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Love on the Luas: Tracking romances on Dublin’s tram system

Can love and romance be found on the Luas? Couples and friends on the red and green lines share how to keep the spark alive

Can love and romance can be found on their Luas journeys?

From a weekend getaway in Wexford, a dinner in the city centre, and a tradition involving swapping roses and books, The Irish Times spoke to several couples and groups of friends on the Luas about their take on Valentine’s Day, whether they think love and romance can be found on their Luas journeys, and how to keep the spark alive.

Valentina Brambilla, from Italy, and Felix Gubert, from Spain, have been a couple for two years and are recent graduates of Trinity College Dublin
How did you meet?

Valentina: We did the same master’s degree in Trinity in international management.

Do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Valentina: It’s my namesake day and we celebrate that element of it, but not Valentine’s in the traditional sense. It’s really capitalistic, in my opinion.

Felix: Where I come from, there’s another tradition, called St George’s Day, on 23rd April. Traditionally, the man gives the one he loves a rose, and he receives a book.


Valentina: We are very equal, so we give each other both a rose and a book.

Can the Luas be romantic?

Felix: It’s not the best place to find love, that’s for sure. But maybe it depends on the area and the time of day.

Valentina: Public transport here [is] always late, so the last thing you think is “I’m going to find the love of my life”. But the Luas is better than the bus. So maybe there’s a chance.

Any tips for other couples?

Felix: Learn magic tricks.

Paul Healy and Claire Foran, from Dublin, have been a couple for a year-and-a-half, and have a seven-month-old daughter, Zara
How long have you been together?

Claire: About a year-and-a-half. We worked next door to each other and then ended up working in the same pub, but Paul’s from the same area as me, Blanchardstown. We lived up the road but never knew each other. I don’t know why, we just never crossed paths then.

Paul: The pub we worked in was our first date. And then on to another pub, O’Neill’s.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Claire: We haven’t decided what to do yet, because we have to get a babysitter first. Last year, we went to Wexford for a weekend away. It was nice, easy-going.

Paul: Listened to loads of Irish music and had pints.

How do you keep the romance alive?

Claire: Have a baby. Honest to god, it’s changed my life. I never thought I’d have kids, but every day is 10-times better with Zara. And you don’t get bored of each other when you have a baby.

Ronan O’Reilly and Isabelle Janssen, who are both students, have been a couple for five months
How old are you?

Isabelle: We’re both 19. Today’s my birthday, actually.

Ronan: That’s why I have these flowers. They’re for her birthday.

How did you meet?

Ronan: We were in school together, but we didn’t date then. We met at a mutual friend’s birthday later and started talking again.

Where are you heading on the Luas tonight?

Ronan: We’re going to the launch night for a musical I’m in. Carrie.

Will you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Isabelle: It’s his musical opening night on Valentine’s night. I’ll go along.

Ronan: I like Valentine’s but I also think it’s very commercialised at this point.

Isabelle: I agree. It’s nice to have an occasion to do nice things, but I personally think don’t wait until February 14th to buy a greeting card or tell someone how you feel about them.

Is the Luas romantic?

Isabelle: Not at rush hour.

Ronan: I think spending time with someone you love on the Luas can be romantic. Anywhere can be, if you’re with them.

Jill Deering and Jennifer Rock, both business owners, have been together since 2020 and will be married this September
How did your romance start?

Jennifer: We met at a work event. We own our own businesses. We were there talking about female entrepreneurship.

Jill: That was in 2019. We developed a friendship and then in early 2020, just before Covid hit, we went for a walk. When the lockdown happened and we couldn’t hang out any more, the conversations continued and blossomed, and the phone calls got longer.

Jennifer: We were talking every night and started courting almost in an old school manner. We really fell in love with the person rather than the physical aspect and it’s a good foundation. Now we’re engaged.

How did you propose?

Jill: Two women, two proposals. That’s how we roll. We had talked about marriage and we knew we were both locked in, but wanted to keep it a surprise for each other. I proposed in Adare last March.

Jennifer: I used to send her a delivery every Friday during lockdown and it always had a lavender twig in it. When we got to meet up in person, I brought lavender. It’s been woven in our relationship ever since. So I proposed in a lavender field.

