Saturday 24 August 2019

Home is where the heart is

Friends first: Ronan Moore and Frances Haworth said 'I love you' after just three weeks together. They have just had a beautiful baby daughter, Esme: Photo: Gerry Mooney
Friends first: Ronan Moore and Frances Haworth said 'I love you' after just three weeks together. They have just had a beautiful baby daughter, Esme: Photo: Gerry Mooney

Andrea Smith

It was probably inevitable that Ronan Moore and Frances Haworth would end up meeting one day, considering they grew up around Trim, went to the same college and had mutual friends and similar interests. However, they only met over Christmas 2012 when both were introduced by one of those mutual friends in a local pub. They found they had an instant connection, particularly around a shared love of travelling, and chatted until 6am.

Frances then sent Ronan a Facebook request shortly afterwards, asking if he fancied going for a drink? He agreed, and while they really enjoyed each other's company, it was a platonic friendship initially as both were already dating other people. To complicate things further, Frances was working in Geneva and Ronan was considering teaching overseas for a year. Shortly afterwards, Frances decided to return home and Ronan's plan to work abroad fell through, which he says now was "serendipitous." During that time, both also became single, so they met up again and fell for one another almost instantly.

"Ronan is such a good person," says Frances. "I remember putting my arms around him and feeling so much love coming out of him. He's funny and intelligent and has a huge curiosity about the world. We had conversations that lasted for hours. We said, 'I love you' after just three weeks."

While most new couples might test the waters by going on a sun holiday for a week, Ronan and Frances went backpacking around Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and Albania for a month. They obviously didn't fall out as they came back and moved in together. Not ones to hang around, they got engaged last summer at home and were married four months ago.

Having booked their wedding date, they decided to start a family, presuming it would take a while to happen, but were surprised when Frances immediately became pregnant.

Consequently, she was seven-and-a-half months pregnant at the wedding ceremony in July, which made dress-shopping difficult.

"I was in denial about the dress and kept putting off getting it because I didn't know how big I'd be," she laughs, adding that she was already emotional because of the pregnancy.

"My sister Eleanor saw a white, maxi-dress in TK Maxx and sent it to me two weeks before the wedding. It wasn't even a wedding dress, but I got it altered and it looked great. I told my bridesmaids to wear whatever they wanted, but some of them were anxious about that, so we decided they would all wear something blue. In the end they all looked weirdly co-ordinated."

Ronan and Frances are quite casual and low-key. They really loved their outdoor, humanist wedding ceremony in front of over 100 family and friends. Even though it rained a little as Frances was preparing to walk up the aisle, it didn't dampen their spirits. A lot of their friends came from overseas and several pals DJed and played music.

"Frances looked beautiful and we were so relaxed," says Ronan. "She is super-intelligent, has her own opinions and isn't afraid to voice them and is strong but also genuine. She's a really good listener and people immediately warm to her as she makes everyone feel like they're the most special person in the room. She's really funny too and I love her sense of humour."

Born on Christmas Day, Frances, 33, comes in the middle of Anne-Marie's and Richard Haworth's three children. She boarded at Alexandra College in Dublin and studied English and classical civilisation at NUI, Galway, followed by a master's in English literature at Queen's in Belfast. She then worked as a volunteer in an orphanage in Moldova and with adults with disabilities in Romania, and lived in Uganda and Geneva. Having returned to Dublin, she now works with Trocaire as its major gifts officer.

Ronan, 36, comes third of Teresa's and Danny's four children and he studied English and history at NUI, Galway, followed by a master's in sustainable development at DIT, Bolton Street. He went to Nigeria for two years working with Trocaire on an internship, followed by some consultancy in Liberia. He then decided to do the H.Dip and change to teaching and is in his eighth year of teaching English and history at St Patrick's Classical School in Navan, an all-boys' school with 850 pupils.

"I love teaching and don't take myself too seriously," he says. "Teenage boys are very funny, and have plenty of energy about them."

Speaking of fun, Ronan's new book, Irishology, is out now and is making plenty of people smile. The idea arose when his brother Fintan was home from Australia two years ago and they got talking about the things you miss about Ireland when you're overseas. Ronan started a Facebook blog of reasons to love Ireland, which evolved into a book.

It asks who else but the Irish can perform minor miracles with a prayer to St Anthony or appreciate the medicinal purposes of flat 7Up? Not to mention the 'front room,' 'chipper chips' and the 'bad pint'. From things you'll only hear in Ireland to tips for surviving any social situation, Irishology is the ultimate warm, witty and irreverent guide to all things Irish.

Ronan and Frances are now the delighted parents of gorgeous Esme, who was born on September 24. They are also living in Frances' old home, an old Church of Ireland church that her parents bought and converted in 1983. Frances and Ronan bought the house from her parents, who now live across the road.

"Becoming parents has been fantastic, and Esme is an absolute dote," says Ronan. "She doesn't even really cry much. Frances is feeding her, so I'm like a glorified cheerleader. We spoke about kids and marriage quite quickly, maybe because we were a little older and had had a lot of experiences. I suppose, yes, we've packed a lot into three years and it has been a whirlwind, but in a really good way."

Irishology, published by Gill & McMillan, €10.99

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