Randy bachelors heading to the matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna later this month have been advised to smarten themselves up to boost their chances of finding romance.

Love doctor Willie Daly said the thousands of love-hungry males preparing to flock to the six-week Co. Clare love-fest are more likely to turn single female heads if they get a haircut or even getting their teeth polished beforehand.

Silver-bearded Willie, a third-generation traditional matchmaker, said the "appearance and looks" of eligible bachelors was the top priority for this year's batch of single women, who he predicted would be "the pickiest in years".

And he urged fellas to brush up on their grooming techniques, insisting: "The lads would want to be looking their best. A year or two ago when the recession was at its worst, most women were interested in security and the size of a fella's bank balance, because they wanted to be looked after and minded.

"But now the recession has lifted a bit, the women have got their confidence back and have started to get fussy. They're judging a fella more on his appearance and looks now and want to fall in love.

"The fellas who spruce themselves up, put an old comb through their hair and iron their shirts are more likely to catch the eye of the ladies this year. A good set of teeth would also help their chances.

"There's a big tour party of single women coming from America who were on to me last week and they said they're looking for rugged, handsome Irish men. So the fellas would want to be looking well."

Up to 40,000 people are expected to attend the centuries-old festival, which is Europe's largest singles event when it kicks off on August 29.

And Willie, who's a father-of-eight and part-time farmer, said he's looking forward to adding to his estimated tally of 3,000 successful introductions at this year's festival.

The 72-year-old - who still uses a tatty 150-year-old 'love ledger' to arrange love matches and insists on being present to introduce couples on their first dates - said: "People talk about Venice and Paris, but there's nowhere more romantic than Lisdoonvarna during the matchmaking.

"There's a magic in the air that you can't get anywhere else in the world."

Meanwhile, 'The Outing', the gay and lesbian matchmaking weekend which made a successful debut last year, once again feature as part of the festival.

It runs from October 3 to 5 and will include a performance by singer Brian Kennedy at Lisdoonvarna's Hydro Hotel.

Here's the great Christy Moore song about the festival: