Hermitage dream: Darragh’s marriage proposal accepted by a tearful Jessika

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

Darragh Griffin from Limerick band Hermitage Green, proposing to his long-time girlfriend Jessika Zebo live on stage last Saturday. Picture: Paulo Nuno - and below, Darragh and Jessika
DARRAGH Graham of Limerick band Hermitage Green played the performance of a lifetime in proposing to long-term girlfriend Jessika Zebo live on stage on Saturday night.

DARRAGH Graham of Limerick band Hermitage Green played the performance of a lifetime in proposing to long-term girlfriend Jessika Zebo live on stage on Saturday night.

The brave musician proposed to the shocked Jessika in front of hundreds of people in the Academy in Dublin, where the group were playing a sold-out gig.

Thankfully for Darragh –originally from Wicklow but living in Limerick for the past 11 years – she said yes, and the whole scene was captured for posterity on You Tube.

“Well, she didn’t say anything initially, I got the feeling she said yes,” laughed Darragh this week.

“She said afterward that she meant to say yes, but couldn’t really speak at the time. I couldn’t hang around too long because I had to get back on stage and play the next song, so I just took it that it was yes.”

The five-piece folk-rockers, who boast a growing legion of fans in Ireland, bearing favourable comparisons to Mumford and Sons in some circles, took a pause during the gig while Darragh - accompanied by bandmate Darragh Griffin on guitar - sang a love song to Jessika, sister of flying Munster and Ireland winger Simon Zebo.

To the crowd’s amazement and as part of the lyrics of self-penned song, Ma’Lady, Darragh jumped down off the stage and made a beeline for Jessika, where he produced a ring and popped the question.

“I wouldn’t normally sing at all, I was more nervous when I was singing the song than anything else,” laughed Darragh, who studied sports science in the University of Limerick and in the last couple of weeks was awarded a PhD by the university.

“Jess was probably the only one that didn’t have an idea because pretty much everybody knew about it. I got her friends and family and mine to come up to the gig, it was a good excuse because it was such a big gig for us. She didn’t suspect anything.”

Darragh told bandmates Dan and Barry Murphy, Darragh Griffin and Dermot Sheedy about his plans on the band’s recent sell-out tour of Australia. Up until recently social worker Jessika, who has represented Ireland in athletics, was the band’s manager and is close to all of the members.

“I said it to them the first day, we were having breakfast in a bar that we were playing in that night and they all started banging the table and screaming, they were pretty happy,” he laughed.

“She is very close to everyone in the band so they were all chuffed and delighted.”

The happy couple, who lived in Limerick for the last number of years before recently moving to Killaloe, have been together for more than a decade, meeting on an athletics trip abroad.

Despite her happy and tearful reaction, Jessika had previously warned Darragh not to attempt such a public proposal, which he ignored.

“We saw some sort of proposal and it was very public and she said, ‘whatever you do, don’t ever propose to me on stage’! I thought then that maybe it wasn’t a good idea!”