Three years after she sent her husband, Brian Shannon an email, Hillsborough woman Deidre Shannon has finally come face-to-face with Brian Shannon.
The Brian Shannon in question is not, of course, her husband Brian, but rather Brian Shannon of Detroit, Michigan, USA.
Confused? Read on, for this is a tale of curious coincidence and transatlantic friendship forged by a stray email.
When Drumaknockan Road woman Deidre set out to email her husband Brian about a job, she managed instead to send the email to a Brian Shannon in Detroit.
Her husband’s American namesake replied to the email to point out her mistake, but a sceptical Deidre first thought her husband was joking about and said as much in her own reply.
It was only after asking her husband about the emails that she realised she had in fact made an error when typing his email address.
The couple laughed about what had happened and continued to keep in touch with their new American friend.
A while back Brian from Detroit said he would be visiting Ireland with family and Deidre and her husband invited them to come visit them and see some sights in Northern Ireland.
Last weekend Deidre and her family hosted the visitors, taking them into Belfast and showing them around Hillsborough and Dromore too, before they headed to Dublin.
They even by chance met the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, in Belfast City Hall and he in turn introduced them to Secretary of State Theresa Villiers.
“We had a lovely dinner for Brian, his wife Celia and her sister Linda and brother-in-law Alfredo from Columbia,” said Deidre.
“I made Irish Stew and served Irish Whiskey and Irish coffee.”
In a strange twist, it emerged uring the course of the evening that both Brians shared the same birthday, while Celia and Deidre likewise shared the same birthday.
“Detroit Brian Shannon, his date of birth is November 1,” said Deidre. “My husband Brian Shannon’s birthday is November 1. Weird? We had a laugh over this and a great meal at our house.
“Then we talked about what we had in common. It turned out Detroit Brian’s wife, Celia, her birthday is 29 October, the same date as mine. Passports were whipped out to prove it.”
Deidre added: “We had a great nights’ craic and the weekend was brilliant. We all had such a great time.”