2017 Year In Review: Best Of Waterlily Weddings

As we begin to say “good bye” to 2017 and “hello” to 2018, we’re taking a look back on the amazing year Waterlily Weddings had in planning some truly exquisite and memorable weddings!  Among the highlights: We worked with some new venues and areas in Ireland that served as perfect backdrop for weddings and elopements; a completely DIY wedding dress the bride made herself that was at once her “something old” and “something new!”;  we saw a merging of cultures and traditions coming together for gorgeous bespoke wedding ceremonies and receptions with Ireland serving as perfect fairy tale backdrop; we launched our new styling and design services and are so excited to showcase our hard work behind the scenes with our 2018 weddings coming up!  And we added a few new members to our Waterlily Weddings team — you’ll get to know them better as we feature a bit about our hardworking and talented planners and artists on the BLOG starting in January!

Compiling this list was extremely hard. We truly love each and every wedding we do, and each one has a unique quality to outstanding detail worth mentioning. And some weddings from 2017 just happened, so although we love them the timing didn’t make the cutoff but we so very much look forward to featuring on our BLOG and website!!!

We want to thank all of our clients —  thank you for letting us have our dream jobs and helping you create your dream wedding day in Ireland.  It is truly an honor we take very seriously and absolutely love to do. And thank you to the incredible vendors we work with:  this is a team effort and we couldn’t do what we do without the incredible talent, dedication, and professionalism of Irish vendors.  Without further adieu, here are the top moments of Waterlily Weddings 2017.

 

Wedding of the Year 2017

Katie & Dan: Kilruddery House & Gardens / Luttrellstown Castle

We say this all the time to clients: “take advantage of everything Ireland has to offer you: the scenery, the venues, the traditions, the colors and textures, then make it your own.” Katie and Dan did exactly that when planning their epic 2017 dream destination wedding in Ireland. They envisioned a wedding weekend celebration full of Irish traditions including formal teas and archery and lots of music and dancing. Every detail about their wedding was purposeful, extremely thoughtful, made sense aesthetically. The flowers and color palette popped in both venues just perfectly. The stationary and gold accents added the perfect touch to the reception space at Luttrellstown Castle. Even the flowers girls had the perfect dresses. We love Katie’s look — the dress is gorgeous, the earrings, the bouquet are stunning. We love Dan’s look — formal but still edgy. The ceremony space at Kilruddery House was perfectly decorated — enhanced and not overly done. The stationary is exquisite. The food and drinks served was fit for royalty. The reception space was perfectly decorated and well balanced. Entertainment, live music and Irish dancers performing kept the pace going well into the night. Overall the entire wedding weekend incorporated everything guests could want: sight-seeing, activities, estate homes, castles, Guinness, Irish music and dancing, and lots more! Every detail was well executed and thoughtful, down to the color and texture. There was a pace about the weekend, everything leading up to the grand finale fireworks at the end. You can clearly see how much everyone enjoyed this event. Truly memorable, truly well done. Congratulations Katie and Dan!

We cannot wait to share with you in January more details of this gorgeous wedding. Check the BLOG very, very soon!

Toni & Chris: Aran Islands (2016)

Photos by D’Arcy Benicosa

We helped Toni and Chris plan their incredible wedding that took place back in 2016, but we couldn’t share the pictures with you all until 2017.  Their gorgeous and absolutely perfect dream destination wedding in Ireland was featured in Martha Stewart Weddings, and due to exclusivity rights on publishing images, we needed to wait until 2017 to share those images with you. Because of that technicality, we place their wedding deservedly here in top spot to share with Katie & Dan’s equally epic destination wedding in Ireland. And we love that both of these weddings when seen together show how varied and beautiful all of Ireland can be: from historical ruins, ancient spiritual ceremonies and quaint pubs to grand estates, beautifully tailored ceremonies, and fairy tale castles, Ireland truly has everything you could ever wish for on your dream wedding day!

We love how unique and meaningful Toni & Chris’s wedding was. They chose to host their wedding day on the Aran Islands — small islands off the coast of western Ireland — and incorporated many ancient Irish traditions.  Check out more details and the gorgeous pictures on the BLOG POST here.

