The Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival went all gay – and it’s worked very well with locals and those arriving in the Clare town in search of love.

The Sunday Independent reports that the world famous festival which finally opened up to all persuasions in its 157th year in existence had a great first weekend..

Organizer Donal Mulligan admitted to trepidation at the move but is delighted with the response.

He told the paper: “I have to say I was a little bit tentative at the beginning. I thought maybe it would be seen as something strange and people would keep their distance for the first year, but that’s absolutely not been the case.

“There are Pride flags in the post office down the town. There’s going to be a competition for the best decorated local business and also one for the trendiest local. They have really gotten behind the whole thing.”

Lisdoonvarna has welcomed the men and women seeking same sex relationships at the famed festival.

And local matchmaker Willie Daly, the 71-year-old responsible for hundreds of marriages, was seen taking notes at Friday night’s same-sex ceilis across the town.

Already 20 matches have been made according to the report in the paper and drag artist Pandora Bliss, the star of the show, believes love is indeed in the air.

“Everyone loves a big clown and that’s essentially what I am,” she tells the Sunday Independent.

Organiser Mulligan believes the event will enlighten people in rural Ireland.

He added: “It’s been 20 years this year since decriminalisation. We’re hoping that the matchmaking festival will be a beacon for the positive change that has been happening all across the country, not just in Dublin.”

With huge media interest in this year’s event, a second Lisdoonvarna gay matchmaking festival is already planned for next year.

For the first time in it's 150 year history, the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is hosting a lesbian and gay weekend dubbed 'The Outing',Handout