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Thursday 7 December 2023 Dublin: 11°C

It's not everyone's cup of tea - but a certain wedding could be a bigger deal than Eurovision in Ireland this weekend

It will be hard to escape the nuptials of Harry and Meghan today. Here’s where you can watch it.

Royal Wedding preparations PA Wire / PA Images Royal fans wait to watch members of the armed forces in a parade rehearsal in Windsor on Thursday. PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

THERE ARE INHERENT hazards that come along with hosting a royal wedding viewing party in Ireland – online abuse being one of them.

A hotel in Buncrana, north Donegal, had to call off an event planned for today as a result of what was described as a barrage of abuse online.

Elsewhere, Ross McParland, proprietor of the Whale Theatre in Greystones, said his venue’s planned viewing party had come in for criticism too – but that customers who have booked their tickets are looking forward to the festivities.

“We have had some opposition online and what have you – it hasn’t pleased everyone,” McParland said.

Some people feel it’s not appropriate to celebrate the royal family – but most of the people, I think, who are coming are just interested in the fashion and the fun of the event.

The Wicklow theatre is one of a handful of Irish venues holding special paid viewings of the goings-on from Windsor Castle – although there’s likely to be quite a scrap over the remote control in certain pubs too.

McParland is offering his guests – it will be a “strong female attendance,” he said – extras like a continental breakfast, bucks fizz and a slice of wedding cake (all for a €15 entrance fee).

The small theatre only opened last September, he said, but his staff haven’t experienced anything like this level of interest for any of the events they’ve staged so far.

Surprisingly, a Eurovision screening organised for last Saturday had to be called off due to lack of interest, McParland said.

That’s something they don’t need to worry about this weekend – the royal wedding event has long since sold out.

Royal wedding preparations PA Wire / PA Images Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will tie the knot at midday at St George's Chapel (and, by the looks of it, on most TV stations) PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Other events 

In the heart of Georgian Dublin, the Conrad Hotel is offering brunch, bubbles (we’re presuming that means some manner of sparkling wine), a luxury goodie bag and a review of the nuptials by a celebrity panel. That all comes with a price tag of €75  – and it’s also a sell out.

If you’re planning to watch in the pub, the bar at the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon has come up with a special ‘Meghan Martini’ to mark the big day (citrus vodka, Cointreau and a lemon twist – since you ask).

There’s little chance of your fellow patrons demanding the TV be switched over to a sporting event mid-way through the ceremony, if you are heading down the pub to watch.

The wedding itself should be long over by the time the first ball is kicked in anger – even though it’s a pretty busy day of sport (in the interest of completeness – Celtic take on Motherwell in the Scottish Cup final at three o’clock; A quarter of an hour later it’s Leinster v Munster in the Guinness Pro 14 semi-final; then at 5.15pm there’s the small matter of Chelsea v Man United in the FA Cup final).

The ceremony itself starts at midday – and that will be followed by a royal carriage ride through Windsor, where thousands of flag-waving royal watchers will be cheering the couple on.

“We’ve enough TVs to show it so if there’s demand for it I don’t see why we wouldn’t show it,” owner of the Swan Bar off Dublin’s Aungier Street Ronan Lynch said.

We certainly have enough space so whatever keeps the punters happy – there’s a lot of sport on later that day but sure it’s a bit of fun.

Britain Royal Wedding Windsor Alastair Grant American royal fan Donna Werne shows off her placards in her position along the carriage route in Windsor. Alastair Grant

Where can I watch it on TV?

The BBC, as you might imagine, is going all-out for the wedding. A top-tier team of Kirsty Young, Huw Edwards and Dermot O’Leary will be on commentary duty an entire three hours before the ceremony starts, from 9am.

On Sky, Kay Burley (of course) will helm proceedings alongside Anna Botting, also from 9am – with the Sky News broadcast also being carried live on Sky One.

Closer to home, it will be hard to escape the wedding on Irish television either. Maura Derrane, Evelyn O’Rourke and Darren Kennedy provide the commentary for RTÉ One at the more sensible start time of 11.30am. TV3 will be carrying the ITV broadcast of the event – with Julie Etchingham and Phillip Schofield out front.

As many as 10,000 people are expected to descend on Windsor for the big day – and there’ll be road closures along the procession route until late in the afternoon.

On a brighter note, if you happen to be in England or Wales the pubs are being allowed stay open two hours later than usual, until 1am, to mark the wedding.

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