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10-Jul-2015 00:03

From the sexual revolution to the digital revolution, dating in Ireland has evolved - for better or for worse…

Dublin-born opera singer Dr Veronica Dunne, who is in her 80s, harks back to an age of innocence.

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As soon as he clicks with a 'match', he sends her a message with two questions: The first is 'how are you doing? While differing expectations is a time-worn phenomenon, the way we connect with other singles has changed considerably since the days of meeting under the Clery's clock.As you can imagine, I never saw that young man again..." Ireland was a theocratic state when Veronica and Rosemary were "courting", and weekly confession was as important as a monthly manicure is for some women today.If a young man wanted to see her afterwards, he had to come to the front door to meet her parents.Once deemed suitable, the pair were "chaperoned" on their date by her older brother.

She remembers the hops in her local tennis club in the 1940s."They finished at 10.30pm or 11.30pm and then you went straight home. So at the last dance the man asked you where you lived and if you lived too far away they wouldn't cycle home with you! "Young women have less respect for themselves these days," she says at once.

"Mystique is always more interesting."Former rally driver and Driving Academy owner Rosemary Smith, who is in her 70s, agrees that women are much more forward these days.