The picture postcard village of Cong in Co Mayo is braced for an influx of A-listers this weekend as golf star Rory McIlroy prepares to wed fiancée Erica Stoll at Ashford Castle.
The luxury hotel, which has hosted stars such as Pierce Brosnan, John Lennon, Brad Pitt, Ted Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and King George V of England, will open its doors to the glitterati once again today, with the entire resort block booked to accommodate the wedding party and their guests.
Rory (27) found love with old friend Erica after his engagement to tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki ended in dramatic fashion in 2014.
The pair are keen to celebrate the big day in private, shelling out hundreds of thousands to secure the famous castle exclusively for the event.
Here’s everything we know about the €1.1m Irish wedding of the year:
First things first: what will the bride wear?
Wee Mac’s New York bride-to-be has managed to keep a firm lid on her wedding dress plans. Erica’s style is relaxed and casual so our money’s on a boho-esque look.
So who’s invited?
One Direction’s Niall Horan, golf star Padraig Harrington and actor Jimmy Nesbitt are on the guest list. Rory’s childhood friend Harry Diamond is on best man duty.
What about the food?
McIlroy is known to keep a careful watch on his diet, subsisting on chicken and broccoli when he’s preparing for a big event, but it’s likely he’ll relax the rules for a few days in celebration of his wedding.
Chef Philippe Farineau, Executive Chef at Ashford Castle is renowned for his use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients in creative, innovative cuisine.
And the entertainment?
Stevie Wonder and his band landed in Shannon yesterday, immediately setting tongues wagging. Coldplay and Ed Sheeran are also tipped to play the event.
Any chance of a bit of celeb spotting?
Unlikely. Security is tight and the entire 350-acre estate is on complete lockdown. Your best bet is to take a sneaky stroll through Cong and keep your eyes peeled for famous faces enjoying sneaky pints in the local pubs.
Local butcher Thomas Ryan told the Irish Examiner that the golfer (27) is a familiar face in the area:
“Rory McIlroy comes to the village,” said Ryan, “and he would be down in O’Connor’s pub there. Some of the young people might be following him for autographs, but nobody is plaguing him. They know he is here for a break and we are well used to that.”