06 Oct 2022

Laois soldier stuns girlfriend with surprise rock on Rock of Dunamase

A Laois soldier has raised the bar in wedding proposal standards, managing to arrange every detail without his new fiancée copping on.

Kevin Kelly, 27, a Defence Forces trooper shocked his girlfriend Aoife Doyle from Killenard in a lovely proposal last Saturday, July 19, on the Rock of Dunamase.

Kevin had secretly organised for Aoife to get her nails done beforehand, getting her boss in on the act to pretend it was a work gift.

He had asked her parents Tara and Stephen to come and wait at the bottom of the Rock, and he organised a surprise hotel stay and a meal for them with Aoife's close friends that night in Dublin to celebrate.

Kevin had also booked Portarlington photographer Con Murphy for the big moment, and he shared these lovely photos. 

Kevin told the Leinster Express why he chose the Rock of Dunamase, a famous ruined castle believed to have been in the dowry of Leinster princess Aoife on her marriage to Norse invader Strongbow.

"It is actually the place where we first asked each other out officially, after a few months of dating. It was just the ideal place to go, it's a magic spot. I did it the old traditional way, down on one knee.

"I can't believe I kept it as a surprise, she just notices everything. I am a lucky man," he said.

He had his little son in on the secret too, asking Aoife to walk to the top of the Rock to show her where he had hidden coins, and then producing the ring out of the stone wall instead.

Aoife, 23, told the Leinster Express she had no idea of all Kevin's careful plans.

"I am absolutely thrilled. It is so obvious looking back but I didn't piece it together. He was worrying about my nails being done on time, helping me with what dress to wear to what I thought was a family barbecue that day.

"I was over the moon when he told me we were going to stay in a hotel in Dublin, and he had rose petals on the bed, prosecco and everything. But he knows how important my friends are to me. I had texted them in the group chat to say I got engaged and they were slow replying, but of course they were running around town getting ready and getting balloons," she said.

As for wedding dates, the young couple have a bigger task ahead of them, their first home in Portarlington, with contracts only signed a fortnight ago.

"Kevin went away overseas last year to save for it, it has been a hard year," Aoife said.

Ask Jackie: 'My partner & I are looking to buy our first home. What questions should we ask the agent?'

My partner & I are looking to buy our first home. What questions should we ask the agent?

The photographer Con was delighted to be involved in the big moment.

"Along with Kevin we set a plan in place to surprise Aoife as Kevin proposed at the top of the Rock. I loved every minute of this time spent with a great couple. We captured images that can never be replaced or taken again. Just blessed to be asked to be involved in a special day like this," Con said.

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