Who said romance was dead? Evidently, it is very much alive and well, as the recent events on the high seas off the coast of Donegal tell us! At the beginning of May a young couple arrived to Donegal with a very specific mission in mind, to pledge their everlasting love for each other in or around the land of Tir Conaill.
Miranda and Dave Van Boven travelled all the way from North Dakota, USA purely on the high praise lavished on Donegal, from a friend of theirs who had spend two years here on a work exchange programme. They had no family connections or previous trips to Ireland. On arriving to Donegal Town, they settled into a local hostelry. They struck up a conversation with two young fellas at the bar and told them of their wish to go to Sliabh Liag and profess their love for each other. The two lads came up with an even better plan and told them they could travel on a local charter boat, off the Donegal coast, and have their very own special ‘wedding’ ceremony.
Of course the two lads knew someone who had a boat and does fishing trips out the bay. A quick phone call was made to Skipper Paul Ricketts and the unusual request was put to him, “No bother, I can do that” said Paul. “Tell them to be at the pier at 7pm Sunday evening”. So the date was set for May 6.
Tying the knot at sea
Paul swiftly looked up the Internet on the pros and cons of “tying the knot at sea” and the wording of what a ship’s Captain should say to secure the deal. The bride and groom arrived on the pier on a beautiful sunny evening - she in a pretty little white dress under her big coat, a headpiece and suitable footwear for boating.
The party heading out for the ceremony included the two main organisers from the bar and the cake and sword carriers. By all accounts, it was a moving and magical trip for the young American couple.
A little Champagne toast was sipped on board after all the magic words were spoken. The boat made its way towards Mullinasole, where Emma and Seamus McGowan and their family were holding their own after-wedding party at The Salmon Inn. When proprietor Margaret Quinn heard what had just being going on out the ba,y everyone in the company gathered together and sang “Congratulations” to the ‘newlywed’ Americans and very generously presented Miranda and Dave with another bottle of Champagne and a scrumptious seafood platter. Now, that is Irish hospitality at its best.
The newlyweds stayed on well into the night at Mullinasole celebrating long after the boat had departed.
The couple couldn’t have been happier with their time spent in Donegal and headed back to North Dakota to sign all the legal documents to complete their union. They are celebrating with family and friends in the US on July 27 all the Donegal crew were invited to the wedding.
A truly modern-day fairy tale. Well done to all involved in making their dream come true!