Outstanding Elopement

Hayley & Spencer / Newtown Castle

Photos by Awake and Dreaming Photography

This was so hard to decide. We had some absolutely stunning elopements this year!

We recently blogged Hayley and Spencer’s beautiful and moving elopement on the BLOG and it’s one of our favorites because of the emotion and straightforwardness of it. Young, madly in love, these two embody what makes Ireland so special: that adventurous and romantic spirit. Their elopement took place at Newtown Tower on a bright sunny day, the sun casting a glorious glow about the tower and surrounding grounds making it straight out of a fairy tale.  We love Hayley’s dress — bohemian and vintage with a modern twist — her bouquet, and love her moonstone ring! Spencer looked every bit the part of handsome groom in a smart tailored tweed suit and megawatt smile. We love how they both wore Dr. Martens, staying true to themselves and adding a bit of their personalities to the day. The photos from their First Look shots are what inspire us to do what we do — the anticipation, excitement, nervousness, pure love and joy that are so clear will bring tears to your eyes.  Their simple bespoke ceremony at Newtown was spiritual in nature and full of little personal touches. We LOVED their bright, colorful cake — photographing gorgeously against the white background at the Tower. And the shots of them exploring the grounds as newly minted husband and wife will reinvigorate your belief in true love. The photos beautifully, captured by Awake & Dreaming, tell their story better than words ever could.

Outstanding Vow Renewal

Stacie & Ralph / Waterford Castle

Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

Love is a journey, and one of our favorite events to plan at Waterlily Weddings is the celebration of long-lasting love. Stacie and Ralph came to Ireland to renew their vows with their two children and chose Waterford Castle as the perfect backdrop. We love Stacie’s dress, we love how the kids got involved, we love the intimacy and purity of the ceremony and how they enjoyed the time being together and marking this milestone. We sincerely hope to plan more vow renewals in  2018!  For more of Stacie and Ralph’s vow renewal, check out the BLOG POST here!

Best Couples Portrait

Candace & John / Irish War Memorial Gardens

Photos by Studio Brown

We love couple portraits and one of our hopes for 2018 is more couples opting for this. It really is a fabulous way to try out your look before the day, irons out any last minute changes you may want to do, and most of all — it gives you as a couple that one-on-one time with your photographer void of distraction and the bustle of your wedding day. We’ve had couples do this for elopements and with huge weddings and everyone universally agrees it was one of the things they loved the most about their wedding and are glad they invested in.  We had a few gorgeous portraits to choose from this year but Candace and Jonathan’s stood out the most. Her dress, her hair, their classic style together gave off a really cool vintage vibe that photographed perfectly. Their clear love for one another and fun exploring the grounds really show through and made for exquisite shots. We also love their location choice —  The Irish War Memorial Gardens — unique and lots of really great backgrounds to enhance their look.  Please do check out their blog post here for more gorgeous photos and also look out for their insanely beautiful elopement at Newtown Tower and the Cliffs of Moher!

Favorite Location: Outdoor

Horn Head / Donegal

Photos by Paula O’Hara

We keep saying “Go north!” for some truly incredibly scenery in Ireland. Wild and free and firmly grasping its ancient history, the northwestern coast of Ireland is truly unlike any place on earth: incredible cliffs soaring high to the sky reach out into the blue Atlantic, while the coastline melts into a carpet of impossible green rolling into purple mountains and rich farmland countryside, a green so rich it rivals any emerald. One word: SPECTACULAR.  So when Kelly and Adam decided to host their dream elopement in Donegal we were so excited and knew the resulting pictures would be incredible. In the north you’ll find an overwhelming sense of freedom. The landscape seems somehow “bigger” — the cliffs seem higher, the countryside feels like it will never end. There is a spell in these parts that somehow transports you to a different part of the world, where it feels like for a moment you’re the only two people on earth. It’s quite special.  Check back in January for a complete write up in our BLOG detailing this incredible dream destination wedding in Ireland!

Outstanding Venue: General

Mount Juliet / Kilkenny

Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

Mount Juliet is one of those slam-dunk venues: it has everything you could possibly want and need for your dream wedding day. Outdoors the grounds boast multiple gardens, meadows carpeted in wildflowers, huge oak trees, green pasture, ponds with lily pads, and it even has a moon window.  Indoors the estate is handsomely appointed in modern neutrals with antique touches, enabling it to support a variety of aesthetics inside. And to help, an incredible staff and extremely talented chef. We chose to host a style shoot at Mount Juliet earlier this year and really enjoyed showing off the estate and grounds. Please check our BLOG and PORTFOLIO for more pictures of the shoot and some weddings we did her this year! Looking forward to our weddings in 2018!

