Ireland’s last traditional matchmaker has been sought out by singletons from the Far East, as hundreds of romance-hunters from both China and Japan prepare to invade Lisdoonvarna.
Cupid Willie Daly said demand for his services has increased in the run-up to the famous Co. Clare matchmaking festival, particularly from unattached East Asian singles.
And the third-generation matchmaker said he expects to be "busier than ever" once the month-long love fest kicks off later next week.
The 75-year-old father-of-eight said: "The big thing I've noticed this year is the interest we've had from people from both China and Japan, both men, and women.
"I can't put my finger on why it is, though a few women who've contacted me have told me they're big admirers of Michael Flatley. But we have a couple of hundred of visitors coming to Lisdoonvarna from both China and Japan, and there are nearly as many men coming over as there are women."
However, silver-bearded Willie, whose tried-and-tested techniques include still using the family's tatty 100-year-old ledger to conjure up matches, said he's confident that romance will blossom for the international visitors.
"There's nowhere as romantic as Lisdoonvarna at this time of year, and there's a match out there for everyone. But I will be telling the girls from the Far East that things here might not be what they used to. The ladies from China and Japan tend to be shy, demure and quite lady-like, so I'll be warning them that things can quite lively in the bars towards the end of the night."
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The veteran Co. Clare love doctor, who insists on being present to introduce couples on their first date, said he's also hoping for another mini-heatwave - which he reckons will help people find romance.
Past studies have found that bright sunshine increases the levels of serotonin, the mood-enhancing hormone in the brain, boosting the moods of both males and females.
#Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival takes place in #Clare for the whole month of September. Every year, over 80,000 people flock to this village for some fun, dancing & maybe love! Come join in the fun: https://t.co/dH2oMn3vzY @lisdoonfestival Pic giveintowonderlust [IG] pic.twitter.com/H5CUbzSl7j— Wild Atlantic Way (@wildatlanticway) August 17, 2018
Daly added: "If we get more of the great weather we've been having all summer, it could turn out to be one of the festivals for years. The better the weather, the more matchmaking I'll be doing."
The Matchmaking Festival runs from August 31 to September 30. The Outing, Ireland's biggest carnival for the LGBT community, also takes place in Lisdoonvarna on October 5 and 6.
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