WHEN Mallow woman, Mairead deBlaca and Brendan Doyle from Kilkenny both took a swipe in the right direction, it was a done deal.
But there were a few stipulations before love blossomed into moonlight and roses.
“I was never going to be Mrs Doyle!” says jewellery-maker, Mairead, 48.
“And I was never going to move to Kilkenny!”
Six months after tying the knot in Longueville House, Mallow, the couple are still in the first flush of love.
“We are still in the honeymoon period!” says Mairead.
“I would highly recommend marriage to everybody.”
Where has Brendan disappeared to?
“He’s gone to collect my mother from the hairdresser’s,” replies Mairead.
Brendan is a real gem.
“He sure is,” Mairead agrees.
At 40-plus, Mairead said ‘never say never’ when it came to finding love.
“I didn’t rule out internet dating,” says Mairead, who lived and worked in Washington and the Middle East for various companies for six years before coming back to Ireland.
“Some of my friends had tried it and I was curious.”
Did she get asked the age-old question when she was single, back on home ground?
“Is there any man with you?” I say.
“Yes, I did. Often!” says Mairead laughing.
“Or; you must be focusing on your career!”
Mairead was young, free, and single. And talented.
“The area I work in, arts and crafts, is very women orientated,” says Mairead.
“I dabbled in the dating scene, dated a few guys, but I didn’t fancy any of them. Then, as I got a bit older; I didn’t have the energy.”
Mairead decided to go where 20 billion matches have been made to-date, Tinder, which is one of the world’s most popular dating sites.
“I didn’t take it that seriously,” admits Mairead.
“My attitude was, no strings, no pressure, and see what happens. Go on a dinner date; have a bit of chit-chat. How bad can it be?
“My curiosity was aroused when pals spoke about meeting people on the internet. So I gave it a go.”
Cupid didn’t strike straight away.
“I met a lot of nice men,” says Mairead.
“We’d have a conversation, go Dutch, and then go our separate ways.
“I thought going on different dates would offer different experiences and even be amusing.”
Her dates didn’t always match up.
“I have to say I met some really nice respectable men, nobody mean or rude,” says Mairead.
“A lot of them were middle-aged and a lot of them seemed sad which made me sad. Some had hobbies, others didn’t. Some of them were widows with nice jobs with their children reared.”
Some were boring.
“Yes, there were a few of them!” confesses Mairead.
“I just found that at a certain stage of life, some people seemed disillusioned or tired with life in general.”
So there was no spark?
“I thought; why go on dates? I’m only passing the time, and it wasn’t fair on the men I met.”
All is fair in love and war.
“I knocked five years off my age,” says Mairead.
“If I hadn’t, we’d never have matched up, Brendan and I.
“Brendan’s preferred age range was between 36 and 41.
“We both swiped right, in the same direction. I liked his picture. And we got talking.”
The conversation started.
“He was from Kilkenny,” says Mairead.
But she liked him, warts and all?
“We had great banter about the Cork/Kilkenny hurling rivalry. I liked Brendan’s funky, quirky humour. He’s into sport, rugby and hurling and he likes the theatre.”
She liked what she saw.
“When I met him, I fancied him,” recalls Mairead.
“He was funny and we got on great, teasing each other and slagging. It was easy, with no effort.
“Our first date was on Valentine’s Day, 2015. He brought me to an Italian restaurant, Manifesto, in Rathmines.”
Mairead was impressed.
Had she measured him up for the ring?
“I told my friend after our first date; ‘I’m going to marry him!’”
Was Brendan keen to marry a cougar?
“He was 18 months younger than me, so I was technically a cougar,” says Mairead.
Soon, Brendan was a devoted cub.
“He met my mother, Mary, three or four months later. She liked him very much. They had the bit of banter together. Brendan was a bit nervous and a bit stressed beforehand, but it was all good. Dad, who passed away seven years ago, would have loved Brendan,” says Mairead.
“When I met Brendan’s family, there was no awkwardness; they are nice people.”
Brendan wanted to shout his love from the rooftops. He went down on one knee and proposed at a friend’s BBQ.
“Friends dropped hints about a ‘day out’,” says Mairead. “I asked Brendan ‘have you a question to ask me?’ He’d say ‘yes, would you go and get me a Diet Coke!’”
When he asked her to marry him, Mairead thought Brendan was having a laugh.
“He dashed out from the BBQ party and he bought me a promise ring,” says Mairead. “I was shocked when I realised he was for real.”
She designed her own real wedding ring, a simple solitaire set in white gold.
“We got married in Longueville House, on the most perfect day, August 29, 2018. It was a small, intimate wedding. The Yanks who travelled from the States lived in Longueville House for four days! They loved it. We honey-mooned in South Africa which was idyllic.”
Mairead and Brendan are loving life. The honeymoon continues.
“I would say to people, be open to internet dating. Don’t take it too seriously and view it as a bit of casual fun.”
And see what happens?
“Exactly!” says Mairead, heading off into the Mallow sunset with the two loves of her life, Mum, Mary, and Brendan, her husband.