IF EVER there was someone who managed to pull on the entire heartstrings of a nation, it was one Dubliner on RTE’s First Dates last week.
Paddy Smyth from Sutton had us all laughing and crying as we witnessed his blind date with David from Cork.
The two hit it off and the audiences’ joy was palpable. The date was so moving that Paddy’s name was trending on Twitter as it aired.
“I can’t believe it – the amount of coverage I got is insane,” he says. “I almost cried; I was so overwhelmed.”
The 28-year-old disability campaigner is well known for his hilarious Snapchat account based around his tag, #MyDisabledLife.
Having been born with Cerebral Palsy in his legs, Paddy uses crutches to walk and uses social media to provide a “no-holds barred look into how [he lives his] life and deal with having this condition”.
After the official date in The Gibson, the pair went to The George, where there was “some kissing” according to Paddy. “Then it kind of fizzled after that,” he said.
While the two are still texting, the fact that David lives in Cork has been a hindrance.
Paddy says: “We’re both at different stages in our lives. He lives in Cork, I live in Dublin, and any time we arrange to meet up it doesn’t work out, so it almost feels like just a friendship now.
“I need to see him again to see if there’s anything there.”
Having watched the show when it aired last Thursday, Paddy says he was reminded of just how great a time he had with Dave.
“I thought, ‘Oh God, I actually do really like him’, and I think I just forgot a bit.”
Ultimately, Paddy wants to be with someone who can totally look past his disability and who can have a bit of banter with.
“David was lovely and I really want to see him again but I want to be with someone who’s able to slag me and not be on a pedestal of inspiration to them.”
Highs and lows
Having proven to be such a hit with viewers on First Dates, Paddy has now gotten another gig off the back of it, appearing on TV3’s Six O’Clock show every Tuesday to discuss the highs and lows of Irish Celebrity Masterchef.
“I try to cook some of the dishes from the show, too.”
Paddy says that he is using the exposure he’s gained from being on First Dates to shed light on disability awareness.
“I’m using it to give my own confidence a boost as well. For the first time in ages, I feel attractive.
“But the biggest thing is breaking boundaries. I’ve never seen, especially in Ireland, a person with a disability talk about it in a really open, honest and funny way.”
First Dates Ireland airs every Thursdays at 9:30pm on RTE2.