Flame goes out for RTE presenter Norah Casey and firefighter boyfriend
RTE broadcaster Norah Casey has split up with her Dublin firefighter boyfriend Peter Allen.
"My relationship with Peter ended a few months ago," she told the Sunday Independent this weekend.
"We tried to keep it private. At this stage, it's better out than rumoured. We split up at the end of October. So we managed to keep it under wraps for three months. Not bad going for Dublin!," she laughs.
"I'm not going to say too much but I will confirm it to you that Peter and I have split. We had a great year together. Sometimes relationships just don't work out. It was a mutual and amicable decision but in fairness to all involved I won't comment beyond that. I have to be conscious of his work and his desire for privacy. Peter is private and I have to respect that." How different a love story it seemed for ex-Dragon Norah and her hot firefighter last summer.
On July 12, Norah posted a picture on her Twitter feed of a sunset in Key West where she was on holiday with Peter. With it, she tweeted: "Heaven is a place on earth."
Peter soon tweeted back to his girlfriend: "A very special night. Perfect. Spectacular."
Notwithstanding spectacular romantic sojourns in Florida, they also took in amorous visits last year to Greece in late July and a week in Rome in October where, Norah later told me, they walked together through the Villa Borghese gardens to celebrate their first anniversary with a dinner at Casina Valadier; with cocktails afterwards at Harry's Bar on Via Veneto. There were also regular weekends at the five-star Powerscourt hotel in Enniskerry.
Norah and Peter met on October 18, 2013.
The celebrity businesswoman had come from a charity lunch for Breast Cancer Research and was in bar of the Shelbourne Hotel with Johnny Ronan's sister-in-law Claire Ronan when Peter walked in and a conversation, then a romance, begun.
The following weekend they went for dinner at Dylan McGrath's Fade Street Social. Norah would later tell me in an interview that she consciously waited until the second anniversary of the death of her husband, Richard Hannaford - who died of cancer on October 12, 2011 - before she even contemplated letting a new man into her life.
"It wouldn't have been right to do anything before that," she said at the time.
"I am still a young woman and Richard wouldn't have wanted me to spend the rest of my life on my own. I promised myself that after the second anniversary that I would start to think about finding someone for companion-ship. That's the best way I can put it. Richard wouldn't have wanted me to be on my own all my life after he died. He said that to me many times before he passed away."
At Christmas 2013, the former Dragon's Den favourite caused something of a frisson when she came to a party at my house with the handsome young firefighter on her arm. Peter was an instant hit. Not least with Sinead O'Connor, who was also at the Yuletide party, and who monopolised him very briefly in the kitchen, before he returned to the attentions of his broadcaster girlfriend.
Peter and Norah were clearly very serious about each other. Not long after the meeting in the Shelbourne, she introduced Peter to her siblings, Leo, Ciaran, Catherine and Carissa, and mum Mags. Norah also introduced him to her teenage son - then 15 - Dara.
Their relationship obviously went from strength to strength. Last July when I called over to Norah's home in Ranelagh, it was very much a scene of domestic bliss that greeted me. Looking like the hunk in the 7-Up ad, Peter was in shorts and a T-shirt in the living room, busying himself using his large muscles to put up a TV on the wall.
He seemed comfortable when, apropos of a video interview with his girlfriend by me for Independent.ie, Norah laughed when I asked her, in an obvious reference to him, was her favourite song - 'Relight My Fire' by Take That or 'Light My Fire' by The Doors.
And the fire-fighter even laughed harder when I sat on Norah's knee and sang a few bars to her of the Take That smash-hit.
Peter and Norah's fire is now sadly and officially out for good.