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'I didn’t know anything about sex back in Galway in 1964!' - Famous Irish faces recall their 'Normal People' first love moments

As the RTE drama brings back teenage memories for viewers, Andrea Smith asks well-known faces about their early romances

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Paul Mescal with fellow on-screen star Daisy Edgar-Jones in the hit RTÉ drama. Photo: Enda Bowe/BBC/PA

Paul Mescal with fellow on-screen star Daisy Edgar-Jones in the hit RTÉ drama. Photo: Enda Bowe/BBC/PA

Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell in Normal People (Enda Bowe/BBC/PA)

Daisy Edgar-Jones as Marianne and Paul Mescal as Connell in Normal People (Enda Bowe/BBC/PA)

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Paul Mescal with fellow on-screen star Daisy Edgar-Jones in the hit RTÉ drama. Photo: Enda Bowe/BBC/PA

The vagaries and tender tribulations of Marianne and Connell’s teenage relationship are capturing our hearts on RTÉ’s Normal People, sending many minds back to the first relationships that captivated our younger selves. Some we’ll remember with tenderness forever, and there are others we’d prefer to forget all about. We asked these well-known people to share their experiences of first love with us.

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Mary Coughlan

Mary Coughlan

Mary Coughlan


Mary Coughlan, Singer

“When I was 15, 16-year-old Michael Connolly asked me to dance at a hop, and we fell head over heels in love and became absolutely inseparable. He was the most stunningly beautiful person and an unbelievable kisser. We were together for months and never did anything bar hold hands and kiss, as I didn’t know anything about sex back in Galway in 1964!

“One day, we decided to spend the whole day together, so we stole a boat from the university and rowed up the river with our schoolbags and our lunch. We got off at an island and sat there, but everyone was out looking for us, including the nuns and my parents, as we’d been spotted taking the boat.