Shouts of celebration leaped from Donegal’s Gola Island ferry, ‘The Cricket,’ Sunday afternoon as holiday-makers from places as diverse as Cambridge, Brighton, London, Letterkenny and Belfast raised a warm cheer for newly-engaged couple, Donal McGee (29) from Falcarragh and Rosie O’Brien (28) from Dunfanaghy.
Being an incurable romantic, Donal decided an island was the best place to propose marriage to the woman he loves. But his good intentions almost fell asunder, giving the term ‘missing the boat’ a new meaning.
Having carefully planned his surprise and with beautiful engagement ring safely stowed away in his pocket, Donal – understandably somewhat nervous – called Sabba around 11 in the morning to ask if he was going to Gola.
“I replied I would be within the hour, and looked forward to seeing him,” said Sabba from Dore. “When he didn’t turn up at Magheragallon Pier, I was surprised and headed off with the other people waiting there. An hour later, I got another call from Donal saying he must have missed me. Again, I said I’d be leaving in an hour but again there was no sign of him when I set off. Then I got a third call from him saying he had been waiting for me at the pier but couldn’t see me. Puzzled, I asked where he was. That’s when the riddle was solved. He had been waiting all this time with his girlfriend at the wrong pier, the one in Bunbeg.”
But love is strong. It conquers all, including time.
Within the hour, Donal arrived at the right place with his fiancée-to-be, poised and ready to carry out his heartfelt wish and make his life-changing decision. The cheers that went up as ‘The Cricket’ plied the waters showed his request was warmly accepted by a contented Rosie.
While it was the first time Donal and Rosie had been to Gola Island, it’s a place they’re never likely to forget.
This was also a first for Captain Sabba and ‘The Cricket.’ Never before have they brought anyone across the waters to be engaged.
“I’m delighted and thrilled and wish Donal and Rosie a long and happy life together,” said the generous captain, granting the young couple free passage – to the shores of happiness.
Now word around the Gaeltacht is that ‘The Cricket’ may soon be renamed – ‘The Love Boat.’
Gola Island is one of the locations chosen as an inspiration for participants at the annual international ‘Ireland Writing Retreat.’ It is also a place that features in recently-published novel, ‘Pretty Ugly,’ linking this area of Donegal with the United States.
Thank you Sean for capturing our special day in such a thoughtful way! Despite the shaky start to the day, with the help of Sabba and the good weather it all came together. The magical setting of Gola really impressed Rosie and thankfully she said yes! We have wonderful memories we’ll treasure forever!
You are both more than welcome. Memories are what we carry through Life. So much more important than money. So, I’m delighted – as is Captain Sabba, I’m sure – that this is a keepsake boat journey for you both to treasure.
By the way, such has been the overwhelming response to the ‘Love Boat’ blog (more than 1,100 readers in just one day), I am informed that Sabba is off to Las Vegas later this week to obtain his Marriage Ministerial Certificate so he can preside over future engagements and weddings on The Love Boat https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Love_Boat of which there is expected to be a tidal wave of requests.
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