Outstanding Venue: Ruins

Rathborny Church Ruins

Photos by Butterfly Photography

Rathborny is a small church ruin located in the middle of an old ringfort dating back to the 1500s in the Burren, in Western Ireland. We’ve worked with this location a few times this year with our couples to great effect: for some it served as backdrop for their “first look” shots and others used it as a picturesque setting for their ceremony. The ruin itself isn’t quite large which is great — it makes decorating and working the space quite manageable — and despite its smaller size (comparatively speaking), it still retains many outstanding features like vaulted ceilings, medieval arched windows, and other details of the period that are well preserved and consequently show through in pictures very well. Its location in the Burren offers couples some truly spectacular scenery to work into their wedding day as well:  centrally located you have the option to incorporate the sea, inland countryside, and some unique settings in the Burren for your ceremony and picture backdrops. Gregans Castle and other fabulous venues are nearby to host your reception.  Samantha and Benjamin chose Rathborny to host their wedding ceremony. The sunny day really showed off many of the unique and romantic details the ruins have to offer. We’re excited to share more of this gorgeous wedding in January so make sure to check back on the BLOG soon!

Outstanding Venue: Indoor

Luttrellstown Castle

Photos by Bruno Rosa

Once again, the versatility and impeccable attention to detail that Luttrellstown offers sets the stage as the perfect indoor venue for your dream destination wedding in Ireland. The rooms are spacious without feeling cavernous, so even a huge wedding feels intimate and inviting. Rooms are well decorated and appointed, so even smaller intimate weddings feel comfortable.  Gorgeous mantles, grand staircases, marble floors, tapestries and antiques add little touches that make the space feel like a home that you at once embrace upon entering. The best feature of Luttrellstown, however, is the abundance of natural light. The large windows allow so much good lighting to pour through that even if it’s drowning rain outdoors you will not feel like you lost out on having an indoor ceremony. Aesthetically speaking, the castle is decorated richly but with a good eye for neutrals, so many different styles and color palettes work here. We love planning weddings at Luttrellstown and hope to do more in 2018!  Check out our BLOG and PORTFOLIO to see some of the our Luttrellstown Castle weddings!

Favorite Decor: Ceremony

Monica & Alok / Waterford Castle

Traditional Indian weddings really are a sight to behold, and yes they can work in Ireland too! Waterford Castle served as backdrop for Monica and Alok’s multiple day wedding celebration. They hosted a traditional Indian ceremony took place under the mandap — beautifully and elegantly decorated with green and white that perfectly offset the colorfulness of the ceremony. We also love the grand floral arch that decorated the entrance to the castle throughout the festivities!  We can’t wait to share more photos of Monica and Alok’s wedding very soon!

Favorite Decor: Reception

Sarah & Alex / Lisnavagh House

Photos by The Lous

Absolutely in love with how Sarah and Alex decorated their reception space for their gorgeous wedding this year! Standout details include incorporating different colored plates and designs on the place settings, keeping in with their color scheme but adding that unexpected detail that completely set the tone for the room. Flowers were kept romantic and classic, accented with simple gold and glass details that really let the unique place settings shine through. Simple stationary on the table added the perfect final touch. This room was beautifully decorated with romantic garland and hanging tea lights, making use of the height in the room to create a very lush and earthy feel that was still so very elegant and contemporary. The color scheme of whites and greens mixed in with teal, blue, and gold was the perfect color combination in the room (and for Ireland) and just beautifully set the tone throughout the day and into the evening.  This is a great example of how adding in those details can really distinguish your wedding from the rest. Absolutely so excited to share more of this gorgeous wedding with you in early 2018!

