“Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara, that Tara, that land doesn't mean anything to you? Why, land is the only thing in the world worth workin' for, worth fightin' for, worth dyin' for, because it's the only thing that lasts.
“It will come to you, this love of the land. There's no gettin' away from it if you're Irish.”
Ah, the famous words of Gerald O’Hara, the romantic, reckless Irish father of Scarlett in “Gone with the Wind.”
It seems his words ring true today, as can be seen at this year’s Matchmaking Festival in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare.
The village’s resident matchmaker, Willie Daly, says that farmers are the men of choice for women looking for love in Ireland, and it’s because the Irish love of the land is recession-proof.
Whereas Irish builders used to be a hot commodity in previous years at the famous month-long festival, now that the recession has hit the Irish construction industry hard, ladies are favoring men who work the land.
Daly, 65, who has 40 years of matchmaking experience and is Ireland’s last remaining matchmaker, told the Irish Times: “The farmers are back in vogue this year. The women place great value on the farming community and the likes of the building contractors would not be as popular as other years.
“A builder could build you 100 houses, but at the moment, who would want them? But you can’t make an acre, there is great security in the land. At times like this, it stands out.”
The men and women who have been packing the Lisdoonvarna pub dances since the Matchmaking Festival kicked off on August 28 tend to agree.
Mary O’Connell, a Westport, County Mayo native, backed up Daly’s analysis, telling the Times: “I think he’s right. A farmer will always make a living. We have both met guys here and we’re on our way to meet them now.”
Luckily for the ladies, with the ratio of men to women at the festival at nine-to-one, chances are they’ll find and fancy a farmer in the bunch.