Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy splashes the cash as he ties knot with Erica at lavish wedding

By Ralph Riegel

Golfer Rory McIlroy (27) exchanged wedding vows with his American fiancee Erica Stoll (29) in an intimate ceremony at a picturesque church on the grounds of a 13th Century Irish castle.

The couple married in St Mary's Church in the Ashford Castle estate in County Mayo on Saturday, and within sight of the beautiful River Cong.

The scenic church was built by the Guinness family for their personal use and is surrounded by woodland.

It's understood Holywood star Rory and his new bride spent their first night as a married couple in a lavish £3,000-a-night suite at the luxury hotel in the 13th century castle.

The couple were brought to the wedding in a vintage blue Mercedes limousine decked out in white flowers.

More than 200 guests attended the sumptuous wedding which is understood to have cost the Co Down-born golfer between £208,900 and £417,800 - with Ashford Castle and virtually all hotels and guest houses in nearby Cong completely booked out for the special event.

Among the many celebrities who gathered to share the couple's celebrations were One Direction star Niall Horan, Ryder Cup golfers Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Paul McGinley, fellow Northern Irish golfer Darren Clarke, Shane Lowry and Padraig Harrington, billionaire JP McManus and hotelier John Fitzpatrick.

US pop legend Stevie Wonder provided the wedding entertainment, together with a 15-piece orchestra.

The wedding meal featured up to 20 courses specially created by Ashford's executive chef, Philippe Farineau.

The newlyweds are believed to be planning a honeymoon at the plush Sandy Lane resort in Barbados.

The couple were so insistent on privacy throughout their stay that their advisors are believed to have devised an elaborate security operation which ranged from multi-perimeter patrols around the 13th Century castle by security guards, and the use of anti-drone technology developed in the battle against terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, to ensure there was no intrusion.

Drone Defence executives Liam Brady and Richard Gill said the technology deployed to prevent camera-equipped drones will shortly be used on a wide scale basis in Ireland and other European cities, for security purposes.

"This is the first time this kind of technology has been used here," Mr Brady said.

Mr Gill explained that their high-tech systems enable unsanctioned drones to be detected the instant they enter controlled airspace.

"The drones are then either taken under our control by special technology or else they are disabled by the use of a deployed net which brings them to the ground," he added.

The technology is shortly expected to be used for anti-drone security at major public gatherings across Ireland, and possibly also for protection at Irish airports.

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