“On the way to church all our neighbours were out with flags and banners. It was really, really lovely but very emotional. That certainly wouldn’t have happened if it was just a regular wedding, they’d probably all have been down in the church already”
By Robert Cox
When members of the British Royal Family get married adoring fans line the streets three or four deep, waving their Union Jacks as the wedding cortege passes by and on May 1st 2020 something very similar happened in a little village in North Kildare. The destination was Newtown Church, different country, different roads, different flags, different circumstances, different kind of royalty but royalty nonetheless!
Regina Gorman is a name synonymous with Cappagh GAA and in many people’s eyes she is the Queen of Camogie in the club and as in London when the Queen gets married, the locals lined the roads to wish her well and catch a glimpse of their hero in White. In this case it’s not the first time Regina will have paraded in front of her fans in white, having done so for many years as she lined out for her beloved Kildare, included in that is an All Ireland Final appearance in Croke Park.
A wedding during Lockdown due to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic was always going to be different for many reasons and when Regina Gorman married her partner of four years David Dunne on Saturday May 1st in the beautiful Newtown Church, many things had to be adapted to meet regulations and to adhere to social distancing. But just as Regina had faced challenges aplenty through the years on the Gaa field, she once again faced this one head on, making sure nothing got in the way of her and David’s special day.
The former Scoil Dara Kilcock pair stuck to their initial wedding date despite dodging with the idea of pushing it out until September as Regina explains; “We booked the wedding initially for the 1st of May and when lockdown hit and it looked like it wasn’t going to go ahead, we were going to push it out until September 26th but as time went on and it looked like it wouldn’t be able to go ahead in September either, we sat down and debated over it for what seemed like an eternity, while in fact it was probably only a couple of days. But the 1st of May was our initial date and we just made the decision to stick with it despite the challenges.
It was hard though because in my family alone there are seven children in it and none of my siblings could be there. David only has two sisters though so we decided to have both our parents and his two sisters Elaine and Therese in attendance. One of my brothers is in England and I have a sister in Donegal and one in Wexford so unfortunately none of them could have been there anyway. So we just said that if they all couldn’t go then none of them could go. That was a difficult decision to make. That and not having our close friends there wasn’t easy. David’s groomsmen are both living abroad, one in Australia and one in America so unfortunately they weren’t able to make it either”
Despite these setbacks the pair were determined to go ahead with their day and make the most of it and let there love shine through. “The day itself was lovely. The original plan would have seen me staying in my parents house the night before but obviously we couldn’t do that. Tradition had to play second fiddle during these times and the two of us just stayed here in our home in Kilbrook and David went over to his mother’s the next morning.
My sister came over to my house the morning of and we had a lovely, relaxed time, despite the standard nerves. My sister Breda made my bouquet and I did have a girl come and do my makeup and hair. She adhered to all the guidelines as best she could and wore a mask throughout which was a bit different”
When the time came for Regina to go to the church, she admits it was such a lovely surprise to see all her neighbours and friends stand at their respective gates and wish her well by waving flags and cheering. And with that the Queen of Cappagh was on her way to meet her Prince. “On the way to church all our neighbours were out with flags and banners. It was really, really lovely but very emotional. That certainly wouldn’t have happened if it was just a regular wedding, they’d probably all have been down in the church already!
The church itself was beautiful. Father Paul said the mass and Catherine Nealon, a friend of mine did the singing. She was amazing, it was literally just Catherine singing, no music. She has a gorgeous voice and really added to our day.
David printed out pictures of all my siblings faces and had them sitting in the front row so that was nice to have them there in some shape or form though I have to admit I didn’t notice them sitting there at first when I reached the top of the aisle. He also had his groomsmen Gary and Declan and my bridesmaids Breda, Caroline and Hazel done out as manequins. They were made from planks of wood, with tripods on the bottom. They were even dressed in dresses and suits, it was so funny and a lovely touch. We had the mass broadcast on Zoom so it was nice to know our family and friends could get to see it and were with us”
After a beautiful mass and tying the knot the new Mr and Mrs Dunne, with photographer Darren Byrne in tow, went to the picturesque moate at Cloncurry for some wedding photos but not before they were treated to another surprise; “When we came out of the church the Cappagh girls did a drive by, hanging out of the cars, blowing the horns and cheering, that was very special and a bit emotional. I’ll never forget it and they are such a brilliant bunch of friends and team mates. David’s cousins also did a drive by for us and I could see how much it meant to him. It was just little things like that which added to our day. Darren Byrne was brilliant, he took us up to the moate here in Cloncurry, a spot we really love and he took some pictures.
