Bobby Murphy
Nessa Maloney is a Lieuntenant Commander in the Irish Naval Service while Bobby Murphy works in Abu Dhabi as an IT consultant. They’re been kept apart because of the coronavirus pandemic. Image Credit: Bobby Murphy

WEXFORD, IRELAND: Love can conquer all – even a global pandemic.

Abu Dhabi resident Bobby Murphy was so determined to pop the big question to his girlfriend Nessa Moloney more than 6,000 kilometres away, he couldn’t let coronavirus get in the way.

The IT consultant, who works for Aspira in the UAE capital, is head over in heels in love with Moloney, a Lieutenant Commander in the Irish Naval Service based at Haulbowline, Cork.

Their families have been staying in touch through Zoom, holding regular online quizzes using the video-conferencing software.

“I have been in Abu Dhabi since October 2018, but we meet many times during the year,” Bobby explained to RTE, Ireland’s national broadcaster.

“I wanted to marry Nessa, but I wanted to ask her parents’ blessing first. Face-to-face, in Ireland. Preferably last Easter weekend. But the world shut down and we all had to stay home and stay safe.”

He secretly placed a Zoom call to Nessa’s parents, asking permission for their daughter’s hand in marriage.

They gave their blessing, allowing Bobby to move to the second stage of his cunning cupid scheme.

“A few days later, it was the weekly family table quiz, which we use Zoom for,” a beaming Bobby said. “Nessa and I were going to be the quizmasters. So I did a picture quiz and figured I would just slot in another question.”

Bobby Murphy
Abu Dhabi IT consultant Bobby Murphy used the Zoom video app to propose to his girlfriend Nessa Maloney who was more than 6,000 kilometres away. Image Credit: Bobby Murphy

That question, on screen, was: “Nessa would you marry me?”

Nessa, who was watching online at Naval Headquarters, was stunning.

Her answer?

“Yes Bobby, I will!”

Reflecting on Bobby’s proposal, she said she’s “very, very happy.”

“It was lovely to have all the family there and you could see everybody was really excited, as are extended family and friends as the news has spread,” she said.

The pair haven’t set a date yet for their nuptials. And with Covid-19 restrictions in place, they’re not even sure when or how they call celebrate their coronavirus-era engagement.

“We don’t know when that will be, but Zoom is definitely helping with being apart,” Bobby said. “We talk or video call every day.”

- Mick O’Reilly is the Gulf News Foreign Correspondent based in Europe