[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 2 October 2006, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Wedding bells for Lord of Dance star
When Michael Flatley walks up the aisle later this month, a Belfast priest will be conducting the nupitals.

Father Aidan Troy, a priest in Ardoyne, is to officiate at the wedding ceremony for the former Riverdance star and his Irish fiance Niamh O'Brien.

Michael Flatley
Lord of the Dance broke box office records

The setting will be Flatley's plush castle in Fermoy, County Cork on 14 October.

Father Troy, who came to media attention during a loyalist protest at a Catholic primary school in Ardoyne in 2001, has been an acquaintance of the Lord of the Dance star for many years.

"At the beginning of the summer when he announced his engagement, he sent word and asked me would I meet him and his bride to be," Father Troy told BBC Radio Ulster.

"We met in a Dublin hotel and asked me would I do the wedding.

"I immediately suggested that he would have to approach the local priest to see what his view was.

"To cut a long story short, he said he wanted me, and his bride Niamh O'Brien said that that would be great with her."

So why was the Belfast priest chosen?

Father Troy joked that it was certainly "not for my dancing".

Father Troy
Father Aidan Troy is to perform the wedding ceremony

"We struck up an acquaintanceship that we kept," he added. "We weren't in contact every day obviously, but we did keep in contact on occasion" he said.

Father Troy described Flatley's wife-to-be as a "shy, very lovely girl", who had also danced with Riverdance.

He said he spent the day with Niamh, who is from County Meath, at the wedding venue.

Wedding nerves

"She's a very, very delightful person, very focussed on what she's going to do and I found that she was the one who is doing so much of the work with regard to the... Mass. I have had a number of conversations with her on the telephone," he said.

"We had to make sure that we'd remember that this is a church wedding. There is a lot of talk about it and I understand that.

"But it is about two people getting married. That's where my involvement genuinely comes in."

Flatley, now 48, helped launch the legend of the Irish dancing spectacle, Riverdance, after performing at the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin.

He was a multi-millionaire by the time he left Riverdance after a concert in London on 25 July 1998.

He carried on dancing, taking his Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames tours around the world.

Father Troy said the global superstar was a "terribly, terribly nice person", who had asked him to bless his castle.

But he also revealed that Flatley was suffered from pre-wedding nerves.

"He hasn't, he said, attended that many weddings and it seemed strange for me when I was down in Cork doing the rehearsal with him and Niamh O'Brien.

"He said: 'Where do I stand, do I look up towards the altar, do I look back down?' And really in ways it was almost hilarious. Here was somebody who is world famous and when it came to his own wedding genuinely, I would say he is so nervous."

Flatley counter-sues rape accuser
07 Mar 03 |  Entertainment
Flatley hangs up his shoes
30 Jul 01 |  Entertainment
Flatley turns up the heat at Stormont
30 Jul 00 |  Northern Ireland
Riverdance claim settled
23 Aug 99 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific