Navy officer pops the question on whirlwind trip to Fota Wildlife Park
While navigating an Irish navy ship through high seas last week, one young Lieutenant had another important task on her radar.
Lieutenant Grace Fanning (31), second in command of the LE Aoife ship, came home from the sea to surprise her girlfriend-of-seven-years with a marriage proposal.
On Saturday morning, Grace brought her girlfriend Carol on a behind-the-scenes tour at Fota Wildlife Park in Cork, and popped the question.
“Carol’s favourite animal is a giraffe, and I thought it would be cool to go behind the scenes,” Grace told independent.ie today.
“I emailed Fota in October and told them that I was planning to ask Carol to marry me, and because Carol’s favourite animal is the giraffe, I asked them if they could keep the part with the giraffes to the end.”
With the ring safely stowed in her pocket, Grace set off with a clueless Carol for the tour which was about to change their lives.
“When we turned up for the tour, the head warden was really, really nice, but I didn’t know if she knew my plan because the girl that I had emailed wasn’t there. We were coming near the end and the warden kept ignoring the giraffes and I was getting more and more nervous.”
“We got to the giraffes and they were eating carrots out of our hand and everything, it was amazing. Again I was getting nervous, and the warden said, ‘right that’s the end of the tour’.”
“I just said ‘one more thing’ and I threw the phone at the warden and got down on one knee. I had a big speech ready but I just burst out crying and asked Carol if she would marry me. Carol burst out crying and the warden was crying too,” Grace said.
Photos of the tender moment have been shared on Fota Wildlife’s Facebook page. By this evening, the post had received almost 10,000 likes.
The couple, who are looking forward to this year’s same-sex marriage referendum, hope to tie the knot in 2016.
Grace paid tribute to Carol, who she met while playing football with Bunclody ladies team in Wexford about eight years ago.
“I’m mad about her. She’s perfect for me. She takes care of me. I knew for a long time that she was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.”
“With the referendum coming up in May, hopefully we’ll get people thinking, and touchwood, if there’s a ‘yes’ vote, the wedding will be in 2016. Everyone will be there.”
“I’m delighted, everything went to plan.”