I married Rita on 14 June 1997.

On that day, my wife and I enjoyed the company of friends and family, a few of whom no longer breathe. The weather was cloudy with sunny spells, a little oasis of sunshine in an otherwise rainy week.

Twenty years later, my wife and I headed off to a favourite hotel in Ballina, County Mayo, to celebrate our anniversary.

On the day we drove on a coastal route known as the Wild Atlantic Way. The weather was the same as the day we married. This time though, we were alone, just the two of us and that’s all that mattered.

Along the narrow roads, we discovered the Lacken Strand. The beach is endless. I’d never seen a beach as long or as empty. We parked on the sand and went for a walk.

In 1798, the year of one of many rebellions in Ireland, a contingent of 200 French army men came ashore to help the rebellion leaders fight the British. General Humbert marched his men across the strand to Ballina.

But on 14 June 2017, my wife and I had the whole beach to ourselves. The sand, the sky, the wind and the companionship were perfect. Being there together was beautiful. We walked, talked and enjoyed a perfect moment in time.