Will you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Jennifer: Yes. I’m a hopeless romantic. My dad wrote a poem for my mam every Friday for the 40 years they were married before he passed. We don’t do grand gestures for Valentine’s Day but we do like to take the time.

What will you do?

Jennifer: I have plans for Jill but she doesn’t know what they are yet. We do a surprise date for each other each month. Jill brought me out in January, so Valentine’s falls in my month.

Do you feel like Dublin, and the Luas, are romantic?

Jill: I think it can be. People taking the Luas to go on a date or travel home together after a date.

Jennifer: Whether you’re with friends or a person you’ve just met, there’s an opportunity for love and romance in every moment. It’s about your mindset.

Students Anna Chen (19) and Eoin Doyle (22) have been friends for a few months
How long have you been friends?

Eoin: A while. We met in college in Bolton Street, studying property and economics together.

Do you like to celebrate Valentine’s Day with friends?

Eoin: I do, sometimes. I’m not in a relationship, so whatever happens. We’ll see on the day. I’ve never done too much for it.

Anna: I’m in a relationship and whatever we do will be a surprise.

What’s your opinion of the tradition?

Anna: It used to be really bad, seeing other people doing things. But it gets nicer when you are with someone and appreciate the love around you more.

Eoin: It’s just a day.

Is it possible to find love on the Luas?

Anna: No, definitely not.

Maya Banerjee and Matthew Heaney, a couple for 2½ years, are mathematics students at Trinity College Dublin
Is this your first Valentine’s together?

Maya: It’ll technically be our third Valentine’s as a couple, but because of circumstance we haven’t spent it together yet, so I suppose it’s our first.

Any ideas?

Maya: A surprise for me, hopefully.

Matthew: I’ve been thinking about it. I won’t give it away.

Is Dublin romantic?

Matthew: Sure.

Is the Luas romantic?

They both laugh.

Any tips for other couples?

Maya: He cooks and cleans and packs my lunch in the morning. He’s just a very nice person. It works.

Sara Butch, Kyle Bub and David O’Day, from the United States, have been friends for several years through their jobs in the tech industry
How long are you friends?

Kyle: Five years? Six years? Maybe seven.

Sara: How do you not remember our anniversary? God damn.

Kyle: She’s my work wife and he’s my work husband.

Sara: We actually travel together more than I get to with my husband.

Do you like Valentine’s Day?

David: I do. I have a fiancee and we try to do something nice. It’s not a huge deal, but I’ll plan something for her.

Sara: When I was single it was a big deal and now it’s annoying.

Kyle: I have a girlfriend and she doesn’t care that much about Valentine’s, so neither do I. Last year I got her a massage as a gift, though.

Sara: That’s a great gift.

Do you think people can find romance on public transport?

David: Maybe.

Sara: Not in Philly, it smells. But here it’s great.

Kyle: Public transport is easy to romanticise, if you see someone beautiful sitting across from you, and then you never see them again. Or you see them every day on the same route, then all of a sudden you strike up a conversation.

Miguel Fernandez and Christina Ibinga, dating for three months, are both from Spain and work in Dublin city centre
23/01/2024 - FEATURES- Love on the Luas Feature. Miguel Fernandez and Christina Ibinga. Photo: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.
How did you meet?

Christina: In the city centre in my shop. I work in a shoe shop. I followed him on Instagram and we started talking.

Miguel: That was three months ago.

What was your first date?

Christina: He arrived super late, but the restaurant was really good and he bought the dinner.

Miguel: We had steak.

Will you do anything to mark Valentine’s Day?

Christina: Maybe not. On Valentine’s, instead of buying normal bonbons, people just buy heart-shaped ones and that way the shops sell them for a higher price. But for us, I can buy him chocolate every day.

Where are you going on the Luas?

Miguel: To my house to have dinner together.

Do you think it’s romantic here?

Christina: It’s very crowded and narrow. I prefer the metro in my home city, Madrid. It’s bigger and prettier.

Miguel: I’m from the south of Spain. I prefer the metro too. It’s more old-fashioned and romantic.