Friday 28 July 2017

I'm ready for romance

When it comes to love, the demands of Adrian Legg are simple. He hopes for a woman who is "tall, elegant with two legs and must like living on an island". Adrian is just one of the many new hopefuls signing up with Claire Daly’s new Matchmaker’s Daughter dating service.

Like many hopefuls, Adrian enlisted Claire’s services during the recent Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival. “I was dying to see the town and what the festival was all about, and after a look around I remember thinking, ‘I’m much too sober for this’,” recalls Adrian.

After all, the hopes of a small island population are resting on his, ahem, shoulders.

“Our school is running out of children,” says Adrian, 37, who lives on the starkly beautiful Sherkin Island, off the coast of south-west Cork, where the population is just over 100 in the winter months.

“So the joke on the island is I’ve to go and get hooked up with someone so there’ll be more kids on Sherkin.”

Legg, who moved to Ireland from England when he was five, used to live in Dublin, but says the only things he misses about city life are “women, cinema and kebabs”. The digitalmedia teacher says Claire deserves full credit for remembering everything he told her during an ‘interview’ as he queued up along with dozens of other hopefuls, to sign up for her services during the festival.

The fee? “About €20.”

“Claire puts a lot of thought into what she does, and she’s already lining me up with some dates. Will I go? Sure. Will I expect too much from it? Of course not. It’s like going for the romance lotto.”

Ann, 46, is another fan of Claire’s approach: “She really takes the time to have a chat,” says the competent career woman from a small town in south-east Ireland.

Ann, who paid €150 to join Claire’s books, doesn’t want her surname made public because she feels there’s still a bit of stigma around being single and using dating agencies.

“A lot of people think you’re a lonely desperado if you sign up with a dating organisation,” she says.

However, “Claire is professional, caring and quite protective”, she adds. “She gives you good advice, like don’t give out your address or phone number at first.

” Ann once tried an online dating service, but wasn’t happy with the result.

“I met a nice guy, but he was very evasive and I wondered was he married,” she explains.

This story is common among women who are choosing Claire over more commercial introduction agencies.

Another complaint is that it can be hard to meet a fella, especially when the venue is a pub.

“It’s quite a depressing scenario late at night when guys are staggering around trying to grope you.”

Christine, 33, from Killarney agrees.

“I’m tired of drunk men trying to grab me on the bum at the end of the night and go home with me, with no view to seeing me again or starting a relationship,” she says.

Christine signed up with Claire last month along with a group of friends. She paid a ¤10 joining fee. There have been no definite matches so far, although a couple of prospects sound hopeful.

The keen sportswoman lives at home, and says she’s hoping to move out next year. Her sister just got married, and many of her friends are settled down or engaged.

“Sometimes you look around at all the couples when you go out and just feel a little bit lonely.”

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