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No match for Sinead but rugby ace Gerry finds love

Music star Sinead O'Connor may have escaped the clutches of love-starved bachelors in Lisdoonvarna, but one well-known Irish personality who found love there is former rugby hero Gerry 'Ginger' McLoughlin.

While O'Connor headed home to Dublin alone at 2.30am yesterday, McLoughlin said he had "fallen in love".

The Labour Limerick city councillor, who won 18 caps for Ireland, also told the Irish Independent that he first came to Lisdoonvarna to beat a serious bout of depression.

"I came here three years ago on tablets. I was very depressed and stressed out with politics. Lisdoonvarna was the best therapy I ever had," he said.


Gerry said "you can't reach 60 years of age and decide you need a walking stick and a pair of slippers. That's not my style".

Admitting that he is a workaholic, Gerry said Lisdoonvarna allowed him to let go and enjoy his first love -- dancing.

"To me this place is an investment in my future, that's how serious I look at it. I work 100 hours a week so I need an outlet. I don't drink, I don't go to movies.

"So, how do couples meet if they don't do all these things? I get a good feeling on the dance floor. I get what I call 'the ooomph' -- that's what I like to call it anyway," Gerry said as he shook his extremely-fit hips.

So who is this new love Gerry has met? "This is the first time for me. Yes, you could say I've fallen in love. She's a local girl. She hasn't told her family yet.

"You can fall in love here no problem. For the past few years I wasn't looking for love, just enjoying my dancing. She's a social dancer, not as into it as me. Maybe she'll put the shackles on me now," Gerry joked.

He offered important advice for any lonely hearts who may be suffering alone with depression.

"We're all so isolated in our lives these days, and events like Lisdoonvarna can be of huge benefit. If you work hard, or you're just lonely, then this place will give you an outlet to have some honest fun.

"Dancing is my first love and cycling comes a close second. Both are great exercises for the body and they both exercise all the right muscles," Gerry said.

"This festival extends the holiday period for me. It also shortens the winter, which is great," he added.

"I was married for 30 years and I was very happy and I'd like to have that happiness again."

Gerry also admits that he "loves" Sinead O'Connor, particularly for her ballsy attitude for coming to Lisdoonvarna in the search for a partner.

"I met her last night and I love her because I value her as a person as she isn't afraid to voice her opinion. She stands up for women and I think we need more women out there to be free and to express themselves and to be able to go to extremes.

"Men have been doing it all their lives, so why not women," Gerry said.

The local politician, whose daughter Orla also sits on Limerick City Council, said that men try to restrict women, especially in politics. He explained that if women ran everything, we'd all be in a much better place.

"I'd go for a woman Taoiseach and a woman President.

"We've (men) made a mess of things. Women are more honest."

Still light on his feet and heading back on to the dance floor at the Hydro Hotel, the waltzing politician smirked and remarked: "This is the best, cheapest, most enjoyable event in the world.

"I'm going to be here all month. Unfortunately I have a few council meetings interrupting my work here."

Irish Independent