AN ELDERLY Offaly couple have defied the gloom of Ireland’s Level 5 lockdown to marry, more than 40 years after they first laid eyes on one another.
Farmer John Bermingham, 86, from Rhode wed his long-term partner Mary Long, 83, in the civil marriage registration room in Tullamore Health Centre on Saturday, October 24.
The newlyweds tied the knot in the company of John's daughter Carolyn Bermingham, her husband John Fitzgerald, and twin granddaughters, Robbyn and Alison.
An expert horseman, John grew up in Terenure, Dublin before later moving to Ballybryan, Rhode.
His claim to fame comes via his late father Jack, an Offaly native who played rugby for Ireland way back in 1921.
A keen swimmer in her younger days, Mary worked as a beauty consultant in Dublin prior to her retirement.
Originally from Turner’s Cross in Cork City, Mary relished the occasion – one which the pair had been looking forward to for some time.
According to John’s daughter, Carolyn, they had been desperate to tie the knot, even during the pandemic, but had previously encountered difficulty in obtaining the necessary paperwork.
Once that was sorted, it was a case of finding the right venue and sticking to the Covid-19 restrictions.
"They're old and I knew they wanted to do this," Carolyn told RTE.
"Nowadays everything is online and on the internet and they just couldn't manage it. They were overwhelmed by the whole bureaucracy of it and they found it very impersonal."
She paid a special thanks to the marriage registration service in Tullamore for their helping making her dad’s special day go off without a hitch.
And while John enjoyed his special day alongside Mary very much, he had one regret, telling RTE: "It's a pity we all can't go for a drink."
All in good time.