Marie Louise McConville: First Holy Communion preparation begins

Abbie's First Holy Communion preparation began this week with a trip to find the perfect dress
Marie Louise McConville

They say one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is to make as many memories with them as you can.

From the moment they are born, we are told that the best thing we can do is spend time with them, laugh with them, encourage them and love them - gifts no new toy or games console can equal.

When I think back to my younger days I have many, many lovely memories but there are a few which really stand out such my First Holy Communion.

My parents had bought me a beautiful dress with a sparkly tiara and a really fancy parasol and I felt like a princess.

After a lovely meal, we had a day out in Newcastle where I used some of my communion money to buy a Rainbow Bright doll, which I just cherished.

Pure happiness.

A mere 36 years on, I now find myself preparing my daughter Abbie for her own First Holy Communion.

And I don't mind telling you that I don't feel ready at all.

With the event not due to happen until May, I had assumed it would be a while before we would actually have to do anything - how wrong I was.

Last weekend, Abbie, her daddy and myself paid our first visit to a Holy Communion boutique in west Belfast.

Based on the Falls Road, Wee Dotes for Big Days had announced on social media that the first of its new 2023 collections had arrived and we booked an appointment.

We walked into what can only be described as some kind of fairytale setting, where stunning gowns graced every corner and where sparkling accessories filled every shelf.

I lost my breath for a bit, before my nerves kicked in - how on earth would I know which one was right for her?

Thank goodness, there was a wonderful team on hand who just took over and swept Abbie away for some VIP treatment.

I had explained to the lovely ladies, the two Emmas and Joanna, that I wanted something simple, nothing OTT and something that would let her be the child she is.

Gowns in hand, my little lady had a ball trying them on and emerged each time looking beautiful and happy.

As the brilliant team fussed around Abbie, making her feel really special, she tried on one last gown I had just happened to lift off the rail.

My baby girl emerged a few minutes later in a dress which looked like it had been made just for her - and she was beaming.

Soon, it was ordered and plans were made and off we went, with gifted cupcakes from the team in hand.

Now she can't wait to start her Holy Communion preparation in school.

Despite knowing this day was coming for many years, I'm still not ready.

So now, I need to work out what I should wear.

I'm thinking white, puffy and sparkly.

What? Too much?


I will admit, when I first heard the idea, I wasn't that taken with it but now that I've actually watched the first few episodes, I've become a big fan of She Hulk.

In the new Disney+ series, She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Jennifer Walters, played by Tatiana Maslany, must balance her rising legal career with also turning into a green six foot seven inch super-powered hulk.

Of course, this doesn't help her life as a single 30-something and things get even more complicated when she finds herself having to specialise in superhuman-oriented legal cases.

Great show. Check it out.



It's September, so pull the curtains, get cosy on the sofa and settle down with a good book - how about an "absolutely brilliant" read?

The Legacy of Eve by Natasha Boydell as been described as "beautifully written"

Annie’s mother, Eve, died in childbirth 35 years ago.

Despite this profound loss, Annie’s made it to adulthood just fine.

She enjoys being an estate agent, she loves her partner Gabe and now, after two years of trying, she’s finally pregnant.

But as her pregnancy progresses, Annie grows anxious about what happened to her mother.

However, her quest for more information leads only to frustration.

When she comes across some clues to the past, they raise more questions than answers and Annie begins to wonder what’s real and what isn’t.

I have three copies of The Legacy of Eve to give away.

If you would like the chance to win a copy, simply email your name, address and telephone number – along with the answer to the question below – to

Closing date for entries is noon on Tuesday September 6.

(Q) Who wrote The Legacy of Eve?

Normal Irish News rules apply


The winners of the Reputation competition are Gertrude Fox, from Warrenpoint, Geraldine Farrell, from Newry, and Betty Atkinson, from Craigavon