heart shaped image of DCU love stories

DCU Valentine's Stories

We’re celebrating love at DCU today and sharing some of alumni stories in their own words - both romantic and platonic! -  from our #DCULove competition! 


DCU love
Thomas Ward, a 2021 BA International Relations graduate, met Leanne Hanafin, a 2019 Communications student, when he was a new student Ambassadors and instantly struck up a friendship.

“I remember what Leanne first said to me to this day. It was 'Hi I'm Leanne, I'm from Kerry'. I then replied 'what's up Leanne, I'm from Ballymun'. Leanne then informed me that she never met anyone from Ballymun. We both laughed. Little did we know what havoc that conversation would cause for both of our lives going forward.

The following years brought many years of wild adventures. From Leanne being my communications manager in the Humanities faculty election. To me being with Leanne when she purchased her first car.

Our love and friendship has grown so much over the years. She is always there to pick me up when I fall. I mean that literally as she has picked up on the Nubar dance floor many times over the years and that hasn't changed much in 2024. Leanne loves a 10 minute voice note and honestly it's like listening to David Attenborough. I would listen to that girl all day.

I was there to see Leanne grow into a superstar from appearing on her DCU radio show Spill The Tea to seeing her host her own show on 98fm. Leanne has skyrocketed over the years and that's what I love about her the most. She works hard and always tries her best at everything she does.

Leanne has supported me every time I strive for better and every time I end up back at the end of the dole queue. I keep Leanne on her toes in this friendship and I know she would have it no other way.

Our friendship that was created by an encounter in DCU during 2018 has and will shape our lives forever.

Who knew from that first conversation at the DCU Open Day in 2018 that Leanne would come and join me for a jog around Ballymun and that I would fly down to Kerry to meet her family and see where she grew up.

To the moon with our friendship.”


DCU students at graduation
Mariane Galpo Doyle met James, MEng Mechanical and Manufacturing Eng. 2017, in a technical drawing class - but at first she thought he might be someone else!

“I got accepted to do BEng Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering in DCU back in 2012.
Coming from not so isolated Carlow anymore, I was so excited to meet a lot of new friends in Dublin.

It was during the Technical Drawing module when our story started. I was signing my name on the attendance sheet when I saw the name James Doyle. I GOT SO EXCITED, because I thought he was the classmate I had in secondary school. So, I looked for this man in this class thinking it was the same classmate. Then I saw this small lad with blonde hair, and I laughed so hard, thinking to myself that "nah, cannot like this man". So, that was when I found out that the name James Doyle is so common in Ireland.

Years passed, we had different circles of friends. I was busy with my crushes and he was busy studying. As the number of engineering students decreased, our circles came to finally hang out with their circles, we had no choice, we had to work with each other. Engineering subjects were hard. I guess they also know me from running for SU Engineering onvenor, and as a student always running to be class rep.

Though I had different interests, I always felt this magnetic field whenever I saw their group. It was the last year of our Bachelor's Degree when I developed feelings towards him. I think I was more showy due to my Asian blood.

During 4th year of Engineering, I got to work in the same lab as his friend, and I told him that I liked James, and so on. He became the bridge. Anyways, it was like the final months of the degree, and after our exams, we had an opportunity to sort of start a relationship. But IT DID NOT WORK. I was a little bit bitter. We both decided to do a Masters Degree. I went to do Business, and James continued to do a Masters in Engineering, STILL IN DCU. As some of our friends went to do Masters as well, we kinda still saw each other during break times. And of course, Engineering has the best computer labs ever, It is where I went to do assignments. I tried to be friends with James but could not remove my feelings. I also tried to get off Facebook and snapchat to not get any sort of communication with him. But I failed. I just accepted that I liked him. And I told myself, if nothing happens after college, it's fine as well. At least, I showed him I like him right? Writing this story, I realised all those childish things.

So, I was working at the same time in Dealz. After work, I will buy these sweets for 3 for 1.50 euros. And I pretended to give everyone sweets while studying in the labs, but all I really wanted was to give James some sugar hahaha. And I am guessing it worked. After those heartbreaking years, we became a couple right after our Masters, 4 years later, we decided to get married (because he had no choice, I am the boss ) Take note: he had not proposed yet. We have this tradition that whenever we go around Dublin, we go to DCU to take a picture in front of the Engineering Building. So, one Saturday, he pretended we were taking pictures and got down on one knee, and I won't tell you what he said because it was funny. Then I said I do. I am guessing the security guards watching those security cameras were laughing. Now, we are nearly 2 years married, with 2 dogs, and building our foundation to a better future :D”

Well it sounds like it worked out for the best that it wasn’t your classmate on that first day after all, Mariane. Such a lovey story and we wish you all the best together for the future!


Frank and Tiffany Quinn
Frank and Tiffany Quinn, both Bsc General Nursing 2014, met after Tiffany deferred a year on the course.

“I saw Tiffany in HG20 in the nursing building on the first day of second year.
She had deferred her year so joined my class not knowing anyone, but she did it bravely and with determination. She sent out a class-wide email within the first few days looking for a group to join (we'd been assigned group work) and I really admired her for that.

She was taken under the wing of two ladies who used to sit in front of my friend group in lecture halls. They would always sit with her, I couldn't get a look in edgeways. Until! The two aforementioned ladies went out one night and were a bit worse for wear for our 9:00am class the next morning. Leaving Tiffany lost floundering in a sea of unknown people. This was my chance, my in!

I still don't know how I managed to psych myself up but I (seated in the row behind her as normal) held down the seat beside me and said "Hey blondie, don't be sitting on your own like an eijit". It wasn't long until I was head over heels about her, and with a fair bit of effort on my part it wasn't long until she was head over heels for me. We had our first kiss on one of the benches in the Park beside the campus.

We got each other through the course big time, through the several highs and lows. Flash forward several jobs, a 1 bed apartment then buying our wonderful house in 2017. We got married in November 2019 and have since welcomed 2 wonderful boys into our family.”

A great DCU love story,  and we’re so glad you shared your story with us, Frank and Tiffany!