Longford's Colette Conway to appear on First Dates
“I had the most amazing experience of my life. It was unreal. It was mad from start to finish.”
It was “a pure joke” that led Edgeworthstown's Colette Conway to apply for First Dates Ireland last autumn and she never for a second thought she'd get on the show. But the self-confessed “mad yoke” will be appearing on the current series of the popular dating show in March.
The application came about when Colette was spending time with her best friend, Tina Buzdar (another mad one, according to Colette), who dared her to fill out an application “for the craic”.
“We had brilliant craic filling it out. We laughed and joked but that's just the reality of my life: I'm actually a bit mad,” Colette told the Longford Leader.
“But anyway, I put it all down and sent it off and then I passed no heed on it whatsoever. It went out of my head.”
Three weeks later, Colette received an email stating that she was longlisted for the show, and things took off from there. She had an hour-long phone interview with the producer of the show, and before she knew it, she had a camera crew at her house recording a video interview ahead of First Dates.
“We had such craic with it. They asked me 'what was your most embarrassing date?'
“I said 'I don't even need to think about that one: it has to be the one with the fella with the red runners'.
“There's red runners and then there's red runners and these were completely red runners,” Colette recalled with a laugh.
“And we had a fire extinguisher so I said 'they were even redder than that'.
“They were that red, I said, if he was walking down the road, people would think they were traffic lights and get stuck behind these shoes.”
When the day of the big date came, Colette got dressed up and travelled up to Dublin on her own. At the Gibson Hotel - where First Dates Ireland is shot - she was treated like a VIP.
“I had the most amazing experience of my life,” she recalled.
“It was unreal. It was mad from start to finish, the recording of the whole day was phenomenal. Like you're a VIP. It was a brilliant day. It was a brilliant experience.”
And the date didn't go too badly either, she added.
“It was lovely; he's a very nice person. He was very friendly. He was a lovely person actually.
“He's from not too far from here - about an hour's drive from here,” she added, not able to give away too many details about her mystery date.
The pair are friends now and will meet up to watch their episode of First Dates Ireland together. The appearance on First Dates was exactly what Colette needed to improve what she said was a very bad year for her.
“I lost my house because it went on fire. And my relationship... he walked out before Christmas last year. I had a very hard year of crying,” she explained.
“Even when I did my date, it was good fun and we were meant to do a second date, but it didn't happen because there was just so much going on. But after the year that I had, I said I was going to ring in 2019 with a smile. And I haven't stopped smiling since.”
In fact, Colette met up with a former partner of 13 years ago on New Year's Eve and has been seeing him ever since - so things are looking up for her.
“You bounce back. I've found who I am. Now, it was very hard. It was tough time but I've never felt as good as I do feel today. Top form,” she said.
And it was her children, Aaron (20) and Leeroy (9), who helped to keep her going through the tough times.
“If you'd said to me this time last year, there's light at the end of the tunnel, I wouldn't believe that,” she said.
“I was like, 'where is that tunnel because I'm going through it the whole year'. And now this year, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It's you finding your path, isn't it? Bringing yourself back there. That's the way it is at the end of the day, but no regrets.
“Everyone has a bad year. Thank god mine's over. Everything fell for me in the one year, so this year has to be good.
“So as I said, good year ahead, and everything's been great so far. I'll never regret First Dates Ireland. I had great fun, great production, great crew. It's amazing. It is amazing. It's a class day.
“And anyone out there who ever thinks they should go for it, do it, because I swear to God it's the most amazing thing you'll ever do. It was phenomenal. It really was. It was like you're a star for a day.”
Colette's episode of First Dates Ireland will air on RTE2 at the end of March.