Recession blessing for matchmaker with best year yet
HE is one of the few links to a more romantic Ireland.
But veteran matchmaker Willie Daly is celebrating his most successful year since he first started introducing couples over half a century ago.
The third-generation matchmaker and farmer claimed a record 237 couples he's brought together have walked down the aisle in the past year.
Mr Daly (69) once feared that demand for his old-fashioned services would vanish, particularly during the Celtic Tiger years and the explosion in internet dating in that period.
But he claimed the recession has seen an increase in singletons queuing up for his advice.
"It's been a very good year," he said. "In fact it could have been the busiest and most successful I've ever had in terms of marriages. I've counted up 237 of them in the past 12 months -- with many of those over here, but a good few abroad too.
"There's been marriages in places like Singapore and the Philippines, where word has been spreading about my services.
"I put a lot of it down to the recession, because people are more desperate to get married than ever before because of the security it gives them.
"The first thing a lady might have been interested in a few years ago was how the fella looked. But most of them now wouldn't even mind if hadn't a full set of teeth or if his hair hadn't seen a wash or a brush for a while, so long as he had a bit of money.
"The first question they want to know now when they ask me to find them someone is if he's working."
The world-famous matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna takes place next month, from September 2 to October 3.