Best Overall Wedding Day Composition

Kelly & Jeff / Martello Tower / Smock Alley Theater / Dublin

This category looks at the overall wedding day and how it was structured, the different elements of the day and how they were laid out, and the overall tone reflecting back to each unique couple. Kelly & Jeff’s Dublin-inspired wedding day is textbook application to how a well structured and thoughtfully planned wedding day can be reflective of themselves as a couple but still embracing a lot of what Ireland has to offer. They started their ceremony on the coast overlooking the Irish Sea when a sudden change in weather forced them indoors (mid-ceremony!) to say their vows under the cover of the Martello Tower. We loved how they took it in stride, simply drawing out the umbrellas and laughing and smiling as everyone took refuge inside the tower! The weather soon cleared and the wedding party made their way to Smock Alley Theater in historic downtown Dublin for a cocktail reception. Kelly and Jeff wanted to highlight a bit of Ireland’s history, and this part of Dublin is rich both in history as well as color, making for some lovely photos as they toured the famous sites together. Avid foodies, the wedding dinner was held at Restaurant Patrick Guilbauld — Ireland’s only two star Michellin restaurant —  where guests indulged in a phenomenal multi-course dinner and meeting the famous chef himself! To end their Dublin wedding on a fun note, everyone made their way to Temple Bar district and sang, danced, and partied the night away with the locals pub-style. It was the perfect mix of casual and formal, elegant and relaxed, modern and classic, historic and fresh all at the same time. One of our favorite weddings this year!  For more check out the BLOG POST here!

Outstanding Ceremony: General

Persian and Irish Bespoke Ceremony / Shamin & Karl/ Bellinter House

Photos by Sioban Byrne

Just because your wedding day is in Ireland doesn’t mean you need to forgo any cultural and family traditions that are not Irish. We encourage couples to explore their respective cultural and spiritual traditions, and work with them to create a bespoke ceremony that presents beautifully using Ireland as a natural and gorgeous backdrop. Shamin and Karl’s wedding is a perfect example of how well this works.  Shamin is Persian and Karl is Irish, and they created a beautiful ceremony reflective of both of their heritages and beliefs, merging together into a very meaningful and beautiful ceremony.  Taking heavy inspiration from the Persian marriage ceremony tradition called the Sofreh Aghd, the Irish countryside served as backdrop while the intricate details of the Sofreh Aghd set the space for the marriage ceremony. The colors worked perfectly with the greenery of the Irish countryside, and choosing to hold the ceremony outdoors added another level of spirituality and beauty.  For more of Shamin and Karl’s gorgeous wedding, check out the BLOG post here!

Outstanding Cake

Elizabeth & Ben / Cupcakes & Counting / Emerald Geode Cake

Photo by Christina Brosnan Photographic

Cakes can be a subjective detail for weddings as everyone’s tastes are different. And we’ve seen some truly incredible works of art come through this year. But one cake in particular designed and made by the uber-talented Cupcakes and Counting is the geode cake. The emerald and gold detail was a perfect nod to Ireland and completely and instantly set the tone for Elizabeth and Ben’s Waterford castle wedding. Adding the perfect touch is the gold monogram topper Elizabeth and Ben chose. The laser cut design is at once elegant and on trend, balancing the texture of the geode cake absolutely perfectly. This cake looks absolutely stunning and was the clear favorite for us in 2017.  We’re excited to share more of Elizabeth and Ben’s beautiful wedding in early 2018! Check back soon!

Outstanding Bridal Bouquet

Kelly / Horn Head Elopement

  

Photos by Paula O’Hara

We saw some really stunning arrangements this year from our brides but the one that really stood out for us was Kelly’s bouquet.  The colors completely complimented this September elopement and perfectly reflected the Donegal countryside while at the same time adding that feminine, romantic touch every bride wants on her wedding day. We love the shape of the bouquet, the ribbon detail is perfect and used to great effect with the  northwestern breeze. We love the flower selection as well — a mix of traditional (roses) with some wild flowers and textured foliage to add dimension. We love that the bouquet had the confidence to mix in darker colors, perfectly offsetting the softer shades in the roses and playing off of the terrain.  The bouquet is well balanced, well shaped, perfectly suited for Kelly’s shape and size and style of dress, and just really a lovely addition to her overall look. This is an excellent example of how a floral bouquet can actually enhance your look and your pictures, rather than distracting. Really well done.  Check back soon to see more of this gorgeous elopement!

