Get Married in an Irish Castle or Abbey Ruins

Great! We can help! We see and visit a LOT of Castle and Abbey ruins. It’s our ‘thing’. Certainly, they are romantic and scenic for sure! Plus there are lots of them in most areas of the country but if you are going to do it yourself, you need to know a few things.

Legal Ceremony. Photo by Rob Coakley

Firstly, likely have heard or seen some ruins already that you are interested in. You can also find them online, and see images on google maps and street view but before you plan for a ruins location for your wedding ceremony, you must visit the location in person. For multiple reasons. The images you see may be old and inaccurate. You need to check for access. How the heck are you going to get to it? Do you have to hop over a fence or gate? Are the ruins beautiful but backs on to a road? Does it look great in images but has houses or an unsightly farm {and the smells that come with it} in the background? Potentially it could be grazing land for local farm animals. Do I need to remind you to watch your step? And you likely will need to get permission. Possibly pay a fee and prove that you have insurance to be on the property so be aware. These beautiful ruins are not always public nor have public access so it’s important to be respectful.

If you are having guests, you need to keep them in mind. It’s your dream to get married in stunning castle ruins but is an outdoor ceremony in a country known for rain something that your guests are excited about? Consider if they are healthy and fit enough to walk the distance across uneven grass to gain access to the site themselves. Then they may have to stand for your 30-minute ceremony. It may be possible for you to set up chairs. However, it’s unlikely you will have help setting that up unless you have a Wedding Planner.

Legal ceremony in an Abbey Ruins photo by Tricia Victoria

Always have a backup option. Any time of the year. I always have an indoor backup location for our couples who want outdoor weddings. Most of the time we don’t use them and just go for it outside but it’s important to have. Remember Murphy and his Law?

The other big thing about ruins weddings is if you are planning a legal wedding ceremony then it becomes a little trickier.

In Ireland, you can’t just get married in a field or beside a lake or at the top of the mountain. It’s a little tricky to explain but to put it plainly, the location has to be open to the public and must have an address. Unfortunately most ruins, not all, but most, are in a private field, or public park. The private field would have an address of the owner but it’s not open to the public because it’s private property. The ruins in a public park doesn’t have a mailing address.

Non-legal ceremony Abbey Ruins photo by Darek Smietona

The thing I tell my couples about the legal vs not legal commitment ceremony is that the day you proclaim your love for each other, fully commit and exchange rings and vows is your wedding day. It is beautiful, meaningful and real. Just because you didn’t sign the paper on that date doesn’t matter to your heart.

It is possible to find ruins on a property that is open to the public and has an address. Imagine a hotel, guesthouse or B&B with the ruins on the property or restored castle that has a ruin still attached and unfinished. This type of property is great because you have the indoor option that you may need as a backup and usually a lovely characterful place to stay close to your ceremony!

So ask yourself, how adventurous are you? What about your guests? Will you jump a fence for the perfect location? What about hop on a boat? Risk rain? Most of our couples do! And we do it all of the time.

photo by Konrad Paprocki

I hope that helps to understand the things that need to be considered for a wedding ceremony, of any size, in Irish ruins. Let us help and

I say, just go for it!!

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