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From Maura Higgins to Jack Keating: The Irish stars that rocked the Love Island villa

Irish contestants have brought fire and passion to our screens over the years, with many making their entrance (and exit) during Casa Amor.
Maura Higgins, Dami Hope, and Greg O'Shea on Love Island

Maura Higgins, Dami Hope, and Greg O'Shea on Love Island

Dami Hope | Love Island

Dami Hope | Love Island© ITV

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

Casa Amor is back with a bang on Love Island this week, with Dami Hope and Ronan Keating’s son Jack flying the flag for Ireland as things kick off in sunny Majorca.

Irish contestants have brought fire and passion to our screens over the years, with many making their entrance (and exit) during the infamous challenge, which sees the original Islanders crack on with six new boys and girls before deciding to stick with their couple back at the villa or pair up with a new bombshell.

From the unforgettable Maura Higgins to the, er, unmemorable Casa Amor bombshells, we’ve compiled a list of the best and worst Irish Love Island stars of all time.

Dami Hope | Love Island

Dami Hope | Love Island© ITV

Dami Hope – Series 8

Dami entered the Love Island villa last month and has had a truly turbulent journey ever since, going from fan favourite to most-hated Islander in a matter of days thanks to his antics in Casa Amor.

The Wexford native was originally coupled up with Amber but, after she was dumped from the island, he decided to pursue Indiyah, and all was going well until the girls got whisked off to Casa Amor for the ultimate test.

While the girls were away, Dami caused chaos when he locked lips with bombshell Summer, telling the boys that he “didn’t do anything wrong” and encouraging the others to crack on with the new girls.

But have the microbiologist’s escapades over the past few days cost him his relationship with Indiyah and the £50,000 cash prize at the Love Island finals?

Jack Keating on Love Island

Jack Keating on Love Island

Jack Keating – Series 8

Jack Keating, the son of Boyzone star Ronan Keating and model Yvonne Connolly, waltzed into Casa Amor this week with high hopes of finding love.

However, the 23-year-old has barely received any screen time since he dropped the bomb about his famous father during a conversation with Gemma (whose dad is none other than footballer Michael Owen), prompting some fans to joke that he’s busy recovering from “severe sunburn on that pasty Irish skin”.

Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill won Love Island in 2019

Greg O'Shea and Amber Gill won Love Island in 2019

Greg O’Shea - Series 5

Limerick lad Greg entered the Love Island villa towards the end of the 2019 series and ended up scooping the top prize with Amber Gill.

The pair dated for a short time after winning the show but called it quits a month later.

Greg has since competed in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics as part of Ireland’s rugby sevens team and recently launched his own workout and wellness app, Bettr With Greg.

Belfast wrestler Adam Maxted during his time on Love Island

Belfast wrestler Adam Maxted during his time on Love Island

Adam Maxted – Series 2

The first contestant to put Ireland on the Love Island map was Belfast native Adam, who entered the villa in the second week and finished in fourth place with Katie Salmon.

Following his time on the hit dating show, the 30-year-old launched his professional wrestling career and is now a personal trainer based in Marbella.

Maura Higgins, who finished fourth on the fifth series of Love Island in 2019.

Maura Higgins, who finished fourth on the fifth series of Love Island in 2019.

Maura Higgins – Series 5

Possibly the most successful Irish Islander to come out of the villa is Longford lady Maura Higgins, who became a household name after coining the phrase “fanny flutters”.

Maura’s salacious quips and fiery personality landed her a spot in the final with dancer Curtis Pritchard.

The pair dated for nine months in total and Maura later went on to date fellow Love Island alum Chris Taylor.

Since her stint on Love Island, Maura has branched into TV presenting and has had brand deals with Ann Summers, Bellamianta, and Inglot as well as signing with global modelling agency Elite.

Rob Lipsett on Love Island in 2017

Rob Lipsett on Love Island in 2017

Rob Lipsett – Series 3

Rob Lipsett is one of Ireland’s most prominent influencers nowadays, but many forget that he made his start on Love Island.

The Dubliner entered Casa Amor as a bombshell back in 2017 but failed to make a romantic connection with any of the girls.

Speaking after his time on the show, the fitness YouTuber and business owner said he wasn't a massive fan of the experience.

He said: “Basically in reality TV, you need to create drama. They wanted me to gossip and talk down about people and that's not my style.”

Shannen Reilly McGrath

Shannen Reilly McGrath

Shannen Reilly McGrath – Series 3

Another Irish Casa Amor bombshell that never made it to the main villa was Dubliner Shannen, who was dumped from the island three days after her first appearance on the show.

But the former dental nurse from Tallaght has no qualms about failing to make an impression on the show as she admitted that she’s been tuning in to Love Island over the past few weeks and is rooting for Ekin-Su and Paige.

Matthew MacNabb from Downpatrick, who took part in last year's Love Island

Matthew MacNabb from Downpatrick, who took part in last year's Love Island

Matthew MacNabb – Series 7

Downpatrick native Matthew made the Love Island history books in 2021 after he ended his relationship with Kaz Kamwi with just two simple words (‘We’re done’).

After appearing as a Casa Amor bombshell, he made his way back to the main villa but was dumped after just 13 days.

Earlier this year, the 27-year-old competed on Dancing With the Stars where he was introduced to his now-girlfriend, Laura Nolan.

The pair have relocated to Marbella for the summer where Matthew plans to focus on making fitness content.

Kaila Troy

Kaila Troy

Kaila Troy – Series 7

Also representing Ireland at Casa Amor last year was Dubliner Kaila Troy, an international DJ and OnlyFans creator.

Her time on the show was short-lived however, as she failed to find love during the notorious house swap.

Now living in Los Angeles, Kaila’s music career continues to thrive and she hopes to delve further into the entertainment world in the future.

Dubliner Salma Naran failed to make an impression on the boys in Casa Amor. Photo: ITV2

Dubliner Salma Naran failed to make an impression on the boys in Casa Amor. Photo: ITV2

Salma Naran – Series 7

Salma was the third Irish arrival on Love Island last summer but struggled to make an impression on the original Islanders during her time in Casa Amor.

Fans of the show complained about the 21-year-old's lack of airtime after she was booted from the show, but she still maintained that her Love Island experience was nothing short of “amazing”.

Yewande Biala – Series 5

26-year-old Yewande was part of the original lineup of Islanders in 2019.

The Dubliner had a tough time in the villa and had a whirlwind romance with Danny Williams but was kicked off the island just three weeks in after Danny decided to couple up with Arabella instead.

She is now set to open up about her mental health and identity in her upcoming book, Reclaiming, which hits shelves later this month.


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