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Last Updated: Monday, 29 December, 2003, 13:28 GMT
Westlife star's lavish wedding
Gillian Walsh and Shane Filan
The pair were engaged in Dubai last year

Westlife singer Shane Filan has been celebrating his marriage to his childhood sweetheart at one of Ireland's most exclusive hotels.

Shane wed Gillian Walsh at historic Ballintubber Abbey in County Mayo on Sunday.

They later celebrated along with more than 350 guests in the lakeside splendour of the nearby Ashford Castle hotel.

It was reported that Shane had popped the question while he and Gillian were on holiday together in Dubai last year.

His elder brother Finbar acted as best man at the ceremony in Ballintubber, which dates back to the 13th century, and was once left a wreck by the army of Oliver Cromwell.

Horse-drawn coach

The event marked the first Westlife wedding since last summer's occasion in a French village, when Nicky Byrne married Georgina, one of Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern's two daughters.

It was reported that the couple had struck a $1m (622,000) deal with celebrity magazine Hello! to cover the ceremony.

About 200 of Westlife's noisy, but devoted following stood in the cold weather outside the Abbey on Sunday to catch a glimpse of the band and cheer them into and out of the church.

Like his bride, Shane was dressed in white and the happy couple arrived for the ceremony in a white, horse-drawn coach.

BBC NI's Sharon Ferguson:
"Over 200 fans also braved the cold weather for a glimpse of the happy couple"

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