First Dates Ireland contestant Rob decided to take part in the show after "a couple of catfishing incidents", adding with a laugh that "internet dating isn't safe".

The 30-year-old from Limerick appears on Thursday night's episode of the dating series, where he meets 32-year-old Leona from Kildare.

Speaking to RTÉ Entertainment, Rob said of deciding to appear in the show: "I'd been single about a year at that point and I reckon I'd been on about 70ish dates.

"There was a couple of catfishing incidents, so I thought what better way to meet somebody face-to-face, the old way, in the traditional manner.

"You know what you're getting, there's no Facetuning, there's no one hiding behind pictures, and as well as that, you're going to meet someone who's brave enough to put themselves out there. I wasn't looking to meet a shy person."

Rob, who brought Leona a red rose for their date, said he sees himself as a true romantic. "I wanted to be married at 18. I very sincerely believe in true love and romance and one person and loyalty. I do believe in old-fashioned love and little courtesies."

He said he was "pleasantly surprised" when he first saw Leona sitting at the bar and was impressed by her face tattoos.

Of his first impressions, he said: "I thought 'Ok good, we're going to have some good conversation here.'  I know the show is great at matching people, but I didn't know how it was going to go. I was really pleased that there was someone that I asked for. "

He discovered they had more in common than their extensive collection of tattoos.

"I was really impressed that they managed to find someone that liked the same music, that was heavily tattooed, that was into taxidermy, you can't make this stuff up. This is not the stuff I find on Tinder."

The conversation flowed easily during the date.

"Do you know what it was like, a good game of tennis. Back and forth, back and forth, it was really good", he explained.

"There was no awkwardness there at all. I guess we're both pretty out there, it's very hard to be awkward. I think you're more comfortable if you find someone that's similar to you. We were vibing, it was really good."

Rob shared his belief in the supernatural during the date, telling Leona he lost his virginity to ghosts. He said she seemed to take it "pretty well."

"First of all to be totally honest I forgot I even said it, it was totally off the cuff because my mind works in a million different ways every minute", he said of sharing the intimate memory.

"As far as I can recall, she seemed to take it pretty well. I just blurted it out, I forgot the cameras were there. I was just so excited to meet a person so similar to me, we were just bouncing off each other so much that it just came out. I was reminded of it last week when it popped up on Facebook!"

He's not shying away from his affiliation with ghosts, wearing a 'Ghost Malone' t-shirt during the interview, a joke related to the tattooed rapper Post Malone, and saying he is releasing a song about his experience with the ghosts after the First Dates episode airs.

First Dates Ireland airs on Thursday at 9.30pm on RTÉ2.

Click here for more TV news