| 12.4°C Dublin

Mairead shows us that a second bite of the cherry can taste even sweeter

In a month where our news feeds have been filled with harrowing and depressing stories, it was heartening to hear that Today FM's Mairead Farrell has only gone and gotten herself both engaged and promoted.

While these may seem like pretty normal things to do, our warm, fuzzy feeling came from the realisation that good things can and do happen to nice people.

The bubbly Mairead's popularity stems from being the quintessential girl next door. Fun, approachable and chatty, she has always been warmly regarded by the public.

We love her in her on-air role on The Ray D'Arcy Show, and in her TV work on The Panel, Celebrity Bainisteoir, and Ireland's Fittest Families.

Her CV has also been enhanced by the somewhat surprising news that she is leaving Ray after eleven years to become a producer on The Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show.


It hasn't all been plain sailing though. When I met the Finglas girl for a Herald interview a few months ago, she explained how losing her mum Maureen to breast cancer the night before her 21st birthday devastated her.

She met her first husband shortly afterwards, and was swept off her feet. They were married within 18 months, but the union sadly didn't last.

"It all just seemed right at the time, but it wasn't," she told me. "I became a very wise 29 year old. My mum died, I got married, had a child and was separated, all before I had hit 30."

"A marriage break-up is something I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, but thankfully we have managed to come out of it as decent friends, and more importantly, good parents," she added.

"It made me super strong. I think I can take on anything now."

Mairead's story echoes the experiences of a lot of people today, and it makes the news that she has just become engaged to businessman Louis Ronan particularly heart-warming.

She met Louis four years ago when the show was down at Punchestown, and says that what she liked about him was that he was kind, mature and an old-school gentleman.

Like any parent, Mairead was extra-careful when it came to introducing him to her son Dara (7).

She also found that having had one failed relationship behind her taught her a lot about relationships, in terms of "what can work and what can't."

For the rest of us, this story is heart-warming because it demonstrates that life can offer us second chances at happiness.

And although it may not look like it when we're going through a hard time, difficult experiences build our strength and make us more aware of what we actually want out of life.

Whether it's our love-life, our career, moving house or any of life's key areas, we sometimes make decisions for reasons that, in retrospect, may not have been advisable.

Sometimes we are too young to know what we actually want for ourselves, and other times we are guided down the wrong path by loneliness, grief, fear or bad judgement.


Getting ourselves back up again, dusting ourselves off and leaving our hearts open to new possibilities again is the hard part.

It is easy to shut ourselves off when things have gone wrong, and remain cocooned in a safe, closed-off world, where the capacity for hurt and disappointment is taken away.

The problem with that is that it also means shutting out the potential for real happiness - one that is based on a more mature and realistic perspective of what will truly fulfil us.

And as Mairead has demonstrated so publicly this week, being open to new possibilities and opportunities is often the only way we can be truly free to grow into our own potential.