Thankfully we then got to call out to the garden in my parents house and we got to the same at David’s home. Things got a bit different from there. Instead of heading off to what would have been our wedding reception in Glasson House, we came back to our own house, just the two of us but we had a beautiful evening.
My sisters and David’s had come together to decorate our house for us and had an amazing dinner prepared, so that was special. Once again the internet came to the rescue and we had our reception via Zoom, live from our sitting room”
Despite having to adapt their day to suit lockdown, Regina reflects that she still feels like she got to see and meet people and has no regrets with their decision to go ahead with their special day; “At the end of the day I felt like I’d seen people. I know I hadn’t seen them in person but I didn’t feel like I’d missed out really.
We are delighted we went ahead with it because as I said we did debate over it a bit. When we initially started talking about the wedding, before the days of Covid19, we said we might have a small wedding anyway but that thought didn’t last long. We wanted all our friends and extended families in attendance so we decided on the big Irish wedding. Going back to the small wedding due to restrictions wasn’t easy but we are glad we went ahead with it.
We had our rings and I had my dress and David his suit so atleast we will get two wears out of those! So when this is all over and things get back to a new normal we will have our reception as originally planned in Glasson House. They have been brilliant in accomodating us. We won’t have it unless everyone from abroad can make it, ie my brother and David’s groomsmen. It will be all or nothing when the time comes. We don’t want a cloud hanging over it and people worrying about catching the virus or social distancing. Even if we have to wait a year or two, we will, just to do it right. If that means waiting until there is a vaccine then so be it. I don’t think social distancing will work at a big Irish wedding”
At the time of going to post, the newly weds should be sunning themselves on their dream honeymoon to South Africa and Dubai as they had been set to jet off on the 14th of May and this Regina explains is one of the big disappointments; “I’m really disappointed about the honeymoon to be honest. The wedding I am fine about because we are married now and of course I am delighted we did it and we had great craic on the day.
Regarding the honeymoon we were meant to be gone for the guts of a month. I don’t know what will happen with that now. I am kind of holding out hope that we can maybe go in January 2021 but honsely I am not sure. We also had other trips planned for later in the year and we’ve had to pen those for now also”
One thing is for sure the couple, who met on October 2016 on a random night out, will face all these challenges together and their love for each other will win out as they start their married life during uncertain times across the world.
Regina, who lined out for years in the white of Kildare is well used to taking on whatever life throws at her having suffered the heart break of missing out on an All-Ireland Junior Camogie Final success with Kildare due to a long term injury in 2013, though she was still involved as a selector for the year. The versatile player, who made her debut for the Lilys in 1999, was involved in a League and All-Ireland Junior A Championship success in her time in white but the blow of not getting to win an All-Ireland on the hallowed turf of Croke Park in 2013 was a bitter pill to swallow. She would later get to grace the Croke Park field at centre back in the 2015 Intermediate final against Waterford but it was The Deise who won out on the day by 2-09 to 1-05.
“I made my Kildare debut in 1999 and retired in 2016, taking two years out to travel in between. Obviously there was the odd injury too, most notably in 2013 when I missed the All-Ireland Premier Junior success. That was hard to take but I was delighted for the girls and was still glad to be a part of it as a selector for the year. There was also a good few of my team mates from Cappagh involved so that was extra special. I had some great days in the white of Kildare and have made some great friends along the way.
I’m still plugging away with Cappagh, club is where it all starts and to say I love Cappagh would be an understatement. My best friends are all Cappagh girls and though we didn’t win much through the years, we had some great times and managed to compete at the top table in Kildare for the majority. Last year was special, we won the Kildare Intermediate Championship and though once again I was injured, I managed to get onto the field in the final late on. That was a great day. I’m looking forward to getting back on the field when things return. Gaa wise it’s hard to tell when that will be”
At the outset we mentioned how Regina was Cappagh Royalty and nowhere was this more evident than when she made a substitute appearance near the end of last year’s final success against neighbours Kilcock. The roar from the Cappagh faithful as she entered the fray was deafening and lit up a wet and dull day in Rathcoffey. It was at that moment we all realised the regard in which Regina is held in Newtown and its surrounding areas.
Those same fans were once again to the fore on the 1st of May 2020 as the Queen of Cappagh made her way to her local church in Newtown to marry her Prince David and as they begin married life together, one thing is for sure they will not let lockdown, honeymoon cancellations, injuries or pandemics get in the way of their love for life and for one another.
Their friends may have been as much fun as a plank of wood on their wedding day but atleast they had each other!