehouse, the size of a small castle in itself, at the entrance. The gatehouse has a small tower, and two large archways going in. One was for the Duckett’s and their guests, and one was for everyone else. The road still goes through the actual gatehouse.
Driving through some fields the road turns sharply and the splendor of Duckett’s Grove presents itself. With its large tower dominating the view, and numerous smaller towers surrounding it, as well as the castellated building. Still to this day, I find it one of the most impressive castles that I have seen. Ok, I know, it’s not actually a castle at all, but a manor house, but it looks like one. The granite walls hold strong, even though two fires wiped out most the interior in the 30s. The building has so many decorative elements on it that during its glory days there was probably no building like it in all Ireland.
Gargoyles adorned it many gutters, window moldings, and niches. Statues filled every nook and cranny. There are two large bays that flank the main entrance, with the coat of arms above them. I have only seen a small part of the building before the fires in an old photograph, but it was gorgeous. Possibly even a bit ostentatious.
Every time I come to Ireland I stop here, and revel in its beauty. We were so lucky that the Carlow Council allowed us to have our wedding here. They even gave me the keys to the castle! We got to go all over he place, even up to the top of the tower. We were the first couple in 200 years to have a Wedding here. We had articles published on us in two different newspapers.
Everyone in Ireland thought I was mad to have an outdoor wedding in April, but I was insistent that we try. I really channeled Kevin Costner’s field of dreams speech, “If we build it, they will come”. The crazy thing is, it actually did happen. Even though it was the middle of April, it was sunny and 60 degrees. We actually got sunburnt. Now that I have lived here for 8 of the wettest months of my life, through Ireland’s wettest winter ever, I realize they were all right. But sometimes, you just have to stick with your gut.
We had 150 people at our wedding, and over 40 guest flying in from overseas. The farthest was from Japan where my good buddy George came with half his family.
We built a stage in front of the manor house, set everything up ourselves. We had a musician playing, and officials, and flowers. Everyone from both families volunteered their time to make our dream come true. It was the perfect wedding; nothing could beat it.
I plan on writing more of the history of Duckett’s Grove and details of the actual wedding in future blogs, but just wanted to introduce this amazing place. Now with our amazing little daughter Skylar, I am looking forward to many more exciting years together.