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Marty Whelan and wife of 31 years Maria make rare public appearance for cultured date night

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Marty Whelan and Maria Whelan attend Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Marty Whelan and Maria Whelan attend Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

Jeremy Irons attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Jeremy Irons attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

Ralph Fiennes attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Ralph Fiennes attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

Ralph Fiennes attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Ralph Fiennes attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

Ralph Fiennes and Michael Colgan attend Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Ralph Fiennes and Michael Colgan attend Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

Marty Whelan and his wife Maria

Marty Whelan and his wife Maria

Maria Whelan and Marty Whelan at the  opening night of The Sound of Music at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin

Maria Whelan and Marty Whelan at the opening night of The Sound of Music at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin

Jess Whelan, Marty Whelan, Maria Whelan and Thomas Whelan at the red carpet opening night of Mary Poppins at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin.  Picture: Brian McEvoy

Jess Whelan, Marty Whelan, Maria Whelan and Thomas Whelan at the red carpet opening night of Mary Poppins at The Bord Gais Energy Theatre Dublin. Picture: Brian McEvoy

Czechout: Marty and his wife Maria are heading for Prague

Czechout: Marty and his wife Maria are heading for Prague

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Marty Whelan and Maria Whelan attend Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

As far as Irish celebrity couple go, few are as lovable and enduring as Marty and Maria Whelan.

The veteran tv presenter (60) and his wife of 31 years stepped out on Sunday night for a rare public appearance to mark the end of Michael Colgan's tenure as artistic director at The Gate Theatre.

While the Winning Streak host has always been vocal about his love and appreciation for his wife, with whom he has two children, they rarely step out at red carpet events, only making select appearances as a family.

"The concept of her not being with me would be devastating," he said last year in his book That's Life.

"I'd be absolutely heartbroken. We met when we were teenagers. Note very day is brilliant because it can't be. Of course there are days where you go, 'Right, I'd like to be on my own, thanks'. That's life."

So what's their secret? Comnmunication.

"The secret is, the one thing I always believe in is chat. If you don't talk, you can forget it. You've got to be friends. It's very important to keep talking because then you don't keep things bottled up."

The couple were joined by a host of A-list attendees at Michelin-starred restaurant Chapter One to mark Colgan's last hurrah in style - including actors Jeremy Irons and his wife, actress Sinead Cusack and Ralph Fiennes, who flew into Dublin for the occasion.

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Jeremy Irons attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Jeremy Irons attends Michael Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

Colgan intends to continue producing the occasional theatre show with his new production company Clare Street and is working on several new film and television projects.

Speaking about leaving the theatre he said his time there as a "gift".

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Ralph Fiennes and Michael Colgan attend Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Ralph Fiennes and Michael Colgan attend Colgan's final farewell as Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre

Pictures: VIPIRELAND.COM

"It was a gift to look after the theatre for so long. And it's an honour to hand it over again."

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