Love-hungry bachelors heading to the matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna this weekend have been advised to brush up on their grooming techniques because supermodel Naomi Campbell may be visiting.
Excitement has reached fever-pitch ahead of the start of the six-week Co. Clare love-fest, after word spread that festival chiefs issued an invitation to 46-year-old Campbell.
But traditional matchmaker Willie Daly urged male singletons to smarten themselves up this year to boost their chances of turning the London-born model's head.
The affable love doctor said, "Naomi Campbell has been invited, but we haven't heard back yet whether she's coming or not. But I'd think she'd be picky when it comes to fellas, so I'd advise any lads coming to the festival to be looking their best.
"I'd be telling them to take a bit of time to spruce themselves up, run an auld comb through their hair, iron their shirts and give their teeth an extra bit of attention."
Silver-bearded Daly, who's a father of eight and a part-time farmer, is celebrating his 50th year as a third-generation matchmaker, the last of his kind in Ireland.
But the 74-year-old, who still uses a tatty 150-year-old “love ledger” to arrange his matches and insists on being present to introduce couples on their first dates, said he has no plans to retire from matchmaking.
"I won't be giving it up at this stage, I'm too old to retire," he laughed.
"Anyway, I still enjoy doing it and it gives me great pleasure to bring couples together. Over the past 12 months I would say I've introduced around 300 couples, and some of those would have the potential to go on and get married."
Tens of thousands of singletons are expected to flock to the centuries-old festival, which is Europe's largest singles event, when it kicks off on Friday night.
"There's a few big groups of American ladies coming over to find an Irish husband. These ladies would be financially secure, but they told me they're looking for an Irish character who can sing and dance and maybe play a bit of music. So I'm sure there's going to be plenty of romance in the air,” Daly said.
Meanwhile, “The Outing,” the gay and lesbian matchmaking weekend, will return for its fourth year at the end of the festival, from October 7 to 9. Panti Bliss will also be attending for the fourth consecutive year.
The matchmaking festival runs from September 2 to October 9. For further information, visit www.matchmakerireland.com.