In the summer of 2008, Darragh was traveling home to New York via Heathrow after a vacation in the Balkans. “Everything was delayed,” he recalls. “They offered me a hotel room for the night because I couldn’t go home that day.”
He went down to the bar to drown his sorrows. “It was full of people watching a match in the quarter-finals of the European Championship. I heard an American woman ordering a martini, ”he says. When the waiter accidentally handed her a glass full of vermouth, she went “ballistic,” she says, causing a huge scene.
Soon after, Darragh heard another American accent. Susan was traveling from California to visit her sister in Berlin and was also late. “They put me in the smallest hotel room I’d ever seen, so I decided to go to the bar for a drink,” he says. She also ordered a martini. Darragh says, “After what just happened, I said I wouldn’t do that if I was her.” Susan opted for a beer and they started chatting.
“It was very comfortable right away,” she says. “We were laughing out loud and when we finally looked up, we were the only two left at the bar.” Darragh says they had a lot in common. “We had both been married before and we had many of the same interests. We even liked the same beer, “he says. They exchanged numbers and traveled to their destinations the next day.
A month later, Darragh was visiting Los Angeles on business. “I told Susan I was coming and asked her if she wanted to go have a drink.” Susan wasn’t sure if it was more than friendship, so she took some friends with her. But she and Darragh soon realized that there was a spark; they shared their first kiss that night. After another meeting, on the beach, Darragh flew back to New York.
The couple stayed in touch and he returned for a visit in August, and Susan visited him in New York for Thanksgiving in November. Before meeting, Darragh had planned to move to the UK or his home country of Ireland, but his plans quickly changed. “I found out that I could transfer to Los Angeles in April 2009 so I could be closer to Susan.”
The couple lived in separate apartments for a year, before moving in together in 2010. Three years later, they got engaged and married in their backyard on July 4, 2014. “We planned it in six weeks and hired an Irish band. It was a great day, ”says Susan.
Despite her happiness, she felt something was missing. “We had been trying to have a baby since 2011,” says Susan. “We had four years of unsuccessful fertility treatment, which was really difficult, but it brought us closer together.” When they got married, they had “given up” and decided to pursue a life full of travel and other fun activities.
“When there were some signs that she might be pregnant on our honeymoon, we didn’t want to get our hopes up, after so much disappointment before,” says Susan. “When we came back and I realized it was, it was amazing.” Their little girl, Aoife, was born in 2015.
Not long after, the couple made the decision to move to Oregon, Susan’s home state, to be closer to their family. Since 2016, they have lived in McMinnville, 30 miles from Portland, with Aoife and her two dogs. Susan has started a chocolate manufacturing business, while Darragh works in hospitality. “Marriage can be difficult, but I know he will always be there,” says Susan. “No matter how dark and bleak things are, we will always find a way to solve anything together.” Darragh loves his wife’s smile and sense of humor. “She has no airs or grace about her. She is real and genuine, ”he says. “Susan is a great person, so ambitious and motivated. She always supports everything I want to do or try. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism