The world famous, 157-year-old Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in Clare is going gay for the second year in a row on October 3-6, say festival organizers in Ireland this week

Drag High-Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss said “The first LGBT weekend in Lisdoonvarna was SO much fun last year so I am really looking forward to doing it all again this year. Who'd have thought bringing a bunch of gays down to a small country village in the West of Ireland would have been such great craic?! Oh that's right... everybody”.

In 2014, The Outing Lisdoonvarna LGBT Matchmaking and Music Festival will come to life with more entertainment, more clubs, more DJ’s, some comedy and more craic to be had by all! organizers say.

The LGBT music festival will take over the historic village of Lisdoonvarna, its hotels, its bars, and its venues for the whole weekend, from October 3 - 6. Panti Bliss stated calls it “An LGBT weekend away like no other. I’m only just recovering from last year’s craic!”. Join us all for music, fun and hopefully a love filled weekend!”

Panti, who will host the weekend as Mistress of Ceremonies and "Queen of Hearts" shared her excitement, “Last year I even got to try my hand at a bit of matchmaking and my success rate wasn't too shabby. And this year Brian Kennedy will be on hand to sing at any shotgun weddings so potentially I could pull off something big! Lisdoonvarna's own legendary matchmaker Willie Daly has some overly-made up competition. No, not Brendan Courtney! I mean me. Though Brendan will be there to set up some blind dates so if anything goes wrong I'll just blame him,” said Panti.

As part of the festival this year there will be ‘An Evening with Brian Kennedy’ live in The Hydro Ballroom. It will be Brian’s first LGBT concert after doing a PA at Dublin Pride a few years back.

"I'm honoured to be part of the soundtrack of change on the island of Ireland for the LGBT Community. Can't wait to sing for you all and let’s see how many hearts find a home Love BK x”.said Brian Kennedy

After last year Lisdoonvarna residents and local business owners voiced their enthusiasm for what they see as a welcome new twist on the generations-old festival, which looks set to bring a new sector of tourists to the area. Fourth generation matchmaker, Willie Daly, will be present during The Outing's weekend and feels ready to bring some new couples together again this year! "Matchmaking has always been about love", he said. This year’s festival theme is ‘It’s All About Love’.

The Outing comprises a weekend package of hotel accommodation and full entertainment, fusing old Ireland with gay club life as céilís sit next to drag shows and tea dances lead into late night DJ sets. Event Director Eddie McGuinness has worked with club events for several years and says that the unique and novel fusion on offer here was what enticed him to put together The Outing. "Traditional Irish events like céilí dances have had it right for hundreds of years", says Eddie, "They’re a perfect way to meet new people in a lively, comfortable and fun atmosphere. We're taking the best of old Ireland - music, dancing and matchmaking - and putting it together with the variety of entertainment on offer in the LGBT community. It was a very effective combination last year!"

The Outing are working together with Marriage Equality this year, “Marriage Equality is delighted that this year The Outing Lisdoonvarna is teaming up with us to raise awareness about next year’s referendum on civil marriage equality for lesbian and gay couples. This year’s theme ‘It’s All About Love’ is close to our hearts because that’s what marriage equality is all about – love, commitment, equality and family. Gay and lesbian couples want to be able to get married for all the same reasons as every other couple because they love each other, want to make a public commitment to each other and protect their loved ones. We hope that lots of happy couples who meet at this year’s festival have the choice to marry after next year’s referendum” said Moninne Griffith Co-Director Marriage Equality.

Also working with Gay Switchboard and BelongTo LGBT Youth Group, who work on raising awareness of issue for the LGBT community here in Ireland. The Outing will be raising much needed funds for these hard working and worthwhile community groups.

"As Willie Daly says at the end of the day it's about love — that’s what the matchmaking festival has always been about", said Eddie McGuinness, adding "Ireland is leading the world on a lot of gay issues and hopefully we will have same sex marriage soon, so the time is right for something like this to take place. Last year we were looking at attracting people from Ireland and Britain and got them and with our 1st booking this year from New York this is now going to become a very big international event."

Mr Marcus White, owner of Hydro Hotel and Lisdoonvara Matchmaking Festival sees this as a modern take on an old tradition. “We are trying to put a different twist on the festival. It is going to be same as any other matchmaking weekend — we will have entertainment, music and dancing — but this will be a gay and lesbian weekend as part of the month long festival."