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18-Year-Old Irish Girl Weds Her First Cousin

A young Irish girl either never heard the warnings about falling in love with your first cousins or simply chose to ignore them as she has announced that she will wed her first cousin and there will be over 70 “best men” there to witness the unusual event!

Chantelle Kielly, 18, who lives in Rathkeale, is marrying her first cousin Jim in a ceremony that the whole town is invited to.

Kielly and her cousin are what the locals call “travelers,” a group that over the years has less kindly referred to as “gypsies.” 

Traditionally traveler families from the town spend 10 months of the year traveling before returning in December for wedding season when there can be up to 10 ceremonies a week.

Chantelle and Jim are one of them, with the bride’s family securing the engagement by paying the groom’s family a dowry which ranges between $54,000 and $129,000. 

While looked down at rather unfavorably here in the States, it is perfectly legal to marry your cousin in the UK and Ireland, but there is still a bit of contention surrounding the morality.

But marrying cousins, even first cousins, is rather commonplace among traveler communities, and Chantelle and Jim wanted to celebrate with a ceremony that the town would never forget.

Chantelle wore a dress designed by traveler favorite Thelma Madine adorned with no less than 20,000 crystals.

The bride opted for no less than seven bridesmaids, but it was groom Jim who really went all out with 73 best men.

The couple, who featured on Channel 4’s “Big Fat Gypsy Weddings,” celebrated with a party the whole town was invited to, celebrating by cutting the bespoke Barbie cake.

Reflecting on the wedding, Madine said, “They are really nice people, the girls are very respectable. We always say the Irish travelers are like going back 50 years, but the Rathkeale girls are like going back 100 years.

“They’re all family, and I think that’s how they keep the wealth in Rathkeale because they just don’t let it go out.”