Thursday 27 July 2017

First success story for world's only same-sex matchmaking festival as Offaly-based couple tie the knot

The pair hit it off in Lisdoonvarna with a little help from Panti and matchmaker Willie Daly

Jason Kennedy

Jason Kennedy

An Irish event which prides itself as the world's first and currently only LGBT matchmaking festival has had its first success story, as a couple who met there recently married.

Christina Procter and Amy Gavin were both at The Outing festival in Lisdoonvarna, Co Clare when it hosted its very first year.

Although it was the first time they were properly introduced to each other, the future couple actually worked in the same company for a period of time.

"I say she stalked me on Facebook but she’ll never admit it," Ms Procter (33) joked.

"We had been chatting on Facebook for a few months but never met up. Then I saw on Facebook she was going to The Outing. I figured this was my chance to meet her face to face so I went down with a few friends."

The first time they actually spoke to each other was with a little help of Panti Bliss.

Christina Procter and Amy Gavin with The Outing Organiser Eddie McGuinness
Christina Procter and Amy Gavin with The Outing Organiser Eddie McGuinness

"Panti grabbed me by the arm dragged me over to Amy and said 'I’ve a feeling you two are just meant to be,'" Christina said.

"Panti was so right. We are well matched so getting married this year was the right move.

"We have [Festival organiser] Eddie McGuinness and Rory O'Neill to thank for setting us on our path."

Once the festival ended, the couple became almost inseparable. Not too long after, Amy (30) brought Christina to Lanzarote for her birthday and proposed to her.

Christina Procter and Amy Gavinwho met at The Outing festival in Lisdoonvara. Photo: Eamon Ward
Christina Procter and Amy Gavinwho met at The Outing festival in Lisdoonvara. Photo: Eamon Ward

In February this year, the pair married in Clanard Court Hotel in Athy, Co Kildare, where they had the best day of their lives.

"We didn't feel any different to any other wedding. There were a few questions from family and friends like 'will you both wear dresses?' and 'who goes down the aisle first?', which was Amy, since she lost the coin toss," Ms Procter said.

"Our poor reverend accidentally said 'husband and wife' but everyone just laughed as it was her first same sex marriage too. Overall it was the best day of our lives and all our friends enjoyed themselves too."

Ms Procter is originally from Dublin, but moved to the Edenderry in Co Offaly to be with her new wife Amy.

"In Edenderry, it's the same as married life for a straight couple. It's quiet and slightly boring and we have to travel a bit for a decent night out," she joked.

"We believe our marriage is accepted and people just accept it has happened. No one has commented otherwise."

The festival is now in its fourth year and Mr McGuinness is hoping more success stories will come out of it.

"When I started The Outing in the home of Matchmaking in Lisdoonvarna, all I wanted to do was to bring LGBT community together in a fun and safe place. Four years later people have fallen in and out of love, but this year we have had our first wedding which is amazing.

"We are getting bookings and enquiries from all over the world. I think we have tapped into some thing new and fun."

New figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show there were 91 same-sex marriages last year.

This includes 47 male couples and 44 female couples.

For more information on The Outing, visit their website here.

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