Kate's 'Donegal Catch'
Married to Paul Moyne from Muff Co. Donegal, Kate Rafferty shared with us how she a found a Donegal man in Australia and married him …..
So, I had to go all the way to Australia to meet my husband! I am from a small place in Greater London called Hanworth and he is from a small village in County Donegal called Muff. My father is Irish - originally County Mayo but the family moved and he spent most his years in County Galway - so at least I was familiar with the Irish culture. We used to spend our summer holidays as children visiting family in Dublin, Galway and Athlone.
Prior to meeting Paul (in fact to be correct it was his sister Rosie I met first) I had never been to or met anyone from Donegal. I went to Australia in March 2005 on a years working holiday visa. Paul was the cousin of my brother’s girlfriend at the time and we met travelling through Brisbane. A long story short we ended up in a relationship - serious enough that he joined me back in London after our visas were up to make a go of things. He likes to think his Irish charm played a part in this!
The first time I visited Donegal was the summer of 2006. I remember it well as it was my first time to meet most of the rest of Paul's family and see where he grew up (plus I came back to London with an amazing tan which I did not expect to get in Ireland!). It was just as he described - surrounded by greenery, fields and sheep. He took me on trips out to visit places like the ancient fort at An Grianan, Malin Head which is the most northerly part of Ireland, and some of the beautiful beaches that they are surrounded by such as Kinnegoe Bay, Fahan and Stroove. All these trips included stopping off for a 'bite to eat' as he says and I have had some of the most delicious meals. Lovely fresh seafood and locally sourced meats and vegetables featured in most of the places we ate - Harry's, the Beach House, the Fire Box Grill at the Railway Tavern, the Ture Inn and Rosatos to names a few. I felt so welcome and really loved visiting where Paul grew up that when we were deciding where to get married there was no question in my mind that we would have the wedding in Donegal.
We had the wedding mass in the chapel at Iskaheen which has a special place with the Moyne family. The reception was held in the picturesque An Grianan Hotel which was built around the old church just down from the grounds of the ancient fort. It was really magical for me to share this special place with our friends and family. My father was particularly moved by the beautiful scenery which he said reminded him of his childhood in Mayo. In fact he was so moved he even enquired as to whether Paul's uncle would consider selling the holiday house they were staying in at Tullynavin, Redcastle! We now try to get back to Donegal at least once a year for Christmas. We often talk about whether we would make a more permanent move back but unfortunately the lack of work seems to be all that is stopping us. So who knows...if things pick up it could be my turn to follow my Donegal catch back to his home!