Inside former Munster rugby player Ian Keatley’s New Year’s Eve wedding at Adare Manor

Rugby star Ian Keatley and Lisa Downey tied the knot in a glamorous ceremony at Adare Manor in Limerick on New Year’s Eve.

The pair tied the knot in a star-studded ceremony in the luxury five star hotel with 200 of their closest friends and family, including most of the Ireland rugby players, last Tuesday.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Ian Keatley explained how nervous he was the night before the big day.

“I stayed in a room on my own and it was quite stressful, I had a speeches to make and I was on my own so I was thinking about them and worrying if things will go smoothly,” he said.

“I’m usually quite a calm guy so I was surprised that I was that nervous.”

Thankfully, the day went to plan.

“It was a lovely day and in fairness, Lisa should take a lot of the credit because it all went without a hitch.

“Adare Manor was the best for its staff and I even said it in my speech, guests were coming up to me throughout the day saying how accommodating the staff were,” he added.

Adare Manor holds a special place in the couple’s hearts as the church in Adare is where their daughter Beth (2) was christened.

Even though the family currently lives in Italy, where Ian is currently playing with Benetton Rugby, they decided to hold the wedding back home.

“Adare is a lovely town and we love the place, we lived in Limerick for a few years and we’ve always liked the venue.

“We did consider holding the wedding in Italy, but it would have been a lot of trouble to bring everyone over,” he said.

The decision to hold the wedding at the turn of the decade was made with Ian’s fellow teammates in mind.

“We had 200 guests because we had all the players and then all their girlfriends. Obviously, our families came first and then our extended families had priority, but we tried to invite as many as we could,” he added.

“It’s a busy time of year for rugby players and they had a match on Friday but we had the wedding on Tuesday so they had a few days to let their hair down.”

However, most of Ian’s fellow players get married during the summer, so New Year’s Eve is not the most common choice.

“I have friends in Australia and Lisa also has friends abroad, so we thought, when would everyone be home in Ireland? New Year’s Eve also fell on a Tuesday so we knew it would suit people,” he added.

However, it was a time-crunch in the days running up to the wedding.

“I played a match on Saturday and then I was on a flight home to Dublin before the wedding. Lisa came home before Christmas to finalise all the details while I was in Italy,” he said.

The couple moved to Italy six months ago and travelled home several times to finalise details.

“We had the bulk of the wedding arranged before we moved, but we flew home several times. We had cake tasting and then Lisa had hair and makeup trials,” explained Ian.

“Adare Manor have a planner and she was great and looked after us very well, which took a lot of pressure off us,” he added.

The two-day wedding saw the second day being “quiet”, as many guests were back to work on January 2.

“We wanted a quiet second day where we just went to a pub in Adare and had some food and a few drinks. People were back at work the day after and the lads had training, so we wanted to keep it low-key enough,” said Ian.

There’s no honeymoon on the cards just yet, but the family will be heading out to the Alps when they’re back in Italy for several days to do some skiing.

«We’ll have to try and book something for the summer though,» he added.

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