hosts Match of the Day
nothing like a good old knees-up with close pals. But the
decision by Sir. Paul McCartney and his would-be bride Heather
Mills to pick the County Monaghan village of Glaslough as
the location for their maritial bash fair took the breath
away of not only their close circle of friends, the world's
rock and pop music glitterati but most of all Glaslough's
unprepared inhabitants. Why the whole occasion almost stole
the limelight from Monaghan's preparations for their All-Ireland
SFC first qualifying round clash!
One doesn't know whether Sir Jack Leslie was even aware
of Monaghan's vital clash with the Wee County in Clones
on June 8th but if he was, he wasn't letting on - at least
not to the mass ranks of media camped outside his castle.
On the other hand, letting the world's print and broadcast
media representatives in on the 'secret' wedding plans of
Mr. McCartney and Ms. Mills, was quite another matter. The
world could wait for things to happen naturally at St. Tighernach's
Park, as far as the eccentric Sr. Jack was concerned. However,
as far as the owner of Castle Leslie was concerned, everyone
needed to know about Glaslough's monumental day. . . and
they were duly informed, to the grand amusement of the happy
June 11th 2002 marked the day of the McCartney/Mills high-society
wedding. It also marked the day when the village of Glaslough
and its inhabitants became part of a media circus.
However, given the former Beatle's connections with Monaghan,
it was always likely that when a wedding date was fixed
by the courting couple that the 'oul sod would be eyed as
a possible location for the wedding of 2002.
Back in the early eighties, Paul McCartney's brother Mike
brought out a book in which the full extent of the McCartney
family's ancestral link to County Monaghan was detailed.
Mike McCartney's outline of the family tree proved conclusively
that his and Paul's mother, Mary Mohan, hailed from Tullynamalroe,
Castleblayney. It appears that on researching his roots
for himself in early 2001, the famous popstar became truly
smitten by Castle Leslie and the surrounding scenic countryside.
The guest list for the wedding read like a Who's Who of
the pop and rock industries. Fellow Beatle Ringo Starr was
in attendance as was St. Elton John, Bono, Sting and Jules
Holland. Pointedly there were no Mohans present at the reputed
£3.5 million bash.
"The families weren't close, so we didn't expect to
be invited to the wedding . . .but if he had called when
he visited Ireland last year in search of his family roots,
we would have made him welcome - he would have been assured
of a nice, hot cup of tea," said Mr. Peter Mohan, a
second cousin of the singer, from his home in Tullynamalroe,
Similarily, another Irish second cousin of the ex-Beatle,
Margaret Daly from Doohamlet, said she also didn't expect
any invitation as her family had not met Mr. McCartney.
Mrs. Daly said she remembered her late father talking of
having spent holidays with Paul McCartney's grandfather
who was a coal merchant in Liverpool.
"It was only when we read later about the singer's
background that we realised we were related to him,"
Mrs. Daly confirmed.
The Mohan connection with the billionaire singer/songwriter
is completed by two other members of the clan, a Thomas
Mohan who lives in London and Michael Mohan, who lives in
While there is no suggestion that the hugely popular artist
conciously snubbed his Monaghan relations on his big day,
there is no doubt but that Sr. Paul McCartney was intent
on erecting a ring of steel around the 17th century, 1,000
acre estate to ward off any unwanted attention at Castle
The north Monaghan village was en fete on June 11th last.
But the strong complement of gardai, private security personnel
and the giant marquee and tents present on the day singled
the day out as a unique one for Castle Leslie and the people
Everyone was intenton catching a glimpse of the happy couple.
Indeed the gardai had to re-arrange the crowd barriers on
several occasions as people rushed forward to acquire a
more advantageous viewing position ahead of the former Beatle
and former model's arrival at the castle.
This was a day like few other for Glaslough and the scene
painted an appropriate picture. The street leading down
to Castle Leslie's heavily secured main entrance was alive
with activity on the day of the wedding as hundreds of curious
locals, visitors and members of the huge media entourage
mingled in good spirits.
The fairytale wedding went ahead with the minimum of fuss,
save the distraction of a helicopter overhead which prompted
the groom to delay the ceremony so that his assistants could
get the television company responsible for hiring the helicopter
to remove the aircraft from the skies.
Eventually after quite a bit of a delay, the wedding ceremony
went ahead at the 300-year old St. Salvador Church, located
deep in the heart of the 1,000 acre estate. Ms. Mills turned
at the altar the requisite few minutes late and wore an
ecru-lace dress she designed herself, while Sir. Paul was
decked out in a brown three-piece suit with a rose buttonhole.
Shelter from intermittent showers and peering eyes was provided
by a specially constructed covered walkway from the church
to the castle. When the ceremony - conducted by the Church
of Ireland Archdeacon of Clogher, the Venerable Cecil Pringle
- was completed at approximately 5.15 pm, wedding bells
echoed around the village.
Afterwards, the guests were treated to an Indian-theme vegetarian
meal worth £500 a head. All told, 300 bottles of champagne
- at £180 per bottle - were also made available to
the guests plus 150 kegs of beer.
A number of bands helped keep the party going 'till around
1.30am when the couple and their guests viewed a spectacular
fireworks display from a luxury yacht anchored on the Castle's
lake. A hour later and the couple set off on a helicopter
to begin their honeymoon.
And so ended a day which undoubtedly put all talk of Monaghan's
troubles against Louth firmly in the shade. It was undoubtedly
a day which will live in the memory of the good and great
people of Glaslough for many years to come.
from Monaghan's Match