07 Jul Our favourite outdoor ceremony spots in Co. Clare
We can often be found officiating ceremonies on the side of a cliff, or by an ancient ruins, or in a beautiful garden. We love officiating ceremonies outside and as more and more people are opting for outdoor ceremonies, we thought it useful to include our favourite spots to say “I do” in County Clare.
As the ocean finds calm in view of land,
May you love the gaze of each other’s mind.
The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are vibrant and unique and photos can never do them justice. They are quite literally breath-taking and we love working up there.We usually officiate ceremonies at Guerin’s path and for a small fee, the local landowner permits you to drive up to the Cliffs which is so handy, particularly if the weather isn’t great, or you want to wear your favourite high heeled shoes, or you have lots of guests and don’t fancy a hike in all of your finery. If you are a fan of Harry Potter, Guerin’s path is a great choice as the sea cave scene between Dumbledore and Harry Potter in the movie “Harry Potter & the Half Blood Prince” was filmed at the Cliffs of Moher. Also, the Cliffs of Insanity from the movie “The Princess Bride”, are actually the Cliffs of Moher.
We also officiate many ceremonies at Hags Head and have two great cliff locations to choose from. Again, for a small fee, the landowner permits you and your guests to drive right up to the Cliffs. If the weather is very wet and you would prefer to have your ceremony indoors, there is a converted cottage at the base of the cliffs which is an ideal spot to officiate your ceremony. It fits 20 people, is warm, cosy and perfect for a wild day. Couples sometimes choose to have their ceremony there and travel to the Cliffs afterwards for the fun “in the rain” shots.
Remember, if you would like to organise a surprise vow renewal, we also can “double” as tour guides on the Cliffs of Moher. We have had such fun in the past planning the perfect surprises for couples.
Loop Head, Kilkee
We are huge fans of Loop Head in Kilkee and have officiated many memorable ceremonies there. You are open to all of the elements up there so you need to be prepared but it’s worth it as the drive and the views are incredible. You can pick a spot along Loop Head or else have your ceremony near Loop Head Lighthouse which is the tip of the Loop Head Peninsula and is the furthest point west on the Clare coastline. Some fun facts about Loop Head include the giant “Eire” sign left over from World War 2 and some of the “Star Wars Episode VII: The Last Jedi” was filmed at Loop Head Lighthouse.
The Wild Atlantic Beaches
County Clare is on the Wild Atlantic Way with numerous beaches along the coast. For a symbolic ceremony to remember, consider a beach ceremony. We know some perfect spots away from the crowds which would make for a memorable occasion. Bring your swimwear if you are brave for a celebratory dip.
We have been fortunate to officiate a wonderful ceremony in Caher Bridge Gardens in Fanore. It’s an incredible spot in the heart of the Burren and has an abundance of unusual and stunning flowers including collections of snowdrops and daffodils, hostas, daylilies, crocosmia, and woodland plants and ferns.
For a really adventurous ceremony, why not choose a spot on the Burren which means “great rock” and is one of the most iconic, beautiful and ever changing landscape in the World, which over the years has witnessed many love stories unfold. One of the most famous Irish legends is about a couple called Diarmuid and Grainne. Grainne was engaged to Fionn McCool but instead fell in love with one of his warriors Diarmuid. They had to elope and were pursued around Ireland by Fionn. They used sleeping potions, invisibility cloaks and hiding places all around Ireland and according to legend they spent a lot of time in the Burren. The dolmens (megalithic tombs) dotting the landscape are called “Leaba Dhiarmada agus Gráinne” or “Bed of the lovers”.
If you are lucky enough to have a large garden, why not set up a gazebo in a garden. Beautiful romantic lawns bursting with colourful flowers could provide the perfect backdrop to your wedding day. If it’s an intimate gathering you are seeking, a garden wedding is ideal.
Hotels and Pubs
Most hotels and pubs have fantastic outdoor ceremony spots within their grounds, but we are going to discuss our favourite ceremony venues in the coming weeks.
Ancient Ruins and Castles
For an altogether historic experience, consider a ceremony with the backdrop of an ancient castle which are dotted around Co. Clare. Include a Handfasting which dates back to ancient Celtic times, and is where we get the expression “Tying the knot”. It is one of the oldest forms of marriage and dates back beyond 7,000 BC.
Tips and Tricks
In County Clare and Ireland, we are spoiled for choice. Think outside the box, be brave, be adventurous and let nature be the backdrop of your day. If you are opting for an outdoor ceremony here are some useful tips:
Be prepared for the weather. Maybe have a Plan B option where you have an indoor venue organised if the weather is too wet for an outdoor ceremony. Or if the rain doesn’t bother you, bring umbrellas and rain gear and suitable shoes.
Keep it simple. If you are having a ceremony on the Cliffs of Moher, think about what will work best; what music works on the Cliffs. It’s extremely windy so music over a PA system often doesn’t work. A Harpist, guitarist or Uilleann Pipes are excellent choices. Handfasting ceremonies, Love Letter and Wine Box ceremonies and Sand Ceremonies work but Unity Candle Ceremonies are challenging.
While outdoor ceremonies are memorable and fun, you have to think about your guests. Some spots don’t allow for seats, so your guests will be standing throughout the ceremony and some locations are wild and windy so your guests need to be prepared.
Overall, live in the moment, have fun and go with the flow. Everything will work out, it always does.