Ciara Grehan proposes to her boyfriend James Lyons (both from Tallaght) at Martin Gear Jewellers after winning a €1000 voucher at the store on this leap year day. Picture: Steve Humphreys

The Vow

Ciara pops the question with custom engagement ring to childhood sweetheart James on Leap Day

A Leap year marriage proposal got some added sparkle when Ciara Grehan popped the question yesterday.

The young Dublin woman used the special once-in-four-year lady's choice day to go down on one knee to propose to thrilled partner James Lyons. Ciara (26) won a competition for a €1,000 voucher for a male engagement ring, offered by Mary Street jeweller Martin Gear, and kept it a secret from James.

"I love you more than anything," she told James as she proposed.

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James (26) had left their home in Killinarden, in Tallaght, in the morning to work as an electrician, but got a telephone call later from Ciara asking him to leave work and meet her.

"I thought maybe she was going to treat me to a meal for my recent birthday. I was a bit shocked when she proposed," he said.

Ciara entered the free competition on Facebook which was organised by the jeweller. When her name was selected at random by Mr Gear's wife Caroline, she immediately set about surprising James.

After the initial surprise, the couple were ready to share the moment with a waiting media team in the shop.

"Nothing would make me happier to spend the rest of my life with you," said James in response to her proposal.

Mr Gear said a tradition of men receiving engagement rings in the 1950s and 1960s "fizzled out", but the tradition has made a comeback.

The firm also manufactures jewellery, and his business received a significant boost with ring sales to same-sex couples after the passing of the marriage equality referendum, he said.

The jeweller dispensed with the €1,000 limit to ensure both received a diamond and gold ring of their choice.

Ciara and James first met on a blind date at a Dublin cinema when they were both 14. Their teenage romance came to an end after a few months but they met again at a nightclub eight years ago and their relationship has blossomed since then.

The couple said their son, Brendan (6), will be delighted with their wedding plans.