Wednesday 28 June 2017

'I searched for mum and got a whole family' - First Dates Paul treats viewers to heartwarming adoption story

Paul Holly, who travelled to Dublin looking for love
Paul Holly, who travelled to Dublin looking for love

Jennifer O'Brien

Viewers on last night's First Dates Ireland were treated to the heart-warming story of Paul Holly, who was given up for adoption as a child but later established a strong relationship with his biological parents.

The 34-year-old came up to Dublin's Gibson Hotel on a warm summer evening last August, hoping to find love in front of a full production team and television cameras.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he admitted producers of the show "definitely" got it right when it came to matching him with Katie, but long distance was to come between them.

Paul applied to the series "for a bit of craic", but admitted he was also seeking out a potential long-term partner.

Paul was matched with Katie
Paul was matched with Katie

Amid media reports that contestants had been offered a few drinks before going on air, he said: "I had one beforehand and left it at that. I didn't want to make an ass of myself on national television."

He said workers on the show immediately put him at ease.

Viewers of the hit RTÉ reality dating series saw Paul quickly hit it off with Katie, who had been waiting for him at the 'First Dates' bar.

"It was kind of like any other date really, she was a lovely, lovely girl and really easy to talk to from the off," he said.

"I had expected it to be strange, but it was really pretty normal."

But when Katie asked Paul about his family and whether he had any siblings, the intriguing story of his adoption began to unfold. In 2009 and with the help of the Adoption Board in Cork and the support of his adoptive parents, Paul set about finding his biological mother.

"Not only did I find my mother, I realised she had married my biological father and as if that wasn't enough, I had two brothers and a sister too," Paul revealed. "I set out to look for my mother and found an entire new family."

His biological mother and father emigrated to Chicago in the late 1980s and have lived there since.

Paul, who owns Southern Tree Services in Cork, now meets them regularly. As for his date with Katie, the distance was a bit too much.

They agreed to meet again and went for a drink after the show, but it didn't develop from there.

"My previous two relationships were long distance and I promised myself that I would never again get involved in a long-distance relationship.

"The whole experience of 'First Dates' was fantastic. The possibility of meeting the woman of your dreams was too hard to resist. I've been long enough looking for her."

Irish Independent

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