The Level 5 lockdown could not stop one elderly Offaly couple from getting married more than 40 years after they first met.

Rhode farmer John Bermingham, 86, and his long-time love Mary Long, 83, exchanged vows in the civil marriage registration room in Tullamore Health Centre yesterday.

The marriage was witnessed by John's daughter Carolyn Bermingham and her husband John Fitzgerald, who travelled from their home in Holycross, Co Tipperary for the ceremony.

The only other people to attend the intimate wedding were Carolyn and John's twin daughters, Robbyn and Alison.

John Bermingham grew up in Terenure, Dublin and his father Jack, an Offaly native, played rugby for Ireland in 1921.

The groom later moved to Ballybryan, Rhode and became well-known locally as an expert horseman.

Happy bride Mary, originally from Turner's Cross, Cork city, was a Dublin-based beauty consultant and keen swimmer in her younger days and was delighted to style up for her day out.

Carolyn Bermingham said it had been the pair's wish for a long time to get married, but they had difficulty with the paperwork.

"They're old and I knew they wanted to do this," she said.

"Nowadays everything is online and on the internet and they just couldn't manage it. They were overwhelmed by the whole bureaucracy of it and they found it very impersonal."

She was very grateful for the help of the marriage registration service in Tullamore and despite the Covid-19 restrictions, the ceremony went well.

For their part, the newly married couple shrugged off the Covid-19 restrictions, but John did quip afterwards: "It's a pity we all can't go for a drink."