... but romance with Anna is still blooming for shy guy Bertie
Published 20/06/2010 | 05:00
It is an autumn romance and one that is standing the test of time.
Through all the ups and downs, through the tumultuous end to his political career, former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has had a steadfast companion.
And when it came to the low-key marriage of his cherished daughter Cecelia it was Anna Bogle who was at his side.
The couple have always been close and Bertie was best friends with her husband Brian, who died following a battle with cancer in 2003.
When he parted from Celia life must have been lonely for the former Taoiseach who, despite his hail-fellow-well-met public persona, is, at heart, a shy and retiring man.
But he struck up a romance with Anna in 2004 and it stepped up a gear over time -- leading her to take pride of place at functions such as his annual fundraising dinner.
Speaking about Anna, a healthcare worker based in Ballymun, late last year he said: "Anna Bogle is one of my very good friends and has been a friend of mine since 1978. She is a great person. We do go out together and we have been seen together. There is no secret about that."
He continued: "She is part of our group. She does a bit of work for me. She wouldn't be part of the so-called Drumcondra group but she would help out."
Friends describe her as "poles apart" from Bertie's former girlfriend Celia Larkin.
"They are like chalk and cheese," said a source. "They would have known of each other and socialised in the same circles but that was it.
"When Celia and Bertie broke up, he would have been careful not to be too brash about his new relationship. Because they were all from the same circle, he knew where to draw the line.
"It raised a couple of eyebrows at the time but I think people have gotten over the surprise of it all now."
The pals can often be seen drinking together in their favourite pub, the Beaumont House, on Saturday nights. They also regularly go to Fagan's pub in Drumcondra for drinks on a Tuesday night.
Bertie had reportedly promised his close friend Brian that he would take care of Anna after his death.
After he had split from Celia, Bertie began to invite Anna to functions and GAA matches but even though friends insisted the relationship was platonic, romance blossomed. They were first snapped together at a Neil Diamond concert in 2005.
They have reportedly gone on several romantic breaks, including a trip to Cape Town, South Africa.