Young Donegal man Ciaran Kelly went all-out to impress his girlfriend with a pawesome puppy birthday present.

Flowers, chocolates and jewellery are usually the typical gifts from the other half, but Ciaran Kelly from Termon surprised his girlfriend Niamh Watson with the experience of a lifetime in a Puppy Palace!

The couple’s very romantic ‘tail’ was featured on the Dogs Trust Ireland page on Valentine’s Day. The charity is convinced that they have found the most romantic man in the country.

Speaking to Donegal Woman, Ciaran revealed how he schemed with the charity to shock Niamh on her 18th birthday last December. This surprise had been in development for months beforehand.

Niamh was in Dublin for a Christmas concert when she and her sister decided to visit Howth the following day. Niamh’s sister Aoife was key to the plan – she knew that Ciaran had travelled up that morning on a John McGinley bus and was waiting for them at the Dogs Trust Rehoming Centre. Aoife suggested they drop in for a visit, where the team were ready to give Niamh special treatment and pretend she was their 100th visitor.

Niamh was admiring four energetic Labradors (her favourite breed) puppies in the Puppy Palace when she looked up to find the volunteer in the kennel was actually Ciaran!

The birthday girl teared up with laughter to see Ciaran in the white suit with the black coated pooches. It wasn’t long before she got the chance to get dressed up for a playtime with the puppies herself.

“The staff took her to the puppy block and then into the puppies. We played with more dogs and then got a tour of the palace and saw all the amazing work that they do up at Dogs Trust. It’s just incredible, they need more volunteers and funds and there’s a huge amount of strays being handed in that they have no room for. It’s a fantastic place,” Ciaran said.

It was smiles all-around for the young couple and Aoife as they played with the four pups and Niamh’s dreams came true. Ciaran’s romantic gesture is going to go down as one for boyfriends in Donegal to try to beat!

Check out Niamh’s reaction video from DogsTrustIrelandOnline here:


Ciaran is full of gratitude to the team at Dogs Trust Ireland for helping him plan the surprise.

“The people at Dogs Trust couldn’t have done enough for us, Catherine was amazing. She lives at the Dogs Trust and works on call all day every day. The work she does and the passion she has for dogs is just unbelievable,” Ciaran said.

The staff were happy to host the Donegal group, take photos and record the experience. They kindly dropped them off at their bus stop at the end of the day.

Ciara McGowan, Communications Officer for the charity told Donegal Woman how the whole event was a special moment for everyone involved. “It was so adorable. Ciaran contacted us through Facebook and had clearly done his research and we were happy to arrange everything with him. It’s not something we can generally accommodate because we have very limited staff numbers but this was a very special request. We love watching back on the video now,” Ciara said.

Ciaran Kelly and Niamh Watson

Dogs Trust is Ireland’s largest dog welfare charity. The Rehoming Centre in Dublin has to date rescued and rehomed over 6,000 dogs and puppies to their forever homes. The special Puppy Wings allow the charity to rescue an additional 500 puppies each year, along with their mothers. At any given time there are 150-200 dogs looking for homes.

To donate or learn more about Dogs Trust Ireland, visit

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