Liz Doyle‘We grew up with bombs and bullets and you know, I didn’t go to the cinema until I was 19… because there were too many bombs.’

As heard on The Ryan Tubridy Show

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Ever wish you could just arrive in a room of eligible singles looking to meet someone like you?  With Liz Doyle’s dating agency with a difference, the days of scrambling for an excuse to leave early on awkward one-on-one first dates are over.  She joined Ryan Tubridy to talk about ‘The Fine Dining Club’, which brings groups of single professionals together for a dinner party at which the pressure is off and the conversation can flow.

First to her past though, Liz grew up in Belfast during the troubles and her father was one of only two Catholic judges, a fact for which he was shot and killed by the IRA while bringing an old lady to mass as part of an outreach scheme with the Vincent de Paul Society.

“When you live in Northern Ireland, if you talk to anybody of my generation… we grew up with bombs and bullets and you know, I didn’t go to the cinema until I was 19, you just didn’t go to the cinema because there were too many bombs…  We lived a very nice middle-class life and then it changed one day…  Dad and I went to mass, Mum was in London and my father was killed by two gunmen from the IRA and they came to church with us.  They went to communion with us.”

Ryan Tubridy and Liz Doyle

“I think that’s the thing that people in the south forget is that the IRA killed an awful lot of Catholics in Northern Ireland,” said Liz, explaining that her father was seen as “working with the enemy”.

“He believed that you should change things from the inside, that the only way the British would hear the Irish voice is if you work with them.”

On graduating from college, Liz worked abroad for Goldman Sachs where she thrived, and then for Lehman Brothers until she arrived one morning and it had dramatically closed overnight – “it was so shocking”.  Liz decided to come home to Belfast for a time, never intending to stay, until a business idea struck her when she was hosting a dinner party for single friends and ultimately, ‘The Fine Dining Club’ was born, bringing together people from all walks of life.

“We have teachers, we have lovely farmers, lots of lovely farmers.. vets, the odd radio personality… we have politicians, most people are working, decent jobs and work, that’s it.”

Liz says the club is the perfect antidote for over 30’s who aren’t keen on finding love online and there’s certainly no age restriction, with one member aged 90!

“I think dating is a bit of a metaphor for life.  Things happen, you’ve been divorced, you’ve been separated, somebody maybe has been widowed, you have to move on.  I’m a great believer in move forward, you can’t keep looking back.  Onwards and upwards.”

Click here to listen to The Ryan Tubridy Show.

© The Listener 2018

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