Ireland’s last traditional matchmaker says he's ready to move with the times and play Cupid to gay singletons for the first time.
Willie Daly, a third-generation matchmaker, says there's a great buzz in Lisdoonvarna ahead of the Co. Clare town's first-ever gay and lesbian matchmaking event.
'The Outing' has been added to the world-famous matchmaking carnival for the first time in its 150-year history and will take place over the first weekend of the six-week love fest at the end of this month.
And the Co. Clare love doctor said he's preparing to work his magic and conjure up romance for the first time amongst single members of the gay community.
The 71-year-old said: "There's a lot of excitement around about The Outing. It's given the festival a new identity and has reinvigorated it.
"People round here are now very broad-minded and they mostly think this new event is a great addition to the festival.
"I haven't heard from anyone yet from the gay community who's looking for love and this is something that's new for me.
"But I certainly will help out if they call me. I get couples together and I won't exclude anybody."
Silver-bearded Willie, who still uses the family's tatty 100-year-old diary to conjure up love matches, also said he expects the impact of The Gathering and the record summer temperatures to add an extra sizzle and hundreds more love-hungry bachelors to this year's festival.
He said: "There's definitely a connection between sunshine and romance. The sun gives people that bit more energy."
Willie, who insists on being present to introduce couples on their first dates, also said women who use his services have started to prioritise the size of a man's wallet.
He added: "A fella might have lost of all his teeth and never put a comb to his hair, but looks are no longer important because of the recession.
"Women now want security, to be looked after and minded."
The Matchmaking Festival runs for six weeks from August 31 to October 7. The Outing will take place on the first weekend of the love fest from August 30 to September 1.
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