Dating agency plays Cupid for 1,500 couples who hit it off
Irish dating agency Intro Matchmaking has just reached a milestone. It has paired up 3,000 people - that's 1,500 couples.
Engaged couple Feargal Harrington and Rena Maycock set up their dating agency two years ago, and they arrange 100 dates a week for their members - who range in ages from 22 to 80 years of age.
The couple decided they wanted to become the "wing man" or the matchmaker for people who have struggled to find that one special person.
The agency has a strict sign-up policy where they only sign up members who are serious about looking for a relationship.
"We call up each person and sell them the profile of the person we're going to match them with. And then we do the exact same thing with the other person."
"We arrange the date, book the restaurant and do it all from start to finish. Then we do a follow-up call the next day, and we ask if they plan to go "on pause" because they've felt a bond."
The agency's "most heavily populated" age group is the group between 33 to 40 years. A major focus for both genders in this age group is they want to start a family.
"We have slightly fewer women on our books in that age group. Men at ages 39, 40, 41 are now deciding they want to have kids."
"For many women in their 30s the sole focus is, 'I want to have kids'. That can be a bit of a problem if their tunnel vision is to find a man... People have to have an open mind."
"It's far better if a woman says, I'm going to meet five different men that I wouldn't normally meet in a social setting."
The number one pet peeve for women on the dating scene is when men are stingy or tight, according to Feargal. While the main pet peeve for men is when the women they're dating are loud, domineering or brash.
"What annoys women most of all, without a doubt, is stinginess. By far, 90-something per cent of women say there's nothing worse in any human being than stinginess."
"And men say that they hate loudness, brashness, and women who are domineering."
"For both men and women, smoking is a turn-off. The smell, the anti-social aspect of it when people are leaving them alone in a date scenario to go out and have a smoke."
While many people have a preconceived notion of their ideal partner, It is essential that each person has an "open mind", Feargal says.
On paper, two people might seem like they wouldn't make a good match, but the reality is often far different.
"One guy was in farming down the country in Munster and he was in his 30s. And we matched him with a lady who was very high up in the financial services sector in Dublin."
"When you look at it from an outside point of view, you might think they're polar opposites, but actually they were particularly well matched when you looked at their hobbies, their interests, their core values, their future goals and their family values. These were all the same."
"Now the lady commutes from Munster, so it's a very long distance."
"Their core values and future goals were the exact same. They're both active, they look after themselves, they both wanted a full life, they're very positive and very glass-half-full people."
Feargal's team meets every day in their boardroom to sift through their members' profiles and match up prospective couples.
One in three new members at Intro Matchmaking are as a result of a referral from a couple who are in a long-term relationship.
While one in four members end up in a long-term relationship, according to Feargal.
"The problem with online dating is you've no way of knowing whether a person is genuine or not," he added.
"People come here genuinely dedicated and looking for an honourable partnership."