Country music star Cliona Hagan has spoken of her joy after boyfriend Simon Sheerin staged a fairytale proposal to her by a Co. Westmeath lake.
Cliona, who was also a finalist in last year's Dancing with the Stars, revealed that she had no idea about the events that were going to unfold when she went out for a walk with drummer Simon, who is also a member of her band.
"We went down to our favourite lake, Lough Ree in Co Westmeath, where we always have a nice walk," Cliona tells the Sunday World.
"Then I saw this beautiful arch and flowers, and a red carpet and candles. "He had my favourite song playing, Shania Twain's You're Still The One, and he just got down on one knee and proposed.
"The two of us were crying and it was such a beautiful moment I could hardly even speak."
However, Co. Tyrone entertainer Cliona did find the words to accept Simon's proposal of marriage when the Westmeath man produced a stunning ring.
"It's just so beautiful, I can't stop looking at it," she says. "It's platinum, has a hexagon shape and there's lots of diamonds. It's absolutely fabulous. It's everything and more that I could have wished for.
"Simon chose it and he did so good. He has great taste and he's just such a stylish person anyway, so picking a ring was no bother to him."
Cliona reveals how Simon did suss her out on her favourite style of engagement ring some time ago.
"A couple of months back when we were passing shops we stopped to look in the window of a jeweller's and he was asking me, 'if we ever got married what ring would you like?' I had never thought about it, but I saw a few rings that are similar to this ring and I pointed out which one I liked."
Although Cliona says she was overwhelmed by Simon's elaborate display of love by the lake, it was in keeping with his character. "Simon is the most romantic person you'll ever meet, I got a great guy with this one," she laughs.
A member of well known Westmeath family the Sheerins, Simon is one of 11 children, seven of whom are in the music business. His brother, Tom Sheerin, was fiddle player and musical director of Nathan Carter's band for many years.
Simon has worked with several bands, including Lisa McHugh's, and is currently a member of both Cliona's and Take It To The Limit who perform the music of the Eagles.
"Simon is obviously from the fantastic Sheerin family, who are wonderful musicians, and I've known him for years. I always saw Simon through other events and then he joined my band as the MD," Cliona says.
"We're best friend and we've been together as a couple now for two years. It has worked out so beautifully because we were friends to begin with.
"We had such a great relationship and now, of course, it has blossomed into something so much more. Apart from everything else he is also a fantastic cook and I'm not, so that actually works out great too," she laughs.
Although the couple got engaged on December 17, Cliona and Simon only revealed their happy news on social media on Christmas Eve.
"We shared it with family and friends first, and then on social media for all the people who have been following Simon and I since lockdown when we've been doing the Facebook Live performances," she says.
"The amount of people congratulating us and just really genuinely happy for us has been just lovely."
Cliona and Simon haven't set a date for their wedding. "Well, we're going to enjoy the engagement first, and then we'll see how the whole Covid thing is looking before we plan for a wedding.
"We would love everyone we want to be there to celebrate our big day," Cliona adds.