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Wednesday 17 September 2014

The first kiss is the sweetest

Joe Donnelly

Published 10/02/2013 | 06:00

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Virginia Macari
TV presenter Lorraine Keane

As Valentine's Day approaches, Joe Donnelly asks seven celebrities to share the story of their first smooch with their loved one.

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Lorraine Keane

Television presenter

I met my husband, Peter, when I interviewed him for TV3; yes, how unprofessional!

I'm not sure it was love at first sight, but there was definitely something at first sight. He obviously felt the same – although he denies it – because the next day he sent me tickets to his gig in the Olympia, and in the envelope was a ticket to The Devlins' aftershow party.

Colin, his brother and lead singer in the band, later told me no journalists were ever invited to their aftershow parties, but Peter decided to break the rule because he wanted to see me again.

Myself and my pal Ali – who was a huge fan of the band and the whole reason I had interviewed them in the first place – went to the gig and aftershow party, but spent the whole night chatting with a bunch of lads and their girlfriends at the bar.

I didn't see Peter at the party until we were leaving. He said he had been looking for me and assumed that I hadn't come. He invited us to the 'after-aftershow' party – the inner sanctum for close friends and family only – in their house.

Without hesitation, we boarded the tour bus, but for the entire journey, Peter was engrossed in conversation with another girl. Was I imagining it or did I keep catching him looking over to where we were sitting?

It wasn't until we got to the house party that I felt maybe he was interested after all. He was very attentive, he introduced me to his friends (one of them was the girl on the bus – a long-time family friend – phew!) and made sure we were okay for drinks. So he was a gentleman; of that I was sure.

However, he had just come off a 12-month tour of the United States and he is a musician, so I wasn't sure just what he might be interested in.

We partied all night and when I went to leave, he walked me to the door. That's when we kissed. I'll never forget it. Ali always used this term 'thunderbolts'. Suddenly, I knew what she had been talking about all these years.

She always said the only way you know it's true love is if there are thunderbolts when you kiss. Honestly, I got a fright because it had never happened to me. It was quite scary because I wasn't really sure he felt the same way.

He invited me to stay (of course he did). I declined (of course I did). I really did decline, not because I wanted to, but because I knew I had to play this right and do everything correctly. This was true love.

It worked. One date led to another, and we were married three years later. And yes, I still get those thunderbolts!

Jarlath Regan

Comedian

I first kissed my wife outside UCD's student bar on February 17, 2000. She had always been 'that girl' who I saw everywhere. In my melodramatic 20s and in the vastness of UCD, I always thought that the coincidence of seeing her again and again was a sign.

On this particular night, I had resolved to at least introduce myself. Like all the greatest Irish love stories, I had loaded up on Dutch courage but still couldn't summon the bravery.

At 11.25pm, she headed for the door and, like a lunatic, I put down a full pint and literally gave chase while my friends burst themselves laughing. When I got to her I explained, with the brutal honesty that only intoxication can provide, how many times I had seen her and how I thought this must mean something.

But you know when you say something out loud and you realise how mental it sounds in that moment? Well, luckily for me, we were both as mental as each other, and our first kiss happened there and then.

We got married in 2009 and had our first child two years ago. He's already carrying on the melodramatic family tradition.

Bobby Kerr

'Dragons' Den' presenter and businessman

I met my good wife Mary at a Halloween party when we were both at college in DIT. We enjoyed our first kiss in the beautiful setting of a GAA pitch in north Dublin somewhere.

It was a fancy dress party and I was dressed as a Hawaiian girl with two half-coconuts as boobs. It wasn't the most romantic of situations.

I'm still trying to work out what she saw in me and how we are still together 32 years later.

Kevin Gildea

Comedian

The first kiss I shared with my wife was the night we first met. It was at the circus. My wife was a trapeze artist and I was in the audience looking for excitement. My wife asked for a volunteer from the audience and I found myself putting my hand up. Fifty feet up, my wife winked at me and said: "Let's try a quadruple twist-loop; it's never been done before." There was something about her eyes that made me trust her completely.

Thirty seconds later, I was lying unconscious on the ground. I eventually came to and found my wife giving me the kiss of life.

Every year we celebrate the anniversary of that first kiss by going into the attic for a bit of hanky panky, which is a low-risk trapeze move.

Ken Doherty

Former snooker world champion

Sarah and I are married 11 years. We met 13 years ago on November 5, which is my dad's birthday, coincidentally. She's a psychiatrist, and I'm always getting slagged with people saying I was her first patient.

We met in Café en Seine in Dublin. I was up at the bar and it was at least three deep. She was behind me and I turned around and said, "You're going to need a step ladder". She's not very tall so it wasn't exactly the best opening line.

I went back to the lads and told them I'd made a fool of myself. Eventually, I decided to go find her and apologise. Luckily, she hadn't taken any offence at all.

We then went on to a nightclub and, because she wasn't drinking, she kindly dropped me home. So our first kiss was in her car outside my house. And the rest is history.

Helen Steele

Artist and designer

I asked Stuart out on a first date to a Lebanese place on Parliament Street in Dublin for dinner. He ended up having to park my car because I couldn't get it into this tiny parking space. We went for a few drinks after and I had one too many and blabbed utter crap, then fell asleep and woke up in Subway with my head in a pile of chips.

Our first kiss was in Cafe en Seine and it made my head spin, but in a good way. We started going out in February, were engaged by March and married in June, which is pretty crazy.

helensteele.com

Don Conroy

Author and naturalist

I met my wife Gay while rehearsing for a production of 'The Playboy of the Western World', which was running in the Eagle House Theatre in Glasthule, Co Dublin. The theatre is now sadly not in use, but it has been replaced by a nice Indian restaurant.

The production started its run with myself playing Christy Mahon and Gabriel Byrne playing my father, Old Mahon. My romantic eyes were supposed to be set on Peigin Mike – played by my good friend, Imelda Collins.

However, one of the actors playing a village girl in the play was a very attractive young woman from Greystones who had moved up to live in Rathmines. I lived in Donnybrook at the time.

One night, she offered me a lift home because there was a bus strike. She was driving none other than a Honda 50.

We started to become friends and I began to take a lift regularly, and one night, after I got off the back of the bike, we had a goodnight kiss.

Almost 40 years later, we're happily married with five children, four children-in-law, two grandchildren and a third grandchild due this month.

Virginia Macari

Designer

I was sent on a press trip on 2007 to Oslo to write an article about Oslo Fashion Week and I met up with some Norwegian friends. They were always talking about this amazing guy called Kaste who was happening to join us for dinner in my favourite sushi restaurant there one night. I'll never forget the moment he walked in and I turned to meet him. That's when I fell in love with him. It was definitely love at first sight.

He always tells me it was the same for him. He asked me that evening to go on a date and of course I accepted. The next day, on our first date, he took me for – wait for it – a massage in a wonderful place called Dragonfly and then for a romantic dinner in a beautiful restaurant that was a converted convent.

We just stared at each other all night across the table. We didn't kiss that night but the next night he took me to a MTV Music Video Party in Oslo.

When he drove me home, he leaned over and kissed me at the front door and I let him. I was terrified and nervous at first but I do remember it being warm, slow, embracing, sexy and strong. I could feel my heart beating fast. Definitely a confident man, I thought! Definitely a keeper.

We have been together for six years ever since that night and now we have a cute little boy together. I really believe that the love and friendship we have is very rare and I cherish every moment.

Kas proposed to me on a gondola in the lake in Central Park, New York in May last year. We can't wait to get married in Italy but want to wait until our little son Thor is able to walk up the aisle with our rings.

Irish Independent

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