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The loved-up tell us how it happened

Four ways to find love . . . and a lot more essential advice on finding your perfect partner in our new and not-to-be-missed dating guide

We've a surplus of singletons in the city. Most recent statistics show 43pc of young people aged 15 and over are single in spite of being the best-looking and most confident generation we've ever produced.

The dating scene is failing a fair number of people who are on the look-out for love. Too intimidating, too diverse, too exhausting, or just downright puzzling? It's not that the beautiful and brightest aren't looking for Mr or Mrs Right. The average night out in the city centre shows hopefuls outrageously out there in the pursuit of attention -- and knocking rivals for 10.

There's plenty of evidence that we still want the traditional and long-term committed relationship -- 46pc of people in this group are married, while the remaining 11pc are widowed, separated or divorced.

Our timely new dating series aims to show where the lovelorn are going wrong -- and where romantics should go for that special relationship, or just to have fun.

Over the next eight weeks we'll be giving advice on how to get out there and start dating -- no single person will want to miss the low-down from the loved-up and relationships experts on how you no longer have to be Bridget (or Billy) Jones.

"I thought he looked like a proper jock when I sat beside him at the Horse Show Ball"

Sarah Jane Wai O'Flynn, lead singer with the Dirty Epics, on falling for her polar opposite, estate agent Ciaran Curley (below).

"I first met Ciaran four years ago in August. I was persuaded to go to the Horse Show Ball by my sister Nadine, who was on the committee. I'd consider myself more at home in some dive bar rather than attending dinner dances, but I had bought a vintage Perry Ellis tux dress in New York and thought that it was the perfect opportunity to wear it.

"I was supposed to sit with a friend at my sister's table but was bumped off, much to my dismay! As Nadine ushered us over I saw where I would be sitting and more importantly who I would be sitting next to . . . some fella that looked like a proper jock!

"I sat down expecting a rather boring night but as soon as we were introduced I found myself laughing and joking, and that's the way the night continued.

"Ciaran is an estate agent and has his own agency called Smith Curley. In the past I dated guys who worked in the creative industries, film and media, so the first time I saw him in a suit I was quite amused!

"I think people are always surprised when they find out Ciaran is a rugby playing estate agent, but I would now agree that opposites do attract."

"However, I did take his number and a couple of weeks later decided maybe I had been a bit quick to judge, so I dropped Mark a text. A couple of days later and we were out for dinner in Valparaiso in Monkstown.

"We will be together two years in October, and have had lots of nice times together including holidays to Croatia, south of France, Italy and a trip to snowy Paris last Valentine's Day.

"I have also been given the seal of approval from Mark's gorgeous eight-year-old son, Calum, who, like his dad, enjoys watching the odd rugby match."

"I saw him at a party -- it was boom!"

Artist and DJ Mo Kelly on meeting husband Mark Murphy (left), a guitar player and music producer, and the son of former broadcaster Mike Murphy and his first wife, Eileen.

Mo says: "We were both in the same group of friends when we left school, so we kind of knew each other but not very well. But I knew Mark was a sweetie and everybody loved him.

"We were both going out with other people (as you do when you're a teen!) and I didn't think of him in that way until about two years later. I took a year out and did a solo trip around the world, and Mark left to go and live in New York.

"I remember we were having a party in a friend's house, and we were all waiting for Mark to arrive to welcome him home, and he walked in the door looking gorgeous, (working as a bar man had been supplemented with working in construction) and that was it. Boom!

"We got together that weekend and cut to 12 years later and we're coming up to our first wedding anniversary."

"My best friend and I are sisters-in-law after she introduced me to her husband's brother"

PR guru Rebecca Burrell (above, second on right), owner of Burrell Marketing, on meeting husband Peter Kenny (above right). Also pictured are Jeremy and Sharon Kenny

"Myself and Sharon met when we were 12 at school and we became firm friends, and due to both our competitive streaks we often went for similar guys. So it was an incredible twist of fate when I introduced her to her husband, Jeremy Kenny, many years ago in the Buttery Brasserie.

"Sharon then returned the favour and introduced me to Jeremy's brother Peter, who was separated, and although it wasn't love at first sight, we began a friendship that turned into love. We are married 11 years and have a beautiful daughter, Layla, who gets on really well with Peter's son and daughter from his previous marriage, Finn and Aoife. Ironically, Sharon runs a dating agency called Takes 2 so is busy playing cupid to lots of other potential couples."


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