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© 1987-2016
Scott Larson

Building façade in Cannes, France

The (News of the) World Is Not Enough

A strange thing happened to me last weekend.

The Missus and I packed up the car and brought our Little Munchkin on a drive from The Missus’s house in the wilds of southwest Ireland to her hometown in County Mayo. (That’s not the strange part. She’s always dragging me to Mayo.) When we turned on the radio, all anyone was talking about was Pierce Brosnan’s wedding. And, as we heard, he was getting married in Mayo! That very weekend!

In the next 72 hours, with absolutely no effort on my part, I became a Pierce Brosnan expert. Every magazine, every newspaper, every radio station we turned to was chatting incessantly about the 007 star and his upcoming nuptials. The interesting thing was that he was getting married in Ballintubber Abbey, an 800-year-old church just a few miles from where The Missus was born, a church that we know well. Not only did we get a private tour of the place from the abbey’s chaplain a couple of years back, thanks to The Missus’s aunt, who is a nun, but one of my brothers-in-law was married there (like a lot of Irish people are) just last October.

And the reception was to be held in Ashford Castle, a beautiful place right next to the village of Cong. And wasn’t I just discussing Cong in this very space a couple of weeks ago? Ashford Castle is another place we are somewhat familiar with. The Missus and I used to sneak into it even before they started charging tourists for the privilege of walking around its grounds. Once we were even cheeky enough to walk into the castle itself and order tea, even though a sign said that the facilities were for “residents only.” Of course, that cup of tea cost more than our grocery bill for a week, but no matter. It was a fabulous experience. Now the place was being sealed up in a security crackdown not unlike, say, a big-budget spy movie.

Security was so tight that they even laid nets into Lough Corrib, the scenic lake by which the castle sits, to prevent enterprising scuba driving reporters from swimming their way into the gala party. I know this because one of the customers at my father-in-law’s petrol station told me so, and it must be true because he said he read it in The News of the World. This customer had lots of other useful information, like how Pierce didn’t bother to invite his Irish cousins or his biological father to the do. Now, I don’t know if any of this is actually true, but what good is gossip if it’s not repeated?

As you may know, Brosnan was born in Ireland, in County Meath to be precise, but his family moved to England when he was a lad. I don’t know if Pierce is a Gaelic football fan, but if he is, he must have been conflicted because Meath was playing neighboring Westmeath in a playoff for the All-Ireland that very weekend. This eerily echoes what happened to my brother-in-law (the one who was also married in Ballintubber Abbey). The All-Ireland itself was held on his very wedding day, but he couldn’t have know it in advance because it was a replay scheduled only paid six days earlier when Kerry and Galway tied in the first All-Ireland match—a development that caused more than a little consternation since my brother-in-law, as well as most of The Missus’s family, are all rabid football fans. Indeed, in Ireland the All-Ireland is regarded with a reverence second only to Easter.

Why was everyone so interested in Pierce Brosnan’s wedding? Probably because he is such a sexy guy. He even has one of those sexy guy names, which are basically some Freudian double entendre. In addition to “Pierce,” other such sexy guy names are “Lance,” “Phil,” “Bob,” and “Mr. Big Torpedo Man.”

Pierce’s hooley was also competing with the angling championship in Ballinrobe, but I’m guessing that this didn’t bother him too much. You see, unlike my own Irish wedding (which had nothing to do with either Ballintubber Abbey nor Ashford Castle), he may well have made a profit on his. You see, the reason for all the security was not simply because he is stickler for privacy, but to make sure that the only photos of the event were taken by Hello! magazine, a slick British gossip rag, which paid six figures for the rights to the wedding coverage. But if you are offended by such crass commercialism, you will be gladdened to learn that there is an alternative. It so happens that The Missus and I had planned to be in Cong that weekend even before we knew that Pierce was getting married. So I brought along my camera and snapped a few shots for my loyal readers. Sure, they may not be as slick or as professional or even as relevant as the pics in Hello!, but you can enjoy them in the knowledge that no one paid me a single penny for them. To see my exclusive pictorial, click here.

-S.L., 9 August 2001

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