Octogenarian Couple In Ireland Marry 40 Years After First Meeting

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An Irish couple in their 80s got married Friday, 40 years after they first met.

John Bermingham, 86, and Mary Long, 83, met in a hotel in 1976, BBC reported. Long eventually agreed to go on a coffee date with Bermingham several years later.

Bermingham’s daughter Carolyn told BBC that “while they are a lot of fun and they are great craic, as you’d say, they do have old-fashioned values and they did just want to be a married couple.” (RELATED: Busch Offers Free Beer For Couples Who Had Their Weddings Postponed Because Of Coronavirus Pandemic)

Getting married “means an awful lot to them,” she added.

Carolyn said that “a lot of issues along the way” had delayed the couple getting married. There was no divorce in Ireland until 1996, she said, and at that point, there were problems with her father’s foreign divorce. Long also had to get a church and state annulment.

“When eventually those problems were over, they were getting old and struggling with the internet and having to do things online and they’re not able for that,” she told BBC. “I know they’re very old and, as they say themselves, they were afraid that one of them would pass away before they got a chance to do it and so I decided to take the matter in hand and try to help them and sort them out.”

Carolyn helped organized a wedding, and the couple got married Friday in the civil marriage registration room in County Offaly Tullamore Health Centre. Although the number of people who could attend the wedding was limited due to coronavirus restrictions, the couple’s family and friends plan to celebrate when they can.

“As Mary always says, they wanted to be buried together as a couple, not that there was ever going to be an issue with that, but because they think in a more old-fashioned way, it makes things a bit more signed and sealed for them,” Carolyn said.