Limerick proud of their handsome men – despite being named ugliest in Ireland
Some of Limerick's sexiest, and best known, personalities came out swinging this weekend after a new survey claimed the city's inhabitants were the ugliest in the country.
Earlier last week, Ireland's males were named alongside blokes from the UK and Poland as the least attractive on the planet by an international dating website that only accepts good-looking singletons.
Less than one in 10 Irishmen who applied to land their profiles on beautiful-people.com in the past 12 months were accepted, according to the website.
But further analysis of the figures by the LA-based service's chiefs have revealed that romance-hunters from Limerick received the most rejections.
According to the findings, Dubliners are the most attractive, followed by males and females from Cork, Galway and Belfast.
But Limerick TD Willie O'Dea – who himself featured on a list of Limerick's sexiest men in 2011 – described the statistics as "farcical".
"Limerick has always been noted for the beauty of its women," he told the Sunday Independent. "As for the other side of the equation, I wouldn't hold up certain local politicians as a prototype or anything, but take for example a number of the rugby players like Conor Murray, David Wallace, Paul O'Connell – they're all from Limerick and I don't think the vast majority of women around the country would find them unattractive."
Limerick-based model agent Celia Holman Lee agreed. "They have got that all wrong," she insisted. "When President Kennedy visited Limerick all of those years ago, one of the first things he said was how beautiful the women of Limerick were.
"Limerick has a fantastic reputation for beautiful women," she added. "I married a Limerick man and I think he is the best in the world." she said, rather predictably.
Limerick model Leanne Moore also weighed into the controversy. "It's all down to individual tastes. I think there's a lot of very good looking Limerick men and women around."
Despite formerly holding the Mr World crown, Limerick man Kamal Ibrahim insisted beauty is only skin deep.
"I don't pay attention to looks," he told the Sunday Independent.
"There are plenty of good looking people in Limerick and in particular I think it's not until you go away travelling that you realise how attractive Irish girls really are."
Irishmen overall are the biggest losers in the 'ugly' survey, having slipped from 12 per cent and third-to-bottom last year to the foot of the new table for the first time. Both the UK and the Poland also shared the wooden spoon last year.
There was better news for Irish women, who maintained their top 10 position in the rankings from last year, with the same 23 per cent success rate. Scandinavian babes dominated the top three places, with Norwegians the pick of the world's beauties at 71 per cent, followed by Sweden at 62 per cent and Iceland at 61 per cent.
And men from Sweden, at 60 per cent, were rated the top hunks by the LA-based site's chiefs, followed by Brazil at 41 per cent and Denmark at 40 per cent.
The elite dating club now boasts more than five million members worldwide, despite its strict vetting procedures, whereby picky members of the opposite sex voting on romance-hunters on the basis of how attractive they look in a submitted profile picture.
Although an average of one in five, or 20 per cent, of all global applicants, up to 3,000 every day, make it onto the site, the latest figures show there are still huge discrepancies between each country.
However, Greg Hodge, who runs the service, stressed he makes no apology for running a dating service which is exclusively available to the globe's best-looking singletons.
He said: "It's great to see Irish women retaining their top 10 position, however, Irish men are again pulling Ireland down overall by sharing the dubious honour with British and Polish men of being the least attractive country in the world for male inhabitants.
"Although many Irish males leads in Hollywood are known for their beauty, this would appear to be the exception and not the norm – great advertising for Ireland, but false advertising nonetheless."
HOW MEN FARED
Sweden 60 per cent
Brazil 41 per cent
Denmark 40 per cent
Italy 37 per cent
Portugal 35 per cent
Argentina 32 per cent
Norway 27 per cent
Spain 25 per cent
USA 24 per cent
Canada 23 per cent
Australia 22 per cent
France 20 per cent
Turkey 20 per cent
Korea 18 per cent
China 17 per cent
Japan 15 per cent
India 15 per cent
Germany 13 per cent
UK 9 per cent
Poland 9 per cent
Ireland 9 per cent
HOW WOMEN FARED
Norway 71 per cent
Sweden 62 per cent
Iceland 61 per cent
Brazil 45 per cent
Argentina 43 per cent
USA 36 per cent
France 35 per cent
Canada 26 per cent
Italy 25 per cent
Ireland 23 per cent
Russia 22 per cent
Spain 21 per cent
Australia 19 per cent
Turkey 16 per cent
Portugal 16 per cent
India 15 per cent
Lithuania 15 per cent
Korea 15 per cent
China 15 per cent
UK 15 per cent
Germany 13 per cent
And the cities (in order of most to least attractive inhabitants): Dublin, Cork, Galway, Belfast, Limerick.