"CASTLECONNELL - HOW TO BE THE BEST MAN IN IRELAND" Castleconnell by JohnnySpangles

Castleconnell Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 6 photos

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If you’ve ever agreed to be the Best Man at a wedding in Ireland then the main cause of your pre-match nerves will be writing your speech. This is because you will be representing your country overseas and your speech will need to avoid causing a major breach in diplomatic relations between Ireland and the United Kingdom.

According to British Foreign Office website, which has a whole section devoted to the delivering of Best Man’s speeches in foreign parts, the advice is that in Ireland it is be best to steer clear of any jokes about sex, religion or politics.

In England we all expect that the Best Man’s speech will revolve mostly around the Groom’s many misadventures regarding the first item on the list. Indeed it is also quite customary to flesh out such stories with quotes from the Groom’s previous girlfriends, boyfriends or prostitutes.

If it’s a really posh wedding, like Charles and Diana’s, then none of the three risky topics will get a mention. Apparently Charles’ Best Man’s speech contained mostly Irish gags. Unfortunately I’d never been invited to a really posh wedding therefore my experience of a smut-free Best Man’s speech was very limited. So I went to see ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’, in the hopes that four posh weddings in one sitting might give me some pointers. All it gave me was an even deeper dislike of Hugh Grant. I phoned up the Foreign Office to see if any of their Dublin staff knew any jokes that would be acceptable in Ireland. They told me to ‘bugger off’. I even rang up the Vatican to see if His Holiness could issue a papal edict to allow me to tell smutty jokes in one his dominions, just on this one occasion. They told me to ‘bugger off’ as well, in Latin. Thus it was I searched high and low for witty one-liners that avoided the unholy trinity of sex, religion and politics. Unfortunately they don’t exist.

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So nobody could accuse me of not trying to prepare for the day, and it was hardly my fault that Bride ended up sobbing and the Holy Father choked on his scone. Apart from the sobbing and the choking, my speech was mostly met with stunned silence. In hindsight it may have been a mistake to start off with the joke about the nymphomaniac nun in the polling booth, and where she put her cross.

Up until that point, i.e. the one where I was forcibly ejected from the wedding, it had been going quite well. It’s a tradition in Ireland that on the morning of the wedding the groom takes his male friends for a pre-marital shave. This is no ordinary lick and a spit with a disposable Bic, but a full-blown shave with swaddling warm towels, snickety-snack cut-throat razors and slappitty-slaps on the cheeks, and then all finished off with a large old brandy. This was carried out at a proper barber’s shop in Limerick and they took the best part of an hour to do it. I didn’t need to shave again for a week. Apparently they’ll shave anything for a fee; your head, your dog or even your girlfriend.

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Castleconnell, where the wedding took place, is a village just outside of Limerick. It’s a got a hotel, a few houses, lots of money from the EEC, a picturesque river and a ruined castle which once belonged to the Connells before they trashed it.

I noticed all these things as I skulked around the area, waiting until it was safe to sneak back and get a drink at the after-wedding party. I thought it best to wait until it got dark, however most of the guests were far too drunk too notice my reappearance and the Holy Father had long since been taken off to hospital to have the scone removed. So I took the opportunity to get legless and make an even bigger arse of myself. Needless to say that since that fateful day the bride hasn’t spoken to me, or the groom.

  • Last visit to Castleconnell: Oct 1997
  • Intro Updated Feb 6, 2012
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JohnnySpangles

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