Outstanding Stationary

Katie & Dan /

Photo by Bruno Rosa

We always tell couples not to skimp on the stationary for their wedding day! It may seem old fashioned but it really can enhance your wedding and set the tone for the event. We saw some really great stuff this year from our couples and this category was one of the hardest to pick. Just ever-so-slightly edging out a few others was Katie and Dan’s stationary suite. We love it because it’s bold and absolutely impeccably done. We love the tone matches the events leading up to and on the day of the wedding, the gold details echoes off the castle perfectly, the watercolor detail helps soften the suite and makes it feel whimsical. We LOVE the addition of the maps and activities — absolutely loved that detail — and how overall the suite worked both aesthetically and practically as the guests could refer to it throughout the wedding weekend. Bonus:  their stationary was signed by Bono from U2 — that is admittedly hard to beat.  More on Katie & Dan’s epic dream Irish wedding very soon!

Unique Detail: Ceremony

Falcon Ring Bearer / Monica & Alok/ Waterford Castle

Photos by House of Talent

We adore when couples think outside the box and have fun with their ceremony and wedding day. Monica and Alok had a fantastic attitude and certain joie de vivre that was as attractive and exciting as the colorful attire and decor for their epic Indian-inspired wedding weekened celebration at Waterford Castle. But one detail in particular really stood out that we’d never seen (or done) before:  in lieu of a traditional ring bearer, Waterford’s resident falcon was trained to fly the rings up to the alter during the ceremony! It was such an incredible sight that surprised and delighted the guests, making a memory no one will forget!  We are looking forward to sharing more of Monica and Alok’s wedding soon in 2018!

Unique Detail: Reception

Indian Performance & Dancing / Monica & Alok / Waterford Castle

Photos by House of Talent

Yes! We love the vibe that Monica and Alok created at Waterford Castle, transforming it into an incredible scene of color and senses and music and just absolute fun. To kick off the reception, colorfully clad dancers took center stage on the dance floor as the guests encircled and delighted the couple and their guests. Having a performance may at first appear formal but this is a great example of how you can use performances to help instantly set the tone for your reception. Immediately everyone is happy and smiling and clapping and dancing and in the mood to celebrate with you. Really a fabulous addition to this wedding.  Well done!

Favorite DIY Detail

Elsa / Wedding Gown

Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

Hands down, this is the apex of the DIY wedding detail. Elsa completely created her own custom wedding dress (!) and managed to perfectly merge her “something old” and “something new” into a spectacular wedding day look that was both meaningful and absolutely stunning.  Elsa wore two dresses on her wedding day — one for her ceremony and then she changed into a lovely Marchesa gown with gold lace overlay for the reception. Her unique and stunning ceremony gown is an incredibly moving nod to her beloved grandmothers, who have both passed away. She figured out an amazing way to have a part of them with her on her special day. Her maternal grandmother — Louise — wore a beautiful satin Priscilla of Boston dress from the 1940’s for her own wedding, that Elsa’s mother also wore to her wedding years later.  Elsa also had her other grandmother’s wedding dress and with luck, both were made from a matching heavyweight cream satin that could be worked together to create a brand new dress! Elsa’s grandmother taught her to sew growing up, and she’d usually make one dress or outfit a year in her spare time. She even made a friend’s wedding dress! Elsa knew deep in her heart, creating her own wedding dress was the absolutely perfect way to honor both of her grandmothers, and add that unique special detail to her wedding day that was truly a reflection of herself.

It was important to Elsa and Zach that the details they had in their wedding had meaning, so they also designed their own rings using family heirloom pieces and crafted their ceremony to reflect what was unique to them.  But Elsa didn’t stop there! In addition to making her own dress, she ended up making her Maid of Honor Susi’s dress as well (!!).  You can read more about Elsa and David’s beautiful wedding day here on the BLOG.

Favorite Overall Look: Bride

Shamin / Caroline Herrera / Stuart Weitzman / Heirloom Emeralds

Photo by Siobhan Byrne 

Head to toe, Shamin without question was an absolutely exquisite bride. We completely fell in love with her look that perfectly matched the setting and tone for her dream wedding day at Bellinter House this year.  The Caroline Herrera gown was perfectly suited for her silhouette and she wore it beautifully. She accessorized with a gorgeous lace detailed Caroline Herrera veil, the perfect sandals, hair and make-up perfect, Twigs & Honey headpiece was a perfect touch, and the jewelry was impeccable. Probably our favorite jewelry we saw this year, this emerald set was her “something borrowed” and it perfectly accented her overall look. It was a classic and elegant look with a modern gown that really worked. Just beautiful.  The claddagh ring and her gorgeous aquamarine engagement ring completed the look. It was just simply stunning.

