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Clodagh McKenna discusses her Downton Abbey wedding as she films new series

Clodagh recently married Harry Herbert at Highclere estate, where he was born, and which was used as the set of Downton Abbey
Harry Herbert and Clodagh McKenna. Photo: Hugo Burnand.

Harry Herbert and Clodagh McKenna. Photo: Hugo Burnand.

Eoghan Moloney

Newlywed Irish chef and TV presenter Clodagh McKenna has confirmed she is currently filming a TV show touring Ireland and sampling some of the country’s finest scenery and tourist offerings.

The five-part series titled ‘Clodagh’s Ireland’ will air on ITV and features trips to seaweed baths, Bodhrán lessons, cookery classes at Ballymaloe, visiting tourist spots and, “capturing all the beautiful things about Ireland”.

“The weather was amazing, we started on a Monday in Inch Beach and it was 28 degrees. The crew were all over from the UK and were like, ‘oh my God, is this what Ireland is like all the time?’

“What I’d forgotten about Ireland, as I haven’t been home much throughout the pandemic, was the welcome and warmth from everyone around Ireland that we visited. I felt so proud. They couldn’t have done enough for us the whole time we were with them. People bringing us towels when we were swimming and one time we went swimming on a sweltering day and the local pub saw us and had pints of Guinness poured for us, we couldn’t believe it,” Clodagh said.

The Cork native recently married English aristocrat Harry Herbert at Highclere, the estate where he was born, and which was used as the set of Downton Abbey.

Among the famous guests were composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, actor Richard E. Grant, singer Imelda May, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

Harry’s three children Chloe, Francesca, and William were in attendance, along with his brother George Herbert, the current Earl of Carnarvon and his wife Lady Fiona Carnarvon, and 150 guests.

Imelda May sang at the church ceremony of the wedding and Clodagh said she had “one of the best voices in Ireland, if not the world”.

“It was the most amazing day. We weren’t sure if friends and family would be able to travel due to restrictions but luckily they were. We had Guinness being poured and Irish musicians so Ireland was well represented,” Clodagh said on the Ray D’Arcy show on RTÉ Radio 1 this afternoon.

Despite being one of Ireland’s renowned chefs, Clodagh said she felt no pressure to deliver on the food for her wedding.

The couple had an outdoor dining experience in a clearing in a woods in Broadspear, the couple’s home on Highclere estate.

“We just wanted it to be like people were having their supper at home and enjoying lovely food. We were able to fly over some lovely Irish produce such as Gubbeen cheese and Carlingford oysters,” Clodagh said.

The first instalment of ‘Clodagh’s Ireland’ will air on ITV this Thursday and will run weekly for five weeks.

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