Pete Touhill entered IrishCentral’s “win a trip to Ireland” contest on St. Patrick’s Day on the recommendation of his friend from Belfast.

As a result, Pete and his fiancée, Kristin Mettman, will get to spend some time with his friend face-to-face this summer.

Pete is the winner of the Grand Prize of two round trip business class tickets to Ireland on Aer Lingus, a week in a Dublin luxury hotel and a free car rental from Dan Dooley Rent a Car. His name was picked in a random drawing of over 35,000 entrants.

The Irish American, from Warren Township, New Jersey, is one of ten children in an Irish Catholic family with roots in Counties Cork and Kilkenny. He spent three months in Belfast in 2007 working with youth programs, which is how he came to fall in love with the home of his ancestors.

“Being there, I got an appreciation for the country. I had a great time, and loved the people and all – everything but the rain,” Pete told IrishCentral.

In fact, it has rained every single day but one while Pete has been in Ireland, from his three months in Belfast to his eight days in Dublin.

But the wet weather will not deter the 23-year-old from venturing back to Ireland for a trip of a lifetime, which he can’t wait to take with his bride-to-be, Kristin.

Kristin, who works for an accounting firm, has made a previous trip to Ireland as well, touring sites from the north coast of Ireland down to Cork.

But Pete is anxious to hop in the rental car and check out sights he has yet to see. “I’m excited to see friends, enjoy the banter and the craic and definitely see new places like Galway, the Cliffs of Moher.”

He’s also excited for Kristin to hang out with some of the Irish friends he met while working in Belfast, some of which are attending the couple’s wedding this July. “She’ll definitely meet more of them and spend some time with them, especially the ones who haven’t visited me and are coming to the wedding,” he said.

The win came at a great time for Pete, who plans to take his fiancée to Ireland after their wedding – kind of like a second honeymoon for the couple.

 “We’re looking to move to Dublin for a few years,” said Pete, who works in commercial real estate, “which is why we didn’t consider Ireland for a honeymoon – we’ll be spending a lot of time there down the road.”

Looks like the happy couple will get the chance to spend time in Ireland sooner than they planned.

Pete and Kristin will be married this July 4 in New Vernon, New Jersey.