First Dates recap: Instant connection for James and Sian while GAA fans clash over ash

Cork woman Muirenn channelled Elle Woods for her date with Harry while John and Shirley took a walk on the wild side
First Dates recap: Instant connection for James and Sian while GAA fans clash over ash

Sian and James

James and Sian 

Chef James was paired with Sian, who said she’s never experienced romance. They clicked over their shared appreciation for the Kingdom: James was born in Tralee and Sian lived in the town for eight years. Their love of food was another strong talking point. While cooking is James’ career, Sian said she loves spending time in the kitchen and learning new cooking skills. A trained masseuse, she promised to give him a massage if he cooks her a dinner someday. She even said something about his special sauce...

James left school at a young age but went through college and started his career after promising his mother he’d continue his education. He cared for her after her terminal diagnosis and she knew he was accepted to college, but sadly she was no longer with him on the day he started. Sian described how she grew a hard skin after the racism she faced in school and in work and spoke about the work she is doing with a youth theatre group in Wexford around the Black Lives Matter movement.

Sian was clearly impressed by James, telling a friend on the phone: “he’s actually adorable.” These two shocked no one when they agreed to a second date. “It was perfect,” Sian said of the Date.

Muirenn and Harry 

Corkonian Muirenn arrived at the restaurant looking fantastic in a hot pink suit hoping to meet someone who’d save her - from dodgy, self-inflicted hair cuts. After shaving half her head twice in high temperatures, she said her family suggested she find someone to bounce those ideas off before doing them. We’ve heard of worse reasons to look for a boyfriend. 

Muirenn and Harry
Muirenn and Harry

She impressed Mateo with what she’s looking for from the date: “A conversation I’ve never had before.” She was paired with Harry from Belfast, who spoke about the difficulties he has faced while dating as a trans man: “I don’t see it as a big deal but a lot of people do.” He said there is a stigma around being trans and he has faced a lot of rejection. “You’re still you, regardless,” Muirenn said.

Talk turned to star signs and Muirenn (a Taurus) was thrilled to learn Harry was a Cancer, two of the most compatible signs. While Harry would have gone on a second date, Muirenn said she didn’t feel any romance so they agreed to be friends.

Luke and Shona 

GAA player Luke hopes he can find a “nice girl to put up with me” and, most importantly, watch a match with him. Luckily, he’s paired with camogie star Shona, who wants someone “confident, but not cocky” and up for a laugh. 

Luke’s eyes shone when he realised Shona is as passionate about GAA as him, and 90% of their date revolved around sports chat. Honestly, they seemed delighted. The only dispute was when Luke revealed to the camogie player that he doesn't like hurling. 

As they listed off things they liked, the other always agreed. They might be the same person? “We definitely had a lot in common,” Shona said before they (unsurprisingly) agreed to a second date.

John and Shirley 

John applied for First Dates after his marriage ended after almost 36 years, hoping for company and comfort. Shirley, who works in social care, hasn’t dated in “a very long time”.

She said she loves nature and animals, meaning John’s job as a wildlife photographer is right up her street. John described his experience of depression after the economic crash but said he fought his way back and decided to follow his photography passion as a career. 

Shirley detailed a few near-death experiences to John. “I need someone to mind me,” she said.

While they had a lovely date, Shirley said she’d rather meet for a friendly coffee or drink rather than a date, to John’s disappointment.

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