First a while before Annie! It was in Christchurch Cathedral (in an earlier edifice on the same site) in 1170 AD that Strongbow, the Earl of Pembroke, married the Irish Princess Aoife, daughter of the King of Leinster. This marriage which was to change the course of Irish history forever was the result not of a love match, but of a political and military alliance. In 1166, Diarmait McMurchada, the then King of Leinster and great enemy of Waterford was expelled from Ireland following his violent struggle with rival provincial kings for high Kingship of Ireland. He went to England in search of King Henry 11 in the hope of obtaining his permission to recruit mercenaries in England and Wales to help him recover his lost kingdom.
He was successful in gaining the Kings permission and went about recruiting help. His call was answered by Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke, also known as Strongbow. Strongbow was not interested in monetary reward however; he had his mind set on land and would only fight for this. Diarmait therefore promised him the hand of his own daughter, Princess Aoife, in marriage, making him heir to the kingdom of Leinster. In return Strongbow agreed to come to Ireland with an army and reinstate Diarmait as King of Leinster.
Under Brehon or Irish law of the time, Aoife could not be forced into an arranged marriage. In fact unlike English common law, an Irish woman could divorce her husband and demand the return of her dowry. However it seems that Aoife did fall in love with Strongbow and this arranged marriage became one of the great romances of Irish history.
The marriage that took place here in the cathedral on August 25, 1170, marks neither a victory nor a defeat for any side, but the birth of a new and very different Ireland. It marked the end of the Viking age in Irish History and the beginning of English involvement in Irish affairs. In the mid 19th century Daniel Maclise tried to capture the enormous significance of the marriage in his famous painting. Originally commissioned to hang in the Houses of Parliament in London, it is now in the National Gallery, Dublin.
Well holy smoke above, what has the story of this famous marriage which had such an enormous impact on the subsequent history of Ireland to do with Annie Brophy. Well in a great upcoming exhibition many other Waterford weddings are being celebrated (not as famous perhaps yet important in the lives of those featured) having been captured for posterity by the truly wonderful photography of Waterford’s famed Annie Brophy.
Annie Brophy in Focus
Annie Brophy’s Wedding Photographs, 1920s-1970s
Annie Brophy photographed Waterford and its people for over half a century. Most families in the city and surrounding area have samples of her work in their homes. Every bit as important as the photographs themselves are the memories people have of the day and time they were taken. Waterford City Council has purchased her entire collection as a fitting tribute to the life’s work of this wonderful woman.
This exhibition, the sixth curated by Waterford City Archives, features the largest selection yet from the Collection of over 60,000 negatives! On this occasion the theme is Weddings and will showcase almost 70 wedding groups spanning the length of Anne’s long and productive career. The content and style of the photographs is varied, ranging from couples to large groups. Of particular note are a Waterford-Belfast Italian wedding from 1944 and an unusual wedding breakfast location. Every picture tells the story of young (and not so young) couples beginning their lives together.
Annie Brophy was a photographer of great skill and vision. She did not just photograph the rich and famous, she photographed the real people of her place, the city that was her home. Her photographs capture a moment in time, allowing us all the pleasure of experiencing that moment and those people. Her studio in Barker Street was visited by wedding groups, not only from Waterford City and County, but the entire South-East and beyond.
The exhibition will take place in the Christ Church Cathedral, one of Waterford’s most iconic buildings. The Cathedral is a venue of superior quality and unique atmosphere in the heart of the city. It plays a vital role in the cultural life of Waterford and is one of the finest Georgian buildings in the country.
Guest speaker on the night will be Waterford native Edmund Van Esbeck, former rugby correspondent for the Irish Times. Mr. Van Esbeck’s aunt features in one of the pictures from the 1920s and his mother was a personal friend of Annie’s. (I recall that great singer of songs and later WLR host as you snuggled up in the Sunday morning feathers once telling me that Ned was his first cousin and as I was a big fan of his column in the Irish Times, I was well impressed – well I’m looking forward to meeting him).
Donal Moore, City Archivist, said: “We have identified as many of the subjects as possible over the last few months. However there are still some that we need help with. I hope that people will come along to Christ Church to see if they are featured in the exhibition or who they can recognise.”
The exhibition takes place as part of Heritage Week and the Archives Awareness Campaign- an ongoing celebration of all kinds of fascinating archive treasures throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom. For further details on Heritage Week events, locally, nationally and internationally, see www.heritageweek.ie . For further details on Archives Awareness Campaign events, locally, nationally and internationally, see www.archiveawareness.com .
The exhibition will run from Friday 29th August until Thursday 25th September 2008 in Christ Church Cathedral, Cathedral Square, Waterford.
Opening hours are Monday-Friday, 10.00-18.00; Saturday, 10.00-16.00. Admission is free.
Wise Wedding Words
In all of the wedding cake, hope is the sweetest of plums.
– Douglas Jerrold
Marriage–a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters written in prose.
– Beverly Nichols
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore….but let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. – Kahlil Gibran
Hark! The merry chimes are pealing,
Soft and glad the music swells,
Gaily in the night wind stealing,
Sweetly sound the wedding bells.
– Eliza Cook
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
– W.B. Yeats
Marriage is the perfection of what love aimed at, ignorant of what it sought. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you meet someone who can cook and do housework–don’t hesitate a minute–marry him.
Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.
There is nothing half so sweet in life
As love’s young dream.
– Thomas Moore
To keep your marriage brimming,
With love in the wedding cup,
Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;
Whenever you’re right, shut up.
– Ogden Nash
The woman cries before the wedding and the man after.
– Polish Proverb
The entire sum of existence is the magic of being needed by just one person.
– Vi Putnam
Marrying a man is like buying something you’ve been admiring for a long time in a shop window. You may love it when you get home, but it doesn’t always go with everything else in the house.
– Jean Kerr
We come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.
– Sam Keen
The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing, and then marry him –
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands and crystal brooks,
With silken lines and silver hooks.
– John Donne
Well, there you have it!
Go seachtain eile, slan