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  • Michael Grace Celebrant

Irish Wedding Traditions, Readings and Music

Updated: May 6

Ireland is a land of ancient traditions, culture, literature, music, stunning landscapes and a thousand welcomes. From north to south, east to west you can find so many amazing locations and venues for your wedding – from chic hotels to ancient castles, from forest glades to sandy beaches.

Ireland is a land rich with tradition – ancient customs are passed down from generation to generation, and the landscape is dappled with mysterious prehistoric remains. This sense of history, myth and legend can add a unique touch to your wedding day and incorporating some of these traditions into your wedding ceremony will give your guests something to remember.

When talking to couples today, while they are looking for lavish, stylish, new and modern, they never forget their Irish heritage and their family traditions. There are many wonderful and unique Irish traditions that can be included in your wedding, whether you keep them rustic or give them a modern twist.


Handfasting (Tying the Knot)

This was the original Irish wedding ceremony and has it's roots in ancient Ireland. Overseen by a person of high standing in the community, a druid, poet or filí, this ritual involves tying the hands of the couple together with rope, ribbon or lace representing their union and their bonds that will only grow stronger, especially in times of pressure.

Claddagh Rings

Claddagh rings have been exchanged in Ireland for centuries. The heart, hands and crown of the Claddagh are said to represent Love, Loyalty and Friendship. The Claddagh ring was originally offered as a wedding token and is still a hugely popular ring for Weddings. With this ring we have adapted the design to sit in a band making it a more versatile piece that can sits well with a Claddagh engagement ring.

Good Luck Horseshoe

A horseshoe was thought to bring the bride good fortune for the nuptials. While a real iron horseshoe doesn’t quite go with an elegant wedding look, this ancient custom can easily be given a modern makeover. Some brides choose to incorporate a horse shoe in their bridal bouquet with a charm, or horseshoe made of porcelain or fabric.

Lace Handkerchief

With a long history of lace making in Ireland, on her wedding day, an Irish bride traditionally carries a lace handkerchief, which is later used to make a bonnet for the christening of the couple’s first child. Often the lace is passed from generation to generation.

Ring Warming

A lovely way to include your guests in your ceremony. You guests are invited to hold your rings for a moment and bestow good wishes to you for your marriage and your future. Before the rings are exchanged, they're passed around the guests to be "warmed".  Each guest holds the rings in their hands for a moment and sets an intention, a blessing or wish for the couple

Traditional Irish Readings and Poems

There are many readings and poems that you can choose from, inspired by the landscape, traditions and culture of Ireland. Many of our Irish writers have written iconic verse about love and romance, from Seamus Heaney to Patrick Kavanagh. Here are a few of my favourites.

Scaffolding by Seamus Heaney

Her Praise by WB Yeats

Oh, Call It By Some Better Name by Thomas Moore

Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by WB Yeats

Bluebells for Love by Patrick Kavanagh

We Are Made One with what we Touch and See by Oscar Wilde

Believe Me, If All Those Endearing Your Charms by Thomas Moore

Traditional Irish Wedding Music

I am a great believe in the power of music. Music can calm you, soothe you and excite you. Music is often the first impression your guests will have of your wedding as they gather for the ceremony.

Ireland has a long history of music both in the instruments that are used and the songs that are sung. Music is a perfect way to blend Irish traditions and culture into your wedding ceremony.

Traditional Irish instruments include the Harp, the Uilleann Pipes, the Tin Whistle and the Fiddle. All of these instruments, whether together or on their own, bring a true sense of Irish culture to your wedding ceremony.

As an example:

There is a wide variety of Irish music for your wedding ceremony I have included here some of my favourites.

Ag Críost an Síol

The Clouds’ Veil

May the Road Rise to Meet You (Gaelic Blessing)

Carolan’s Concerto

The Voyage (Christy Moore)

Wild Mountain Thyme

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