Birdies galore as Rory and Erica chill before wedding
Rory McIlroy and his fiancee Erica Stoll got up close and personal with a bunch of birdies as they marked their final day as singletons.
Golf ace Rory (27) and Erica (29) arranged for a special falconry display on the sprawling grounds of Ashford Castle in Cong, Co Mayo, ahead of their lavish wedding there today.
Specially trained falcons - and an extremely rare trained owl - swept around the couple in an impressive exhibition of the medieval sport.
The highlight was having the owl sweep between the golfer and his US-born fiancee as they stood facing each other less than a metre apart.
On Thursday, the Co Down-born sports star indulged in clay pigeon shooting with some friends on the luxurious 360-acre estate.
Throughout yesterday, a fleet of limousines, jeeps and helicopters swept into Cong with guests.
The wedding in the 13th century castle will be a Who's Who of the Irish social world, with the 200-plus guests being entertained by US pop star Stevie Wonder.
Ashford Castle's award-winning executive chef, Philippe Farineau, has created a menu to showcase the very best of organic food, specially designed to reflect the best of Mayo and Ireland and ranging from Atlantic wild salmon to venison, beef and lamb.
A spectacular €50,000 fireworks display will also be staged tonight.
Wedding guests include One Direction star Niall Horan and Rory's Ryder Cup teammates Padraig Harrington, Paul McGinley and Shane Lowry.
A special guest will be newly-crowned US Masters champion Sergio Garcia.
Coldplay's Chris Martin and singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran are tipped to be there, but they had not arrived last night.
Guests have also been assured that they can celebrate the wedding in absolute privacy, with security as tight as when US president Ronald Reagan visited in 1984.
Rory's security chief Brian Murphy, who works with U2, was supervising arrangements.