On January 19th next year, the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana want to celebrate decades of "Donegal Love Story" by bringing together and celebrating the love stories of couples who got married there over the past 50 years by hosting a special celebration in the very location where they celebrated their wedding day.

Already they have received the story of the very first couple who celebrated their wedding reception in this beautiful location way back in 1976.

John Murray from Carrick on Shannon and Mena Gill from Buncrana met at Mena's cousins wedding in Buncrana , they got engaged on the top of An Grianan fort in Burt and married in Cockhill Church in the Inishowen town on 15th March 1976 with over 100 guests in attendance.

Over 40 of their guests travelled from Carrick on Shannon , quite a distance on the roads of 1976!

Following the wedding service, the guests enjoyed a wedding meal of roast chicken and all the trimmings.

John and Mena honeymooned in Southern Ireland and even invited a lot of their wedding guests on the honeymoon with them and believe it or not, some did go!

The Inishowen Gateway team are now on a mission to find more couples to celebrate with and to borrow these treasured mementos for the night.

There are videos and faded photos of adoring couples with dodgy hairstyles hiding in attics and the team believe they deserve to be displayed. Looking back and celebrating those happy occasions.

Whether you are celebrating one, ten or fifty years of marriage, the Inishowen Gateway invites you to get in touch today!

Through this unique event couples will relive the magic and anniversaries of their special day with family and friends at the Inishowen Gateway Donegal Love Story Gala event that includes a tour of the hotel, drinks reception, Evening Meal and dancing until late.

Maybe you met your partner in Club Sands, Equinox or the White Strand disco days or one of the weekend dances held here over the years?

If so Inishowen Gateway Hotel want to hear if your romance blossomed into marriage that took place here in the hotel.

On the night guests can enjoy:

Enjoy hot winter punch on arrival on the red carpet,
- 4 course Evening meal,
- Dancing until late with our resident band
- Tickets will be available for only €25 per person. Excellent accommodation rates are also available to include tickets to the gala event plus bed and breakfast.

A Donegal Love Story Wedding Exhibition will also be on display, the hotel hopes to feature a collection of treasured wedding artefacts from couples such as wedding dresses, photographs and other mementos on display, creating a time capsule of love stories and bringing precious memories to life.

Evelyn McGlynn who is heading up this project for the hotel, celebrated her own wedding day way back in the 80's and is bringing this unique Donegal Love Story concept to Inishowen for the very first time.

"We want to reach out to anyone who got married here in the last 50 years, gather them all together, celebrate the stories and memories that were made and display their treasured mementoes that have survived all these years. In some cases families may have never seen their parents wedding keepsakes.

There will be some amazing prizes for many of the Donegal Love Story brides and grooms.

Every couple celebrating their golden 50th year anniversary will receive a complimentary overnight stay in the hotel’s Honeymoon Suite (a few terms and conditions apply!) with other prizes including vintage afternoon tea and romantic dinner for two in Peninsula Restaurant.
Each couple will also take home a commemorative certificate honouring their special day and lasting love.

Group table bookings are available to ensure family and friends can join for the festivities and are seated together.

If you would like to have your wedding mementos included in this special exhibition please contact Amanda on [email protected] or call the hotel on 07493 61144 at The Inishowen Gateway.

All items will be taken care of, secured and returned after the event.

Photo shows John and Mena Martin on their wedding day.

If you have a story or want to send a photo or video to us please contact the Donegal Now editorial team. Between 9am and 5pm Monday to Sunday please call 074 9112712. Between 5pm and midnight please call or text 086 792 2103. Or you can email [email protected] at any time.