Friday 30 September 2016

Peter finally pops the question 53 years after meeting Margaret

Alan O'Keeffe

Published 17/02/2016 | 06:25

Peter Hegarty and Margaret O'Neill both from Rathfarnham - who got engaged after 53 years of friendship
Peter Hegarty and Margaret O'Neill both from Rathfarnham - who got engaged after 53 years of friendship
Peter and Margaret share a kiss after their engagement
Peter Hegarty and Margaret O'Neill both from Rathfarnham - who got engaged after 53 years of friendship

A couple who have known each other for 53 years have announced their engagement.

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Peter Hegarty (70) and Margaret O'Neill (67) admitted their engagement has the feeling of a romantic fairytale.

Peter and Margaret share a kiss after their engagement
Peter and Margaret share a kiss after their engagement

They were friends as teenagers growing up in Dublin but fate decided they were destined to be apart for most of their lives.

Peter's family moved from Rathfarnham to Terenure when he was a boy. Margaret went to Loreto Secondary School in Crumlin and Peter went to Terenure College.

Margaret was part of a group of eight girls who were close friends at Templeogue Tennis Club while Peter was a member of a group of eight boys who were members of Terenure Rugby Club.

The two groups would meet up regularly and they would all travel down to a seaside caravan at Brittas Bay during the summers of 1962 and 1963. "We all had wonderful times during those summers," said Peter.

Peter Hegarty and Margaret O'Neill both from Rathfarnham - who got engaged after 53 years of friendship
Peter Hegarty and Margaret O'Neill both from Rathfarnham - who got engaged after 53 years of friendship

The two both married mutual friends from the groups and became parents. They ended up living more than 100 miles apart. As decades went by, they became grandparents.

Their original marriage relationships had come to an end as they separately went through the ups and downs of life. And they became free to form a new relationship.

Their friendship was rekindled at the funeral of a mutual friend. And Margaret admitted there was a feeling of "electricity" in their meeting.

But the pair did not meet again until the first anniversary of that funeral when they struck up a relationship.

The couple enjoyed seven happy years in a close relationship. Margaret, a mother of six, continued to live in Dublin. Peter, a father of four, had lived in Co Cork for years but he now lives in Crossafehin in Co Cavan.

But the story of their engagement is straight out of a movie.

"We went to a lunch and charity auction recently at Terenure Rugby Club. I saw a beautiful ring was being sold for the charity," said Peter.

"I said to Margaret 'If I get it for you, will you marry me?"

A surprised Margaret indicated she would. When his bid won, he took the ring and went down on one knee and proposed. Of course she said yes.

"The rest is history," said Margaret.

Their two grown-up families and 10 grandchildren have "blended" very well, she said.

Herald

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