Thousands of singles from all over the world are arriving in Lisdoonvarna in search of love and romance at the annual matchmaking festival.

The world’s only ‘offline’ dating festival, which attracts over 80,000 people each September, encourages people to switch off their smartphones and find love in the traditional way.
When it comes to love, matchmaker Willie Daly believes the old ways are the best. “I don’t go near the internet myself and I’m certain the old way of matchmaking is far better than any computer.”
Willie, who offers face to face introductions, says that the initial physical attraction is still one of the most important things in matchmaking.
“Dating apps are cold and emotionless, meeting the person, looking into each other’s eyes… this is something no app can replace”, he adds.
This year, Daly is busier than ever, particularly from areas like the US, Europe and Africa. Ironically he attributes this to modern technology. “I am getting more and more emails every day, from all over the world, it’s hard to keep up with the demand,” he said.
Among those looking for Daly’s help this year is South African widow, Marleze Kruger who sold her house and business to find love in Lisdoonvarna.
According to Willie, Marleze is attracting unprecedented interest from bachelors all across Ireland. “I have never experienced as much interest in a woman”.
Local hotelier Marcus White, says the reason for the big demand in traditional matchmaking is simple. “Online dating has taken over the simple face-to-face interaction between human beings.
“People need to communicate with others in order to be happy, otherwise, they become distant, sad and lonely. This is why the festival is growing ten-fold.”
“Of course we can’t forget how important the internet is to our lives, but it should only be used as a tool,” added Mr White.
Now, 161 years old, the vintage festival is going from strength to strength, with some of Ireland’s top musicians headlining this year.
The line-up includes Nathan Carter, Mike Denver, Derek Ryan and Lisa McHugh amongst a host of other entertainers, providing music non-stop every day from 11am in the morning until late.
The festival will kick off on the 1st September and runs until 8th October when it concludes with ‘The Outing’ the world’s only LGBT matchmaking festival.