Saturday 24 February 2018

'I felt like I was robbed' - Gemma's First Date turned out to be a second date with Mark

Dublin really is too small...

Gemma and Mark on First Dates Ireland
Gemma and Mark on First Dates Ireland

New RTE blind-dating series First Dates Ireland spent months searching for perfect matches.

But they got more than they bargained for when Dubliners Gemma Byrne and Mark Casey turned up at the Gibson Hotel - only to realise that they had already dated before.

It was not a case of second date, second chance for Sandymount native Gemma (39), who told the Herald she was disappointed after turning up to meet her perfect match, only to realise she had met Mark several years ago.

"I felt like I was robbed. With this whole thing, you take the risk because you really feel that they will be able to match you up with somebody that you could be suited to," she said. "I think we both felt a little bit like 'ah, Jesus' - but what can you do? It's not the show's fault."

Gemma Byrne
Gemma Byrne

Gemma quickly realised that she had been on a date with Dubliner Mark six years ago.

The pair said they felt let down that they were not matched with a new and exciting mystery man or woman.

Mark Casey
Mark Casey

"As soon as I walked into the bar I thought, 'Sweet Jesus, I know this guy'," Gemma said.

"He didn't seem to know me though, so I was a bit shocked and I fully expected the crew to come in and tell us to leave - but we were left to it."

Gemma said that herself and Mark got on well during their original first date, but he had to cancel unexpectedly and that was that.

"I thought that I knew her from somewhere, but I couldn't remember where exactly," Mark told the Herald.

"I was a bit disappointed but, saying that, we decided we were going to have a good time. It turned out to be a great night."

While the pair enjoyed their second "first date", they both decided that there wasn't enough of a spark to go on a second date.

"I would love to have an opportunity to go on an actual first date, so we'll see," Gemma said.

"Some people are getting a bit of slagging from the show, but I would do it again."

The community worker initially applied to the show as "a distraction" following a break-up, but has no regrets about going on the series.

"It was a great distraction from being single again, and I did it to take my mind of the break-up, but I found the whole process great craic," she said.

Mark from Swords applied for the show after growing tired of the online dating scene.

"I would absolutely do it again, but I would give producers a list of names of people I have been on dates with," Mark said with a laugh.

"Myself and Gemma both agreed that we got on really well, but that there wasn't going to be a second date."

The Dubliner will celebrate his 40th birthday next week at the luxurious Farnham Estate in Cavan.

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