In terms of venues my number one choice right now is Dunseverick Castle. It's really only a few ruins, but is a medieval castle dating back to the 5th century. St. Patrick is rumored to have visited Dunseverick Castle on several occasions. It's located right on the Antrim coast and looks a bit more isolated, which I think will be best for reciting our vows. One of my fears of having our ceremony in a public place is obnoxious tourists ruining it for us! (I'm more worried about that than I am about the 90% chance of rain).
The next choice on my list is Dunluce Castle. It's also a medieval castle and also located on the Antrim coast. This one we were actually able to walk the grounds of while we were in Ireland. The only problem with this one is it's a huge tourist attraction.
For both Dunseverick and Dunluce castles we need to get permission from the National Trust in order to have our ceremony on their sites. I'm in the process of contacting them right now. If that falls through then Belfast Castle is my back up. It's not quite as old and over grown as I would like. It doesn't over look the sea. However, it is still very pretty and the gardens are beautiful.
If anyone has any suggestions, I would love to hear them! We are trying to stay close enough to Belfast so that Roibeard's family can attend the ceremony.
Since the two medieval castles are not licensed venues if we choose them as our ceremony sight we will have to wed at city hall first (to make it official) then have a "symbolic ceremony" on the ocean. Belfast Castle is licensed so if we marry there we don't have to worry about city hall.
In terms of a reception we're planning on a favo(u)rite pub of Roibeard's family's that's located in Belfast itself.
Okay, let the planning begin!