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Love and Mair-riage Fair City: Will Mairead and Damien say 'I do'? Countdown begins to tense big day

As residents of Carrigstown put the final touches to the wedding, Mairead starts to have second thoughts as Damien's one night stand may come back to haunt him... but she has her own secrets now

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BLUSHING BRIDE: Fair City’s Mairead on her wedding day

BLUSHING BRIDE: Fair City’s Mairead on her wedding day

BLUSHING BRIDE: Fair City’s Mairead on her wedding day

As the countdown to the wedding of Mairead Casey and Damien Halpin begins, it's the question all Fair City viewers are asking - will they or won't they?

The two characters share a lot of similarities: they've both been married before, they both have a teenage daughter and they've also slept with other people in the lead-up to the big day.

The actors who play them may not be as colourful in real life, but each of them have intriguing life stories.

Maclean Burke (42) has played lad next door Damo since the late 1990s and has four children, most of whom are now adults.

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Damien is stunned by Mairead’s erratic behaviour

Damien is stunned by Mairead’s erratic behaviour

Damien is stunned by Mairead’s erratic behaviour

"I was only 22 when I became a father," he explains. "By the time I was 26 I had bought and sold my first two houses and I had three kids. It was all go when you are living in the moment.

"I always wanted to have a young family and they mean everything to me. I wanted to be young enough to play a five-a-side with them and that is what I can do."

Maclean is proud father to Cillian (20), Jude (18), Ava (16) and Beau (9).

"The two lads looked up to me for so long and now I'm the one looking up at them," he laughs. "I'm not hugely tall, but I'm not small. I'm 6ft and they are now towering over me and bigger men.

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Dearbhla and Damien after their one night stand

Dearbhla and Damien after their one night stand

Dearbhla and Damien after their one night stand

"I looked at the pictures of them five years ago in their Ireland tops and Leinster jerseys and now they're real men. My middle fellow is lifting bigger weights than me and I can throw a few weights around."

Maclean, who claims he has no idea where his 'hippy' parents got his unusual first name from, grew up in Sallynoggin in south Dublin before moving initially to Greystones in Co Wicklow and now Ashford.

He split up with his wife in recent years and is now in a relationship with his partner Cat, who works in the HSE.

"In Fair City, relationships have been a rollercoaster for Damo. He first came into it back in 1998. I think he came in as a love interest for Suzanne Doyle. He was a painter and decorator.

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Mairead has second thoughts

Mairead has second thoughts

Mairead has second thoughts

"Damo got married but that fell apart, he had an affair with Neasa Dillon. Then there were a couple of girls on the way.

"The next one was Caoimhe Dillon, he had a thing for the Dillons. Then just more recently with Mairead.

"Domestic abuse, that was Suzanne. That was a really good interesting story, the amount of fellas who came up to me and told me it had changed their lives."

Amy Kirwan plays Mairead, whose marriage to Will fell apart after he found love with men.

The actress was born in Sydney to Irish parents before moving to Malahide in Dublin, aged just 12. She now lives in nearby Kinsealy in north Dublin with her French husband Cedric and their nine-year-old twins, Pearl and Reuben, and four-year-old Arthur.

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Mairead all smiles with Damien

Mairead all smiles with Damien

Mairead all smiles with Damien

Mairead decided to stay in Carrigstown and make a new go of it despite her marriage break-up with Will, and then she found love with Damien.

"It started off as a friendship and it blossomed from there," she says. "It took them ages to get together. It was all very 'oh we're friends, we're not really into each other'.

"They had gotten on so well and they had both been through hardships in their previous marriages."

Damien has been overcome with guilt ever since he had a one night stand with Dearbhla Dillon, who is the aunt of Damien's daughter Saoirse.

"She kind of put it on the plate and unfortunately he ate from it," chuckles Maclean.

To complicate things, not only did he confide in Tommy Dillon that he had a fling - although he did not reveal that his lover was actually Tommy's daughter - but Tommy went on to sleep with Mairead after she and Damien briefly split up.

"I love when the writers throw in a curveball, because you are so used to playing the character in the same way," Amy adds.

"So she finds out that Damien has cheated, but she doesn't know with who.

"There was no history between her and Tommy. He came over to see how she was, it was right place, right time. She happened to say, 'do you want to join me?' and the next thing you knew..."

Maclean adds: "In real terms I do believe that he is a complete and utter knob in this instance. The one thing with Damo is he always owned his mistakes. He is not true to himself here."

The true soap style will-they won't-they storyline has been simmering for many months as Mariead's obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) sucked all the romance out of their love life.

Amy says: "She is heartbroken that Damien cheats, but will she throw it all away? The OCD has damaged everything, it got to a point where it was affecting her everyday life as well as affecting her relationship with her daughter and her partner.

"Damien and Mairead share a connection, there was a time when he was the best thing that ever happened to her. What next?"


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