Organizers of the Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival are facing an unusual problem — a shortage of eligible bachelors.
Chiefs of the six-week love fest admitted they’ve received complaints from single women, including many who’ve flown in from the U.S. looking for romance, that there are too few Irish men at this year’s event.
And they fear the number of single males in the Co. Clare spa town will drop to its lowest level for years this weekend, when thousands of locals head to Croke Park to cheer on the county’s hurling stars in the All-Ireland final.
Local matchmaker Willie Daly said, “The festival has been very successful this year. It’s probably busier than it’s been for a good number of years, because of the good weather and the influence of The Gathering.
“We’ve definitely noticed that numbers are up, particularly women. But we’ve a shortage of bachelors. A lot of American women have flown in and they’ve said there just aren’t enough Irish men to go around.
“A lot of these women are dreaming of finding romance with an Irish fella, but they’re struggling to find one this year.
“The problem’s only going to get worse this weekend when Clare play Cork in the All-Ireland. We’ll be losing a lot of lads from Clare who’ll be heading up to Dublin. And there’ll be fewer bachelors from Cork around too.
“So if there are fellas out there who want to find a match, they’ll never have a better chance than this weekend, because the American women will be falling over them.”
Daly, 71, a third-generation matchmaker, said that since the end of last year’s festival, he’s conjured up around 300 successful introductions.
Earlier this month the Lisdoonvarna love doctor welcomed “The Outing” to the festival for the first time - the town’s first-ever gay and lesbian matchmaking event.
“I hope we see a few more fellas down here between now and the end of the festival. We don’t want to see the girls go home disappointed,” said Daly.
This year’s love fest runs until October 7.