Elizabeth Whelan and Jeroen Idema

8 August 2016
Christ Church Clifden
Reception at Connemara Sands Hotel, Ballyconneely

Photography by Derek Novak


Jeroen and I chose the Connemara Sands for several reasons—one being that the location has a spectacular view of the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. Jeroen and I stayed two nights at the Connemara Sands the Christmas before our wedding and met with Niall Dalton, the hotel manager, and the hotel’s owners, Dean Gibson and Kathy McCallion. Niall was a pleasure to work with, as he answered correspondence quickly and efficiently. Nothing was ever a problem, and everything seemed possible. The planning of our wedding reception turned out to be very enjoyable and completely stress-free. Jeroen and I loved the dining room and the reception areas, and Niall and Dean helped us to devise a delightful menu for our guests. When the special day arrived, Niall and his team were as good as their word, and the whole event was perfectly managed. I could not praise the owners and staff of the Connemara Sands highly enough for their warm welcome and attention to detail. Following the banquet, we enjoyed a refreshing and exhilarating walk with our guests on the beach under a sunny August afternoon sky, and my nieces and I got to paddle and splash about in the sea. What a delightful way to bring the first part of our wedding day to a close!

Though Jeroen and I had been living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, for the past six years, we picked Connemara to host our wedding. For several years, Clifden was my home, where I taught primary school and sang in my church choir—the very same choir that sang at our wedding. I introduced Jeroen to Connemara a few years ago, and he instantly fell in love with it. Like me, he thought it was the perfect place for our wedding.


Choir at Ceremony: Cantairi Conamara
Choir Singers: Friends of Elizabeth who are also members of the newly formed Clifden choral group, Séidiú
Choir Director: Mr Aodán McGlynn
Harpist and Sean Nós Singer: Seamus O’Fhláthartha
Violin: Caoimhe O’Fhláthartha (of An Aird Mhóir, Cill Chiaráin in Connemara)
Hair Styling: Damian in Hedz
Makeup: Megan Burke and Michelle Barry of the Wellness and Relaxation Centre at Abbeyglen Castle Hotel