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Newport Beach Engagement: Katelyn and Cathal


In early January of 2014, Katelyn and Cathal met at a bar in Galway, Ireland. Katelyn had just arrived in Ireland for a semester abroad with a group of other students so they decided to go out in Galway. They had been told this bar, called Hole in the Wall, was where people would go for cheap drinks before heading out to the other bars. Since Katelyn and the other girls were American, they were completely unaware of what the typical dress code was for going out in Ireland. They showed up to the bar very underdressed in comparison to the Irish women’s attire. Cathal noticed the big group of  “yanks” in his words because they stuck out like sore thumbs, and easily were identified as Americans. Katelyn and Cathal happened to make eye contact with one another from across the room. Cathal knew right then and there that he wanted to get to know her, so he started talking to one of her friends, hoping she’d be more interested to talk to him since he was keeping her on her toes. Katelyn hates that she fell for his shenanigans, but her competitive nature eventually caused her to work her way into the conversation. Cathal introduced himself and she really struggled to pronounce his name for the rest of the night. She called him Karl, Colin, and so many other names. Eventually, she got it when she realized that you don’t pronounce the t, and the first part of his name sounds like “Caw” like a bird and “hull” like a ship; Cathal.

After a few hours, Cathal wandered off, and her group of friends was leaving to go to another bar. Katelyn was feeling uncharacteristically bold, so she walked up to him and his friends and invited them to join them at Quays Bar (An old converted church; with a massive organ and stain glass windows). Low and behold Cathal showed up later that night at Quays, and they danced the night away to a cover band, playing some of the best live music they’ve ever heard. At the end of the night, Cathal and her exchanged numbers. They started spending a lot of time with each other on their college campus and became great friends. They’d grab coffee and tea together, meet up at the bar for nights out, watch movies at his apartment, and share pints of Ben & Jerry’s, etc. Since Katelyn was studying abroad for only a few months, neither of them was thinking it would go past friends, but the more they hung out, the more their affection for one another naturally grew. They officially started dating on February 28th, 2014 when Cathal and Katelyn were back at Katelyn’s favorite bar in the world, the Quays (“keys”), the same place they first met. Cathal admitted to her that night that he was really falling for her, and that even though she was leaving to go back home to the states in May and regardless of the fact that they weren’t supposed to really become anything, he wanted to “officially” ask her to be his girlfriend. They’ve been making it work ever since!

Katelyn is currently a medical student and will be a physician when she graduates next year. Cathal is a computer scientist/IT professional currently working as an operations engineer at a telecommunications company. Cathal loves how Katelyn is such a kind, caring, and extremely compassionate person. She’s so nurturing, that he can remember numerous accounts on their nights out, finding her trying to help very drunk or sick people. She’d be making sure they would get home safely. He also admires how ridiculously intelligent intellectually, but also emotionally,  she is, knowing people very well and what they need. He really admires her incredible patience, especially with children, the elderly, and in situations in which other people might get frustrated. These qualities that he loves is why he knows she’ll make such a great doctor, wife, and mom one day. Katelyn loves that Cathal is an amazing friend, loyal almost to a fault, in that if he’s ever considered your friend, you’ll forever be one to him. He’s always helping his friends and is very forgiving. She loves that Cathal has convictions and stands up for what he believes is right, makes an informed opinion about an issue, and sticks to his guns, but is also open-minded and respectful of other people’s opinions, even if he doesn’t agree. What she admires the most is how he has such a warm heart and that if you need anything, he will help. Whether or not you think you need him, he will be there. Katelyn specifically remembers a time while she was studying abroad in Ireland, just 3 months after they met, right after her grandfather passed away from cancer back in the US. She was flying home to attend the services and had to catch a bus to get to the airport at 5 am. Cathal told her to call him when she got to the bus station to let him know she got there okay (being so early in the morning). She didn’t want to wake him up so she didn’t bother calling him. When she got to her bus, her phone rang and Cathal called, telling her to turn around since he was in the bus terminal. He biked across Galway City at 4:30 am just to give her a hug. She definitely cried the whole way to the Dublin airport and knew right then and there that she loved him.


