THE lengths a mother-of-the-bride will go to in making sure her daughter’s wedding is perfect know no bounds.
o Ann Mahon didn’t think twice about gate crashing a presidential party during a state visit to get a word from Michael D Higgins for the occasion.
Wiley Ann was up against busy traffic, an even busier official schedule and a heavy security presence but when she called out to President Higgins as Gaelige, she knew she’d snap up his attention.
President Higgins is in Malta on a state visit and had just left meetings at the presidential palace and laid a wreath at the War Memorial at Floriana.
Ann and husband Pat are in Malta on equally important business – the wedding of their daughter Emma to Eric O’Farrell on Friday.
“We heard the President was here and we said we’ll have to find him, for good luck for the wedding,” Ann explained.
“They had to put the wedding off because of Covid – this is the fourth date they set – so we were just petrified in case anything else would happen. We were praying everything would be alright.
“We followed the police and the cars and then saw the Irish flag and we knew we were in the right place.”
President Higgins gladly granted Ann’s request for a photograph and then on hearing the family’s reason for being in Malta, told them he was very pleased for them all.
“I wish health and happiness to Emma and her future husband,” he pronounced.
And with that, he easily steals the show when the messages from absent well-wishers are read out at the nuptials tomorrows.
“It’ll be some best man’s speech now,” Ann said.
Not that there are many absentees. Around 65 family members and friends have traveled to Malta for the occasion, including close family friends, Anne Gannon and Josie Ruane.
A few new friends have been made on the way too as Áine Hickey and Teresa Shortall from Kilkenny, and David and Julie O’Dowd from Armagh got swept up in the Mohans’ quest and were with them when they commandeered President Higgins.
“It’s lovely to meet him and so lovely of him to come over to see us because we could see it’s all very official,” Teresa said.
“He was on the Ryanair flight with some of the wedding guests,” Ann said. “We thought they were having us on when they said it. No private jets for Michael D.”
As President Higgins continues his official engagements tomorrow, Emma, a sports physiotherapist, and Eric, a sales representative, will be getting their ceremonies under way at the Dolmen Hotel.
The hotel has the ancient Bugibba dolmen in its grounds which makes for a special wedding setting.
The celebrations will continue on Saturday with a barbecue for all the guests and Ann and Pat will depart on Sunday.
President Higgins, his wife Sabina and Minister for Social Protection Heather Humphreys who is accompanying them, will be back home in Dublin by then.