First Dates Ireland: The RTE show taught me that ‘love comes in all shapes and sizes’
Last time I spoke with the RTÉ star I was huddled in my car as a mouse took over my kitchen, today Alice has her own rodent issues too.
We just moved into a new house last October and I don’t know if it’s a mouse or a rat but there’s something in the attic above our bedroom.
“We’ve set all sorts of traps and we can’t catch him. Hope you’ve sorted your problem,” laughs the beloved waitress who stole the hearts of viewers across Ireland with her ability unwavering in putting nervous singles at ease. .
“It comes and goes, we’ve tried to entice them with chocolates, dates and nut butters, we keep saying we need to sort it out because they obviously can multiply, but it seems like a big rodent .”
Having moved to the west of Ireland during lockdown, the beloved actress is toying with the idea of putting down roots permanently.
“At the moment we are in a rental, I have bought so many plants that it looks like the Botanical Garden.
“We are at Liscannor in Clare, I moved in confinement and we love it here.
“I really started surfing in the last two years, even in winter, and it’s such a part of my lifestyle. When you start, you’re guaranteed to be terrible. My dad surfs and he always says, “it’s like slipping on a banana over and over” so don’t be ashamed It took six months to get to a point where I could stay longer than five seconds.
“At the moment, I am in no rush to leave Clare, but at the same time, we will see.
“I’m going up to Dublin for work and I feel like I miss it, but I miss Clare, but you can’t have it all.”
Or can you? As the RTÉ juggernaut now heads into its eight series, Alice has become a staple of the cult dating show, and she still hasn’t gotten tired of working in Dublin’s most romantic restaurant.
“It was a blur of six years because we did the first two series in one year.
“It’s absolutely insane that he’s still around, but it’s such a testament to the show that he keeps going. I’m so proud to be a part of something that has remained so engaging and relevant to viewers after so long. .
“The only difference this year is Pete got engaged, all of our lives change – but it feels like a time warp when we’re together.
“I don’t watch reality TV for the most part, but you wouldn’t stick with it if it wasn’t special. If I was involved in something that sensationalized or almost took advantage of people to create engaging television, not that all reality TV does that, then I wouldn’t. First dates is really nice and people come and they are themselves and it’s really real television.
So who are some of the participants that Alice fell head over heels in love with?
“Laine, he came back with his fiancé. He was on the show twice and the dates didn’t work out, but his partner saw him on First dates and contacted him via social media. They came in and we drank a bottle of champagne and celebrated their engagement.
“Carla and Shez are our first marriage. I remember Carla sitting at the bar looking very beautiful and Shez came in and he was covered in tattoos and you could see her looking at him like ‘oh my god’ but they fell completely in love.
“We were invited to the wedding, it’s so nice to have been part of their story.”
The 27-year-old adds that some of her biggest love lessons have come from the show.
“First dates showed me that love can come in all shapes and sizes sometimes i see people and from the outside looking inside i don’t know if there will be a spark and then there will be because they are both open-minded.
“Working on a show like this definitely makes you question love and relationships, and made me question some of the relationships I’ve been in. When I’m filming and listening to people talk, I think, oh, do I want more of that in my relationship? Or is that a no, no for me too?
“It really makes you question the relationship and the love when people talk about what they’re looking for and how they connect in different ways. It was an interesting crucial thing.
Naturally, it’s not the most ideal work environment if you’re recovering from a broken heart.
“There was a year where I was just going through a breakup while filming and it was really tough. I was just like, ‘I want to date someone and I want to have a nice dinner. and drinks and being excited and having these butterflies,” but I was on the other end of it all.
“That’s the risk we take when we fall in love with people and grow attached to them. I was in a really sad place, but in a way it was a good thing because I was so busy I could log off.”
Despite her acting background, the drama student shares that some people may still be confused about her credentials.
“People can get confused, ‘Are you a waitress or are you an actress?’
“I had done a little more action and then I had gone on a trip, but I would like to do more action and more personality work, but I definitely felt the tension and turbulence of this industry and so with that in mind right now, I work for an environmental education and consultancy agency.
“We help organizations reduce their carbon emissions. I’ve always been interested in the environment since I was a kid, so this is perfect. It’s a four-day work week, so there’s room to play, but that just means my livelihood and my sense of worth aren’t dependent on my success in that area, which is a difficult thing when it’s your be-all and the end of everything.
One of the things she learned from the industry is to never search Google herself.
“I’m such a bad review of myself, I watch First dates with my boyfriend sometimes and I cringe and look at him and say, “I should have said this or I shouldn’t have done that.”
“I used to google myself, but then I would say ‘you have to stop now’.
Celebrating today with her mom, Kathi, the mother-daughter duo had the chance to collaborate on our exclusive Review + shoot, because Kathi was stylist first and mom second.
“My mum has a shop in Lahinch called Olive and Crew. She has an amazing sense of style and it’s so nice to have someone to advise me on my clothes and also have a resource for getting beautiful clothes. It was so nice to work together on this shoot too.
“When I was a teenager, I didn’t like it because I loved tight dresses.
“She had us young, so at this point she’s a mix of friend and mother, and we’ll go have a glass of wine together and discuss what’s going on, we have a very open relationship, we’re very It’s not that typical parent-child dynamic.
“She is so proud of me and she loves the show too. When I live far away, she sent me little videos and photos of me on the show.
“My dad is the same, if for some reason First Dates comes around he’ll be like, ‘That’s my girl,’ that’s so sweet.”
“My mother lives nearby, so I have a job today to bring the gifts or prepare the food because my two sisters live far away.”
HAIR: Bridget Haren of Bridget Haren Hair and Beauty. bridgetharen.com
RECONCILE: Linda Lafferty of Bridget Haren Hair and Beauty
LOCATION: Armada Hotel, Spanish Point, Co Clare. armadahotel.com
FASHION: Olive & Crew, Lahinch, Co Clare. oliveandcrew.ie
PICTURES: Eamon district
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