I have eight wonderful children who are all here with me today.They have been fortunate enough to find loving partners who are now part of our extended family together with my 12 beautiful grandchildren.
It is a great pleasure to welcome Killian into our family. He finds us a bit overwhelming at times. It was the same for Willo, Paul, Katy, Aoife, Jonny, Rukshana and Gayatri and they have all survived so he should take heart.
My eldest daughter, Sarah, reminded me recently that on her wedding day 20 years ago I got up to speak and I couldn’t do it. I was overcome.
Today, twenty years later, I am loving this. I have five minutes where everyone is listening to me. Usually at family gatherings I never get a word in but now I have your undivided attention and I am very grateful.
But this occasion is not about me in my beautiful new dress from Arnotts and my wonderful fascinator from Brown Thomas all purchased at great expense ……………
No, no it is about the two people closest to me. I say closest to me because for the past 18 months Katie, Killian and I have lived in the very confined space of a two bed apartment on the quays and you can’t get much closer than that.
How can I describe my flatmates. They are a truly amazing couple, if a little quirky and unconventional, and sometimes I don’t understand them.
When Katie brought home curtaining material from Hickeys and said it was for her wedding dress, the scene where Julie Andrews pulls the curtains from the window to make dresses for the children flashed before my eyes. I never liked that Sound of Music. There are no hills alive here – this is Dublin, I thought.
But look, I needn’t have worried, it worked and she looks beautiful. She might have just stepped out of a Doris Day movie. What a star.
Katie even made Killian’s tie which as Genevieve will know is not an easy operation.
Katie and Killian lovingly collected the sand and the shells you see in the jam jars in front of you. The apartment smelled like Sandymount Strand on a bad day for a while but after much boiling, washing and disinfecting they are now perfect and in each jar there are exactly 26 shells.
Most people might just go out and buy some balloons for decoration but no Killian and Katie made all the wonderful bunting you see above you. He cutting out the triangles and she madly sewing while I sat between them nearly suffocated with the bits of thread and material floating across the room and up my nose.
And you know what’s really weird. They like me living with them.
They just refuse to let me go. As Killian says just as long as “I don’t put my oar in” too often, I might be with them forever. If only he would stop asking me for high fives I might just give in gracefully.
To be honest I find all the recycling, reusing and making do a bit wearing at times but it pays off.
When the cupboard is bare, Katie can produce a dinner out of nothing, Killian can make a bike out of unlikely bits of metal and together they are a living example on how to live economically and still get the best from life.
Underneath all their living without waste and other charming idiosyncrasies are two beautiful people, completely loyal to one another and sincerely and deeply in love. Nothing else matters really.
Killian has introduced me to Michael Holmes, the Rock and Cashel. He has presented me to his brothers
and sisters, his grandmother Nancy and her wonderful family and we now have relations in Tipperary. Real country cousins.
He also makes splendid coffee as we listen to Morning Ireland together. Thanks Killian.
Killian’s mother, Natalie, was very proud of Killian. I could see that when she hugged him to her on the one occasion I was privileged to meet her. Killian tells me she approved of Katie as a partner for him and I know she would be as delighted for them both as I am today.
I love Katie dearly. She rubs my feet and cuts my toenails. She cooks me strange and unfamiliar foods. She sets me off into fits of giggles over nothing.
Katie will always be my darling little girl – the last gift to me from her father, Peter.
Killian and Katie are so lucky to have found one another and I have no doubt they will be making bunting together, forever.
Please raise your glasses to the bride and groom
Katie and Killian on the balcony of the Clarence Hotel, Dublin, 15 July 2010