It was on June 7, 2019, where a family visit to Scotland, turned into an unforgettable day for Katelyn and Cathal. They were in Edinburgh, Scotland visiting Cathal’s sister Cáit (pronounced “cawtch”) who works as a nurse & waitress there. They decided to spend the day before their visit with her, seeing the city, visiting the touristy and local spots, attending a Scotch tasting, and even had a cup of tea together at the cafe where JK Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book since they are huge Harry Potter fans! The next day, they made reservations to have dinner at a really nice whisky bar and restaurant Cait worked at. They got dressed up and walked into town a few hours before dinner to see more of the city. It was the perfect warm day, with blue skies, so they decided to get strawberry daiquiris and a donut from a food stand. They sat down around the gardens just below Edinburgh Castle. Cathal mentioned a couple of times about wanting to get a photo of them together with the castle in the background but Katelyn was so happy just eating her donut and drinking the daiquiri, she kept having him wait. Eventually, he kept pressing her to take the photo, so she got up and Cathal gave her a big hug and started saying really sweet things to her.  She barely remembers anything he was saying from the pure adrenaline, but just remembers how he was talking about his love for her and how lucky he was to have her in his life, and that even though they didn’t have the future figured out yet that he still wanted to spend the rest of his life with her. He got down on one knee and asked her to marry him. She was completely stunned and so surprised that she couldn’t even cry from being in pure shock. He’d had always said that he didn’t think he’d get married until his 30’s so she was so surprised by the proposal, she started saying, “shut the f- up! shut the f- up!!” over and over instead of “yes,” causing him to think she was saying, “no,” so he had to ask her again before getting a real, “yes!”

They just sat there on the lawn in the garden, basking in the moment for a while, and then she of course had to call her mom to tell her the big news. Cathal told her all about the custom design of the ring with a jeweler in Dublin and how much effort he’d put in to make it that much more perfect. She fell in love with the ring at first sight. They then went to dinner where his sister, Cáit, was working, so they were able to tell her right away. The restaurant gave them a bottle of champagne on the house! They called/skyped the rest of their families and closest friends to tell them all the news while they sipped champagne and Cáit took pictures. Cathal really couldn’t have picked a more perfect place to propose in Edinburgh since they visited the city in 2018 with his family. He even called her dad the day before, back in the states, to ask his permission to marry her. Which her dad definitely granted Cathal his blessing, reiterated that it was a good thing he’d only asked the day before because he wouldn’t have been able to keep it from Mary Kate (Katelyn’s mom), and could have potentially ruined the surprise. Cathal later shared how Katelyn would stop to take pictures of the city and how nervous he was trying to make sure she was walking on the opposite side of him where the ring was. He was so worried she would feel the ring box. Katelyn admits not having a clue at all and how calm he was that day!

Their favorite place they traveled together is definitely Edinburgh, Scotland. Besides their engagement day, their favorite day together was when they spent the day skiing in Maine last year – on the mountain, where Cathal was learning how to ski. They took countless rides, stopping for après ski at the Mountain Side Lodge, and finished the day with a puzzle and some wine. Their perfect date night would be going out to eat some tasty food, with ambient music, followed by going to the movies. They are huge fans of watching films at the movie theater, making sure to not miss the trailers, and always sharing a large popcorn together. And of course, on the way out, they make sure to discuss their thoughts on the film. They definitely are up for staying at home to cuddle up on the couch, watching a Harry Potter marathon, while eating pizza. They are definitely fun-loving, outgoing, and social butterflies, who enjoy meeting new people and are always up for a new adventure or place to explore. Yet they are both home-bodies at their core, who love to be a bit lazy and introverted from time to time.

Cathal and Katelyn are looking forward to being together officially, as a team. They love being able to tackle the world together, as each other’s best friend, support system, and partner. Since they’ve spent approximately 2/3 of their entire relationship in different continents, they still managed to mature together individually and as a couple. Despite this unique aspect of their relationship, of being nearly 4,000 miles apart, with a 5 hours time difference, they managed to make time for each other nearly every day, ensuring that one another was (and still is), always a priority. They both are two different people with very different interests, hobbies, talents, and personalities, yet are on the same page when it comes to the real important things. They cannot wait to celebrate their beautiful love on their wedding day, surrounded by all of their friends and family when they officially become ‘One.’

Just so cute together!

Such beautiful ring!

Katelyn, you are so gorgeous!!!



So cute!

This dress couldn’t have been more perfect!

Just love the pure emotion displayed in black and whites, so beautiful.

After the beach, we headed to Ochre Court because it definitely gave off the ‘castle vibes’ that reminded them of their engagement day.

It’s like I wasn’t even there, they’re so sweet together.

Dancing together has always been their thing and it definitely shows.

These two! 😍

Katelyn and Cathal,

I cannot thank you enough for such a fun and relaxing time together at your engagement session in Newport, RI! I know that it wasn’t as soon as we originally planned, but it ended up being that much sweeter after the delay of your reunification!!! So glad Cathal is here to stay with you forever and you two will be officially married next year. I am so beyond excited to document your special day and cannot wait to meet your families. So much love for you two, I cannot wait to be apart of your amazing celebration!

Much joy,

Charity HOPE

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