Belfast Telegraph

Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll set for five-star wedding at exclusive Irish castle

By Cate McCurry

Rory McIlroy and Erica Stoll are reportedly on course to marry at their favourite five-star castle in the Republic of Ireland.

The Co Down golfer is apparently eyeing up his dream wedding location at Ashford Castle in Co Mayo where he plans to celebrate their nuptials.

The world number three golfer from Holywood got engaged to the American last year.

The stunning blonde was first spotted with the huge sparkling ring at the Paddy Wallace Fund for Autism Christmas Ball in Titanic Belfast in December.

Rory and Erica have stayed at five-star Ashford Castle on a number of occasions before, and have spent New Year's Eve there for the past two years.

As one of Ireland's most exclusive wedding venues, the castle - which describes itself as Europe's most romantic hotel - is often seen in the pages of Vogue and Hello.

Other celebrities who celebrated their weddings at the medieval castle include actor Pierce Brosnan and Westlife singer Shane Filan.

The loved-up pair first met when Erica came to the golfer's rescue at the Ryder Cup at Medinah in October 2012.

The golfer mixed up his tee time and was only saved from disqualification after she noticed his error and arranged a police escort to the course.

Erica formerly worked for the Professional Golfers' Association of America and lives in Florida.

Speaking previously about their engagement, McIlroy said he popped the question in Paris and also described her as being a "calming presence".

"I wouldn't say I did it in the traditional way, no," he said. "We had planned to go to Paris since May; we were always going to go. Then what happened a few weeks before (terrorist attacks) made us unsure. But when we got there it felt great.

"People were just getting on with things and I thought (the proposal) might make the trip even better. So we went out for dinner and that was that. It was a special way to end the year."

Comparisons were inevitably drawn after McIlroy famously publicly broke off his engagement with Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki in 2014 after the wedding invites were sent out.

The Holywood man described his bride-to-be as a "very low-key person" and said she brings "such a level of normality to everything".

"Erica has obviously been around quite a lot, at tournaments this year, but we have really just tried to keep it low key," he said.

"Erica has a calming presence, a sereneness. She is a very low-key person, not the kind to broadcast stuff, but that side of my life is obviously, really good just now.

"We are excited, our parents are excited, so it is a really happy time.

"For me, Erica brings such a level of normality to everything. She has a calming presence.

"She has been a great influence on me and has given such a great balance to my life; between who I am when people see me out here and who I am at home.

"It is all about balance."

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