First Dates Ireland dater Ria, a 20-year-old student from Kildare who has cerebral palsy, has said it's important to be open and honest about who you are when on a date.

"You can't change anything about yourself just to please someone," the journalism undergraduate told RTÉ Entertainment ahead of appearing in Thursday night's episode.

Ria, who is paired with Countdown contestant Edward from Dublin for her date, said that being upfront with prospective romantic interests about her bisexuality and having cerebral palsy is paramount as it allows her to be herself.

She said: "I think when you go on a date you have to let everything out in the open, because if you're not honest about who you are then they're not really getting the full picture.

"Imagine being on the third date and then saying it and they say 'no I don't like that, cut that out', then there's no point in seeing that person again if you can't be who you are. You can't change anything about yourself just to please someone."

Ria is paired with Edward in Thursday night's First Dates Ireland

Ria said that having cerebral palsy "overall doesn't really affect me that much".

"It affects my life in that I am super clumsy", she explained. "I have had 11 phones in my life. I can't rely on myself to keep my phones safe, my computers safe, my iPads safe.

"My condition affects the right side of me, it gives me a slight limp, but some people might find that cool. 

"When it comes to dating it hasn't really affected me. I see it the same way as telling people I'm bisexual, once I tell it to them straight away and make them aware of it I'm like 'ok they know everything now I'm open to be who I am, I'm open for them see who I am.

"It hasn't affected me much once I'm open about it."

Ria speaks about her sexuality and cerebral palsy on her date

The student admitted that learning to be so confident and self-possessed has been a journey.

"If you saw me five or six years ago you would have seen a very different person", she said. "Secondary school is hard, it's a hard place to be when you're not perfect, when you don't walk right or have the right clothes or a good haircut, all those stupid things people remark about.

"When I was 15 or 16, I craved to fit in. When people point out that you're not fitting in, you become very hard on yourself. As I grew up, as I started to mature, I started to realise that I'm going different places from these people.

"Once I realised I needed to accept that what I'm going to be like for the rest of my life - I'm going to break iPads, I'm going to trip over nothing - I just started to accept that.

"I can just respect myself, I don't need others opinions to respect myself because at the end of the day they don't really mean anything to me."

When asked what advice he has for young viewers who feel like they don't fit in, she said: "It takes time to adjust to yourself, to build yourself and have that confidence, you can't just expect it to come one day.

"It's really about acceptance of yourself, accepting the situation that you are in and learning from that situation, trying to understand yourself, because at the end of the day it's your life, it's no one else's.

"You're directing it, so it's important to remember what's going to make you happy not make other people happy.

"Once you accept yourself and how you are, pressure just gets taken off you and you're just out there trying to live your life the best way you can, for yourself."

Ria, who was matched with 23-year-old Edward for her date on the reality series, said that "impulsivity" was a big factor in applying for the show.

Tune in to First Dates on Thursday night to see how Edward and Ria's date went

Also, she's not a fan of online dating.

"I hate it! I hate Tinder, I'm going to be honest I just get so bored", she laughed. "When the conversation comes it's like 'Hi, how are you? I'm good' and then it fizzles out. It's just not my vibe, I much prefer meeting someone one and one and getting to know them that way."

She said of first impressions of Edward: "I did notice that he was tall. I could tell he was a bit nervous because when I came up to him he didn't say much, he was a little quiet."

Their first greeting was a bit awkward, but it didn't put her off.

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"I went in for the handshake and he went in for the hug and then he kissed me on top of the head!" Ria said.

"It was a little awkward that greeting but I was ok, we survived that one."

Tune in to First Dates Ireland at 9.30pm on RTÉ2 to see how Ria and Edward's date went.

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