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Couple say ‘I do’ at Enniskillen Castle

26th June 2020

The sun shone brightly for Leona Rooney and Christopher Read, both from Enniskillen, as they exchanged their marriage vows in the historic surroundings of Enniskillen Castle on Wednesday 24 June 2020.

The outdoor wedding was the first civil ceremony to take place in Fermanagh since the introduction of restrictions in relation to COVID-19 and, while Enniskillen Castle has hosted many momentous occasions throughout its long and illustrious history, it was the first time it has hosted a wedding ceremony.

In accordance with current restrictions, Leona and Christopher said “I do” in front of a small number of family and friends to become the new Mr and Mrs Read. The historic ceremony was conducted by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council Deputy Registrar, Mandy Somerville.

Speaking about the ceremony, the Council’s Deputy Registrar, Mandy, said:

“I was delighted to officiate at Leona and Christopher’s wedding at Enniskillen Castle. With so many weddings having been postponed or rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is wonderful to see couples now being able to put plans in place to fulfil their dreams to get married albeit still with restrictions in place.

Enniskillen Castle is a wonderful facility with a long history and it provided a wonderful backdrop for the happy day. We would like to extend our very best wishes to the new Mr and Mrs Read.”

Speaking after the wedding ceremony, the couple expressed their thanks to the Council’s Registrars for their help in arranging the service saying, “Enniskillen Castle has proved to be an idyllic location for us to celebrate our special day. We will never forget our wedding day and we are extremely grateful to the staff of the Council’s Registration service and the Deputy Registrar, Mandy, for ensuring that our special day came together so well.”

While Leona and Christopher’s wedding was the first wedding ceremony to take place at Enniskillen Castle it is not the first time a wedding party has adorned the Castle’s historic grounds.

Sarah McHugh, Manager of Fermanagh County Museum, located at Enniskillen Castle, said:

“With the Castle being closed to visitors for the last couple of months it was lovely to welcome Leona, Christopher, their family and friends to the castle and to add this momentous occasion to our history books.

Working in the Council’s museum services, we couldn’t resist delving into our archives to see whether there were any other records of weddings having taken place at the Castle. While there are no records of a wedding taking place here, we did find information and photographs from 80 years ago of Mary Preston leaving the grounds in her wedding dress to marry her fiancé William Toland. Mary was the daughter of Elizabeth Preston, the then caretaker of the site known as Castle Square. Her home was located where our Visitor Centre now stands.

We are very grateful to Joyce Greaves, daughter of Mary and William Toland, for her permission to share these precious wedding photographs and were delighted with this find.

We now look forward to welcoming more wedding parties to the venue as we open a new chapter in the annals of Enniskillen Castle.”

Following the easing of restrictions in relation to civil ceremonies the Council applied to have both Enniskillen Castle and Grange Park, Omagh listed as approved Council venues for outdoor ceremonies. Currently, outdoor weddings can take place with a maximum of ten people in attendance.

For further information in relation to marriages and civil partnerships in Fermanagh and Omagh please visit the Fermanagh and Omagh District Council website or telephone the Council’s Registration Service on 028 8225 6212 or 028 6634 2428.