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Romantic Pat pops the question (again!) on dream NY Lotto trip

THEY arrived in the Big Apple because of a stroke of luck -- but in the end it was love that won out.

Engagement rings and anniversaries meant love was truly in the air for this year's group of lucky lottery winners.

Dymphna Morgan, from Leixlip, Co Kildare, was the envy of the other female travellers when her husband Pat popped the question -- again.

The retired garda stunned his wife when he went down on one knee and produced an 18 carat gold ring. The pair now plan to renew their vows 38 years after they initially wed.

"I couldn't believe it when Pat produced the ring. I'll never take it off," Dymphna told the Herald.

The pair were one of 39 couples to be whisked out by the National Lottery for a moonlight boat trip around New York's Ellis Island.

"We were out by the Statue of Liberty and it was just beautiful. This truly was a trip of a lifetime," said Pat.

And love certainly appeared to be the underlying theme for the lucky winners, as Noel Foley (64) travelled to New York with his partner Bernadette Doyle -- 11 years after his wife passed away.

Noel told the Herald that his life "changed dramatically" after meeting Bernadette.

"I never thought I'd see the day where I fell in love again. This trip has been a dream come true for Bernie and I. She is an incredible woman who has changed my life."

Bernadette has had a difficult few months after her sister became ill and her 88-year-old mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

She spends most of the week caring for her mother but said that Noel has shown her incredible support.

"Sometimes just having him there gets me through the day. I never thought I'd see New York but Noel's name appeared on television and I was just stunned."

And Brian (51) and Antoinette (50) Kissane from Dundrum returned to America 20 years after they met there.

The couple, who made headlines in 2000 after giving birth to the first millennium twins in Ireland, told the Herald that the trip has had a huge difference in their relationship. "Like every couple we've had ups and downs, but coming back here 20 years after we met has been special," said Antoinette.