Ireland’s last traditional matchmaker has urged the Tinder generation to switch off their smart-phones and head to Lisdoonvarna to find true love.
Willie Daly, the country's most famous love doctor, is preparing to introduce hundreds of couples at the annual matchmaking festival, which kicks off on August 31.
Back in 2015, speaking ahead of the four-week Co. Clare love fest, the third-generation matchmaker said he believes his old-fashioned methods offer a far better chance for singletons to find lasting romance than dating sites and high-tech apps.
The charismatic, silver-bearded 73-year-old, who still insists on being present to introduce couples on their first date, said: "I don't go near the internet myself and I'm certain the old way of matchmaking is far better than any computer. The best part of it is when I introduce a couple for the first time. I'll sit down with them, introduce them and maybe have a cup of tea. I'm there to stop any awkward moments and I can usually see straight away if there's a spark there and if it's going to work out. There isn't a computer that could do that.
"There'll always be a place for this type of matchmaking in the west of Ireland because there's so much rural isolation and still a lot of lonely bachelors out there.
"I've probably introduced around 1,500 people over the past 12 months, many of who would be in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. But I'd like to hear from more young people who are looking to meet someone. My message to them is that it's far more effective to touch a person than the keys of a computer."
The father-of-eight, who still uses the family's tatty 100-year-old ledger to conjure up romances, said he expects this year's festival to be the busiest in years.
He said: "There's been huge interest in the past couple of weeks. It's been a bad summer over here and I think people are looking forward to letting their hair down at the festival.
"There's a few TV crews coming down and there's a couple of female celebrities who are heading over, but I don't want to say too much about them at the moment."
Daly added: "There's particular interest from America this time. What I can say is that there are two middle-aged oil baronesses coming over from Texas. They are very wealthy ladies and told me they are very keen to find love with an Irish fella."
Celebrity doctor Pixie McKenna will also visit the festival later next month, where an RTE film crew will follow her setting up a pop-up clinic in the Co. Clare spa town and offering free diagnoses to festival-goers.
* Originally published in 2015.