Ireland’s last traditional matchmaker has proved he still has his magic touch after conjuring up almost 300 successful introductions in the past year. Many were English people seeking Irish lovers.

Lisdoonvarna love doctor Willie Daly said many of the new couples he's brought together over the last 12 months have gone on to get married.

And he attributes much of his success to publicity generated by his appearance on hit ITV travel show, 'Jimmy Nesbitt's Ireland', earlier this year.

The 71-year-old matchmaker was introduced to millions of viewers in the UK on the popular travel series.

And Willie said he's since been inundated with pleas from love-hungry English singletons looking for love across the water.

He said: "The show certainly made a big difference. I've had a lot of calls from English men and women, desperate to find romance with an Irish partner."

Meanwhile, Willie said he expects to be busier than ever when the matchmaking festival kicks off at the end of the month.

And he said he expected single women to be sizing up the size of a man's wallet rather than his looks.

Willie, who insists on being present to introduce couples on their first dates, said: "A fella might have lost of all his teeth and never put a comb to his hair, but looks are no longer important because of the recession.

"Women now want security, to be looked after and minded."

The third-generation matchmaker also told recently how he was ready to move with the times and play cupid to gay singletons, as the six-week festival plays host to 'The Outing', the Co. Clare town's first-ever gay and lesbian matchmaking event.

The Matchmaking Festival runs for six weeks from August 31 to October 7.

The Outing will take place on the first weekend of the love fest from August 30 to September 1.

Matchmaker Willie Daly at the Matchmaking Festival Lisdoonvarna. Photograph by Eamon WardEamon Ward