Smoothing things out on the ‘big day’

AS we break clear from the winter shackles for another year, venues across the country are preparing for the wedding season.

Holy Trinity Abbey Catholic Church in Adare, Co Limerick is expecting another busy summer with seventy-five weddings booked this year.

Helping to ensure that everything goes smoothly for couples on their big day is Ardara native John Shovlin who has been taken on to specifically look after the matrimonial end of things. As Church Administrator, the former hotel manager has responsibility for rehearsals, weddings and funerals.


“I’ve spent all my working life in hotels and when I retired I was approached by the local Parish Priest, Monsignor Daniel Neenan, about taking on this role and it’s really taking off,” he said.

The church is a one stop shop when it comes to planning a wedding with many socialites choosing the venue for their special day.

Last January, Rachel Wyse, Sky Sports News Anchor, got married in the church with her reception at the adjacent luxurious Adare Manor.

“The Manor is just across the road while both the Dunraven Arms and The Woodlands are also fine wedding venues in the village. With that many weddings the idea was to make the church service a bit more professional and it’s really taken off. We’re the first church in Ireland to offer this level of professional church catering for weddings,” he said.

In his job as manager of the Dunraven Arms Hotel for thirty-five years, Mr Shovlin (62) is well used to looking after couples on their big day.

“Hopefully I bring an air of professionalism I had at the hotel to this job. It’s a big day for the bride with nerves and one thing and another and to have someone there who knows what they’re doing puts them at ease. I also look after the flowers, book the musicians and photographers and ensure the necessary paperwork is ready,” he said.

“We have a lot of high society weddings. Rachel Wyse got married here last January and there’s some big ones coming up this summer but I won’t be naming names as I can’t break their confidence. Our motto is that when we do a wedding we do it good,” he added.


Married to Kildare native Margaret, the couple still try to get back to Donegal and the family home in Sandfield outside Ardara at least once a year.

His brother Seamus runs the family undertaking business while Bill and Hugh Francis also still live in Ardara. His sisters Mary and Isobel live in Donegal town as does his brother Matthew with Pat in Bunbeg and Niall and Peter both in Dublin.

“I was seventh in a family of ten,” he said.









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