One of the first pairings of the new First Dates Ireland series will see a local man revealing some very personal details from his past.

Richard McNeill, who lives in Letterkenny and is a Northern Ireland native, meets Timmie Murphy from Ennis for the first time in the famous restaurant of the Gibson Hotel Dublin.

Richard and Timmie are shown getting to know one another when Richard reveals he used to be married. He tells Timmie how he came out as gay when he was 39 years old and split up with his ex-wife of 10 years.

His date is gobsmacked by the news as Richard tells him he had always thought he was gay but had never been sure. “I’d always wondered. I had always thought but I’d never properly known and I didn’t know anyone growing up. I had no role models, I had none of that. I was shy!” he said.

Richard shares details about his first ever date with a man in behind the scenes footage from the show. “My first date with a guy was unbelievable. Because I held a guy, I kissed a guy it was just like, this is what I’ve been missing all those years,” he said.

Richard and Timmie’s date goes into long-term plans pretty quickly when the men discuss having children. We have to wait until the full show this Thursday to see if they make a good enough connection to have a second date.

Hit dating show First Dates Ireland will be returning to our screens next Thursday on RTE2 at 9.30pm. Other couples in the first episode of series two include country music fan Rachel, who may leave carpenter Conor with an achy-breaky heart, while Latin lothario Antonio unleashes his best moves on medical scientist Sinead.

Following the resounding success of last year’s series, First Dates Ireland is set to be bigger and better with 12 episodes due to air this time around. The first series of the show generated an average audience of 278,000 viewers and proved particularly popular amongst women.

The new series sees the return of Maître D’ extraordinaire Mateo Saina and his trusty colleagues: barman Ethan Miles and waitress Alice Marr – once again playing Cupid as daters meet face-to-face for the first time.

Barman Ethan Miles Maître d’ Mateo Saina and waitress Alice Marr

This year viewers can look forward to more fun and frolics from the First Dates Ireland restaurant including cousins double dating, more bathroom chats and it wouldn’t be Ireland if we didn’t have a couple of daters that didn’t recognise each other from previous encounters. 

First Dates Ireland is back with a bang on RTÉ Player, available to watch live and on-demand along with First Dates Ireland Extras which will feature reactions from some famous faces including Roz Purcell, Stefanie Preissner and Home and Away’s George Mason available straight after each episode airs.  It will also feature the most popular date of each episode.