Limerick hotel offers free wedding for frontline worker

A Limerick hotel is offering a free wedding for a frontline worker to recognise the sacrifices they have made during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Rathkeale House Hotel in West Limerick, which was taken over just before the start of the first lockdown, has launched a competition to find a couple who it feels should get to spend their special day in the Inn.

Valued at €6,000 and catering for 25 people, the wedding will include a drinks reception, canapes, meal and champagne. Loved ones can be nominated – or people can enter themselves.

There will then be a public vote to decide who wins the top prize.

The brainchild of assistant manager Stephen O’Flaherty, the hotel’s general manager Ann Madigan says it will be a nice opportunity to get people engaged and “give something back”.

“Frontline workers have done an amazing job during the pandemic,” Ann said. 

People we love, members of our family are putting themselves out there, putting their lives at risk. 

“They have to – it’s what they do, it’s their chosen career. Covid-19 has just thrown itself in front of them, and they just have to get up and get on with it. It’s frightening.”

Stephen said: “This is all about giving back to the community. These frontline workers are putting their lives on the line every day. Just imagine how bad things would be without them?” 

Both Ann and Stephen have relatives working to fight the pandemic. Ann’s daughter Eimear has worked for 25 years in intensive care, while Stephen’s brother works in the care staff at University Hospital Limerick.

Ann said: “We have all seen the way the health service is under strain and how vital essential services are. I think sometimes it’s nice to be able to give back.

She added: “The competition will be a bit of a pick-me-up. Everyone will wonder who will win.”

Rathkeale House Hotel re-opened following a €1.2m refurbishment last February, but then Ireland went into lockdown forcing it to close. It currently remains open for frontline workers only.

For more information, and to enter the competition visit www.rathkealehousehotel.ie.