IN HER outsized shades and large-peaked baseball cap, the bikini-clad beauty could have been any well-heeled tourist lapping up the rays on a luxurious Caribbean Christmas break.
There was one little giveaway, however, that the svelte brunette might be someone a little out of the ordinary, even in such elite company.
For even by the standards of one of the world’s most exclusive resorts, the €70,000 sparkler she sported on her ring finger was a whopper.
Let’s face it, it would have been hard to miss the massive chunk of ice on Andrea Corr’s left hand even if the bright Barbadian sun hadn’t kept catching the huge diamond every time she moved.
Treading the golden sands of exclusive Sandy Lane Bay beach in Barbados, the coy singer seemed to spend most of the time avoiding the sun and sticking close to her new fiancé, Brett Desmond.
The Dundalk lass could have been forgiven for feeling proprietorial on the Sandy Lane Hotel’s exclusive beach. After all, Brett is the son of the resort’s co-owner, financier Dermot.
Instead, she did her best to keep a low profile – albeit somewhat hampered by the diamond as big as the Ritz.
Young Desmond popped the question over a candlelit dinner at the tropical getaway where the stars flock all year round.
And Andrea spent the next day on the beach with Brett, taking the occasional dip in a skimpy, tie-side bikini.
The only time she took off the enormous engagement ring was when the couple – who first appeared as an item at club owner Robbie Fox’s 50th birthday in February 2007 – went canoeing together in the bay’s turquoise waters.
They are said to have checked into one of the hotel’s €8,400-a-night luxury Ocean Rooms just before Christmas Day.
Should their stay – bearing in mind that minimum bookings in December are supposed to be no fewer than 14 nights – last the full two weeks and they start making tracks to Ireland tomorrow, accommodation alone will have cost an astonishing €117,600.
A regular Sandy Lane beach-goer told the Irish Mail on Sunday last night: ‘The couple have actually been keeping a low profile.
‘There was an almighty bash at the Sandy Lane Golf Club on New Year’s Eve and that may have been the engagement party but, for most of their stay, they have either stayed indoors, or sat quietly reading in shaded sun loungers.
‘They have spent a few hours mucking around in the hotel’s canoes but she doesn’t seem to like the sun too much. If she is seen out, she always wears a baseball cap over her face, doesn’t sunbathe at all and tends to avoid spending too much time in the heat.’
She added: ‘He is very doting and attentive. He is always by her side when she gets in or out of the canoe.
‘Whenever he goes for a swim, it is always for a very brief dip, and then he runs back to be by her side. However, when she goes for a swim, they stay in longer, mostly as long as half an hour.
‘They are a very unassuming couple. From the way they carry themselves, you would never think they were anything other than a loving young couple enjoying themselves on the beach.’
The most public thing Andrea did on her last visit to the resort – in January 2008 – was to sing a karaoke duet with Love Actually star Martine McCutcheon.
The former EastEnders actress had been staying at a nearby club but had met the Corrs singer after dinner in the hotel.
Andrea has said little about her affection for Desmond, although she did once describe in 2007 how she woke up in the middle of the night asking herself: ‘Is this it? This is it! At last! It’s finally happening to me!’
The cautious 33-year-old beauty said in the early stages of her relationship with Brett: ‘I have a boyfriend but, obviously, I am not married and haven’t got babies yet. I’m definitely not in any rush. We’re very happy but we’re taking it bit by bit.’
But now it looks very much like Andrea’s days of paddling her own canoe are well and truly over.