Lesbian couple make history with Tipperary’s first civil partnership

A 19 year-old Cashel woman and her partner made history last Friday when they became the first lesbian couple to form a civil partnership in Co. Tipperary.

A 19 year-old Cashel woman and her partner made history last Friday when they became the first lesbian couple to form a civil partnership in Co. Tipperary.

Wini (Winifred) Hannigan from Cashel and her 27 year-old girlfriend Pamela English from London made their vows and exchanged rings before registrar Mary Clare Heffernan and 70 family and friends in the civil ceremony at Raheen House, Clonmel.

The couple met just over a year and a half ago in The Piper Inn pub in Clonmel while Pamela was visiting the town on holidays.

“We decided to form a civil partnership as it is the only way gay people can be recognised as a couple. We fell head over heels in love straight away so why not,” said Wini.

“The registrar told us we were the first lesbian couple to enter into a civil partnership in Co. Tipperary and we are very honoured to be the first.”

Wini explained that the civil partnership ceremony was very similar to a civil marriage ceremony between a man and woman. The only difference was they weren’t allowed to call each other wife, which they were both disappointed about.

The couple wore matching black pants and waistcoats for the occasion with Wini opting for a purple shirt and black tie while Pamela chose a black shirt with cuff link and black tie with large red poka dots.

The ceremony was attended by their closest family including Wini’s mother Margaret and Pamela’s parents Rita and John, who are orginally from Clonmel, and her sister Lily and brother Derek.

After the ceremony, Wini and Pamela and their guests retired to The Outback Pub on Clonmel’s Davis Road for a celebration that included a buffet meal and a disco with Wini acting as DJ playing the couple’s favourite music.

Wini said they wished to thank their family and friends for all their help and support and Duggans Jewellers in Clonmel for the gift of identity bracelets.

The couple plan to live in Cashel.