Irish people don't realise how "attractive" they are to international suitors, according to Lisdoonvarna matchmaker, Willie Daly.
Every September, in the small village of Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare, Europe's biggest singles festival takes place – with third-generation matchmaker Willie Daly at its helm.
The month-long Matchmaking Festival is over 165 years old and attracts people from all around the world to the West Coast to find their match.
Ireland’s only traditional matchmaker, Mr Daly, works from his 'office' inside the Matching Making Bar, pairing hopeful singles together.
Is there still a place for a matchmaking festival? Matchmaker Willie Daly thinks so!
— NewstalkFM (@NewstalkFM) July 19, 2023
Speaking to Lunchtime Live at Newstalk's Summer Series in Clare this afternoon, Mr Daly said he took matching over from his father, and his grandfather – all of whom have operated from the same "love book".
"It's a lucky love book – if you touch it, you're going to be in love and married inside six-ish Irish months," he said.
"When I started with it, it was nice and narrow, but, of course, it did get very big".
For some hopeful singles, they merely need to touch the "love book" and they will meet their match.
"This week, a lovely woman who worked in some part of London, [she was] very young actually – 27," he said, "She wasn't over successful with boys staying with her so she decided she needed to touch the book."
"She went out, and she contact us to say she was getting married this November."
Over his 56 years as a matchmaker, Mr Daly said he has matched over 3000 couples.
"When I introduce them, I may or may not hear much of them again," he said.
"About two years ago, I was at Ballinasloe at a horse fair, and I was walking up the street and I could see this young man and young woman, and they had a stroller.
"He saw me coming up, and he said, 'Hi Willie Daly, look at the trouble you got me into' and he had triplets inside in there."
Mr Daly said Irish people don't realise how attractive they can be to international suitors – who make up a large portion of his clientele.
"We have very beautiful Irish girls that have a lovely nature – they have kindness and they have tenderness and that's not easily found in a lot of parts of the world anymore," he said.
"They're a huge attraction for people from other countries ... then the men have, especially in rural Ireland, they often have a lot of unused love because there are very few girls in the West."
Mr Daly said American women and Irish men traditionally have made good matches, but the same cannot be said for Irish women and American men.
"American men, they look for a very puritanically minded girl," he said.
"They might say, 'I don't want someone that smokes, I don't want someone who drinks, and we'll go to Mass every Sunday.' I say, 'Well, you're in the wrong country.'"