They often say that there is something about the air around the Rosses that brings out the best in people and even that touch of romance and this week proved no exception as one of the visiting Mary’s from Dungloe got the most pleasant surprise of her life with a romantic proposal from her fire fighting boyfriend.
Stephanie Lennon who proved a great hit with everybody in the Rosses town was in Donegal representing Philidelphia along with her boyfriend fire fighter, Paul Rebstock and enjoyed a truly fun filled week in the true Donegal style.
Speaking to this newspaper, Stephanie takes up this tale of romance, “ Well, both Paul and I attended primary school together but parted ways upon graduation in 1997.
“Later we were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the oldest Irish pub in Philadelphia, McGillin’s Old Ale House and just thirty minutes into the conversation, we realized that we were old schoolmates and, I suppose, the rest is history.
“We just gelled immediately. Paul is a Philadelphia Fire Fighter and I am a speech-language pathologist working with young school children with special needs.
“Years ago my granny, Mary Cannon Lennon, moved from Deer Park in Burt to Philadelphia and all my family have strong connections with Newtowncunningham and as a result I have a really strong connection with my Donegal roots
“I seized the opportunity to enter the Philadelphia Mary from Dungloe and low and behold, I won the Philadelphia Mary from Dungloe and immediately started planning my trip to Ireland.
“Paul was so excited and decided to join me - it was his very first trip to Ireland.
“Little did I know that he was carrying a diamond engagement ring in his suitcase and was planning a romantic proposal in Donegal as Ireland is so close to my heart.
“With a hectic week of Mary from Dungloe festivities, Paul took the opportunity to get to know the town of Dungloe, the friendly Irish hospitality and my Irish relatives but never even dropped a hint of his intentions. There is no doubt that there is the touch of the romantic Irishman about him!
“On the Monday after the festival he took me up to Downings beach to relax and spend time together - I had been there with all the Mary’s earlier in the week and it was just so beautiful.
“While enjoying the beautiful beach landscape, one magpie landed and Paul joked ‘ the one magpie for sorrow landed since my week of being a Mary was over.
“Quickly another magpie landed and Paul seized moment of “two for joy,” and he got down on one knee and produced a beautiful diamond ring in traditional style.
“I am a speech pathologist but this was one memorable time that I was left absolutely speechless - I did manage to mutter ‘Yes’ with tears of joy pouring down my cheeks.
“After some time together on this deserted beach we went back to Newtowncunningham to celebrate with family and friends.
“It was extra special since my mother, father, and oldest brother were back in Newtown to greet us as were my two best friends who travelled from Philadelphia to support me in the Mary festival.
“They were overcome with joy as I invited them to be my bridesmaids.
“This was truly the trip of a lifetime as the two most memorable events in my life to date occurred hand-in-hand, the Mary from Dungloe festival and the engagement!
“There is no doubt about it - there’s no place like Dungloe and Donegal to kindle a bit of romance!” said a happy Stephanie.