Favorite Dress: Bride

Brittany / Lisdonagh House

Photos by Darek Novak 

We saw some really lovely dresses this year and this category was supremely difficult to pick. But Brittany’s dress we loved because it echoed part of what getting married in Ireland is all about: confidence, fun, adventure, elegance, and uniqueness.  We love this long-sleeved dress (and wish we’d see more of them!), and the rosette gown is comfortable but has such lovely romantic movement. Looking through the pictures it was delightful to see how comfortable Brittany was in her dress and how much fun she had with it, moving around the venue and taking pictures. It really added another layer to the photos and is a good reminder that brides need to pick their dresses on how they feel in them as much as how they look. We loved the emerald green shoes and hairpiece accent as well.  More on Brittany’s wedding very soon!

Favorite Shoes

Kelly / Rachel Simpson

Photo by  Paula O’Hara

We love shoes at Waterlily Weddings so we needed a category as well. We saw some really fantastic pairs from various designers and price points, but really stood out instantly were these Rachel Simpson pumps Kelly wore for her elopement. The scalloped detail, the shade of blue, the vintage style are really eye-catching and charming and just lovely. They echoed her look perfectly and honestly I’d design a style shoot around these shoes I love them so much.

Favorite Overall Look: Groom

Karl / Tuxedo

Spencer  / Tweed Suit

Photos by Siobhan Byrne (Karl) & Awake & Dreaming Photography (Spencer) 

This was another really hard category to score this year. And in the end it was a total tie between two of our favorite classic looks for grooms getting married in Ireland: a tuxedo and Irish tweed 3-piece suit.  Many of our grooms were smartly dressed this year so choosing our top favorites was really, really challenging actually! That said, we love Karl’s look in a classic tuxedo. Clean lines, form-fitted silhouette matched the tone of his bride Shamin’s look perfectly. Together they made the perfect picture at Bellinter House.  For a more casual look we loved Spencer’s tweed suit. We love he chose brown — not a popular choice for grooms — which was a nice change of pace and really worked against Newtown’s background and the Irish countryside that time of year. We love the burgundy textured tie, and we love the sweet boutonniere that matched his equally lovely bride Hayley’s bouquet. We also love how he personalized his suit by having it embroidered with their wedding date. Both grooms, very well done. And we hope to see more of these styles in 2018!

Favorite Overall Look: Bridal Party

Stacie & Ralph / Waterford Castle / Maid of Honor & Best Man

Photos by Shane O’Neill, Aspect Photography

We saw some really lovely ensembles for bridal parties this year but this small duo instantly stood out for us. They both look at once elegant and handsome, but also adorable and just…perfect. Even more we love Stacie and Ralph’s emotional reaction to seeing their kids dressed up and grown up made us love the look even more.  The colors, the accessories, everything is age-appropriate and still complimentary to mom and dad (bride and groom). Well done!

Favorite Accessory / Gift / Special Touch

Shamin & Karl / Bellinter House / Personalized Necklaces for Bridesmaids

Photo by Siobhan Byrne

We love thoughtful and unique gifts and Shamin took it next level with her gifts to her bridesmaids this year. Everyone got customized necklaces with their name written in Farsi in different shades of gold, rose gold, and silver to remember her wedding by. This meaningful gift is a perfect way to celebrate and remember her Persian-Irish wedding day and we love it!  For more check out the blog post here.

Thank You 2017!

From coast to castles, it was our honor to help plan and produce these incredible dream destination weddings, elopements, and vow renewals in Ireland. We’re looking forward to working with some new venues and talented vendors, revisiting some of our favorite spots, and have some surprises up our sleeve we can’t wait to unveil to you very soon! This year was epic and full of adventure, beauty, and lots of merging together of different cultures and traditions. We cannot wait to see what 2018 has in store for us!  Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit! Happy New Year!

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USA: 443-517-9870
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Ireland & United States