It’s hard to beat a good trip to the beach in the summer. Bonus points for galloping along the seafront on a horse. Throw on your wedding dress and you’ve got a right movie moment.
That’s exactly what dental hygienist Gráinne Farrell did a few weeks ago, when she fulfilled a dream she had to be a runaway bride - while not actually running away.
In fact, Gráinne married turf and agricultural contractor John Smyth on September 17 last year and the Newtowncashel couple are due to celebrate their first wedding anniversary in just over a month’s time.
They tied the knot last year in Dunowen House, near Clonakilty in Co Cork and were married by John’s childhood friend, Fr Michael Murtagh, also from Newtowncashel.
While most brides will store their dress away after the big day, Gráinne couldn’t just let hers lie. She had big plans to get it covered in sand and sea salt, all so she could live a dream she had of riding her horse along the beach.
“I have owned my horse, Dakota, for three years now,” Gráinne explained.
“A group of friends from Ballymahon and Glasson - all horse owners - and I all travel to Beezies Cottages, outside Grange, Co Sligo, every year.
“So I knew when the Covid restrictions were lifted, I had to make my dream a reality - to wear my wedding dress on Dakota, galloping into the sea. My close friends, Carol, Felicity and Anne thought I was mad at first, but then they started to entertain the idea.”
When Saturday, July 11, finally arrived, Gráinne was full of excitement for the upcoming adventure.
“I flew out of bed and grabbed my riding boots and wedding dress. My friend, Paul Deegan collected Dakota and I from the cottages with his jeep and horsebox so that my dress wouldn’t get caught in the overgrown ditches heading onto the road to the beach,” said Gráinne.
“We arrived at Streedagh Beach and I changed into my wedding dress in the horsebox. I put on the long veil and I think my horse thought I’d lost the plot and she looked bored.
“Dakota never flinched as I got up, thank goodness, as the photos wouldn’t have been so pretty.”
A few snaps were taken by Colm Cuffe, of Tools & Plastics Ltd in Longford and the results were spectacular.
“I was then joined by all my friends on horseback and we took off with views of Benbulben mountain,” said Gráinne.
“We went onto Streedagh Beach, into the waves, and it was the best feeling in the world. My dream had come true. I was beaming.
“My wedding dress draped across Dakota’s back; my hair blowing in the wind as we were being splashed by the waves.
“It all went so well, thanks to my amazing friends and Dakota and my pure determination to be a runaway bride - on my horse only, and not from my wonderful hubby, John.”
Gráinne is always pushing herself to take on new challenges, but does she have any other crazy ambitions? Watch this space.