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Letterkenny blind date 50 years on

Hugo and Maureen Shiels.

A LETTERKENNY couple who met on a blind date on Christmas Eve 50 years ago said they would do it all over again and are still very much in love.

Hugo Shields and his wife Maureen (nee Keogh) had their date arranged by a colleague of Maureen’s in the Gaeltex factory.

Hugo, then 19 years old, came in from Manorcunningham on the bus and got off at the Market Square. He walked the last few yards to Clarke’s Newsagent and as he approached he asked a man he met “do you know Maureen Keogh?” He responded “there she is”.

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Maureen was just 17-and-a-half and from Oldtown. Hugo was working for the ESB and then went on to work in John Dunne’s of the High Road.

In an unusual first date since Maureen had to go to Kelly’s Butchers to collect the Christmas meats. The couple then went to confessions, as most people did on Christmas Eve.

Hugo recalled how his priest friend Fr McHugh said they were “starting off with a clean sheet”.
Speaking to the Donegal News this week Hugo and Maureen recalled that they were both wearing their new Christmas coats when they met that Christmas Eve.
“I remember Hugo saying that he felt like Clint Eastwood that night. It was love at first date,  even though we had met each other previously.
“My work colleague told me Hugo wanted to meet me and she told him I had wanted to meet him – it worked and we were married in August 1966,” Maureen said.
Hugo recalled how he knew that night he was going to marry Maureen.
“I would do it all again tomorrow,” Hugo said. The couple have a son Enda, daughter Angela and two grandchildren.
To mark the 50th anniversary of their highly successful blind date Hugo and Maureen posed for this photograph at the spot where they met. Nephew Kevin Shields took the photograph who kindly supplied it to us.

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Donegal News is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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