We were living in a bedsitter in Rathmines in August 1974 when we suspected that Anne was pregnant. Anne’s doctor was a German woman on the top of Rathmines. We went in together for the results and we smiled deliberately when it was confirmed, though we were in shock. We went into Slattery’s and bought two brandies and a packet of cigarettes. We had just given up cigarettes a few months back, and neither of us drank brandy, but this was a bombshell and we were giddy with disbelief. We moved on quickly, though, and soon were planning a wedding, which we set for six weeks hence. There was no pressure on us – nobody knew Anne was pregnant. By the time I went home to Drogheda a few days later we had contacted the priest and arranged the date. When I told my family we were getting married the reaction wasn’t very positive at first, but they came round. It was the same story with Anne’s parents.
Although Anne and I were living together, I felt that propriety demanded that I should stay elsewhere on the night before the wedding. I stayed in Tom McPhail’s flat and the next morning I showered and dressed in my wedding suit, brown pinstripe with bell-bottom trousers, and I walked with Mick McArdle down the road to Rathmines Church. I waited for Anne at the top of the church with my best man, my brother Eric, beside me. Anne was late and I was extremely nervous. I stared straight ahead as she walked down the aisle, too nervous to turn and look. Anne wore a beautiful calico dress she had bought in the Dandelion Market the previous week. We asked Fran to sing for the wedding, and my father also asked the group from the folk mass in Drogheda to do some songs. The folk group sang Peter Paul and Mary’s “Wedding Song” as well as the various liturgical songs, and Fran sang a stunning version of “The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood.” My sister Carmel was with the folk group and she sang Bette Midler’s “The Rose”, which she also sang 45 years later at Anne’s funeral service.
When we went to the sacristy to sign the register, Mick came in to take a photo, but he had drink taken. He struggled with the camera and used some choice language as he tried to fix it, to the obvious disapproval of the priest. Actually, we have some lovely candid photos from the wedding, but the photos of the whole group has them standing behind a car in the foreground. Confetti was thrown and we headed off to a reception in Anne’s brother’s house in Bray, with both families and a few close friends. Late in the evening Anne and I returned to our flat in Rathmines on the last bus. When the conductor came to collect our fares we proudly declared that we were just married.