On this most auspicious of days, the Irish Farmers Journal caught up with Ireland’s oldest matchmaker Willie Daly to see how people in rural Ireland are dating during the lockdown.

“Love without the pub, and a new face about the place,” are two things he talks about.

“There is a lot of new experience for people in this lockdown. People in rural Ireland work very hard and when they go out, they have a good time and enjoy themselves.

“The new thing that has occurred is love without the pub. There is no pub open so it’s a new challenge and it’s not simple, but the benefit of it is they get to know each other on a different level and they would talk a lot online before they meet,” Willie tells the Irish Farmers Journal.

Envision a new person on the farm

“I think it is very important for a farmer to envision a new face on the farm. The fourteenth of February is a new day and a new possibility to tell someone that you love them or you want to marry them. But you would want to make sure their boyfriend isn’t watching!” he laughs.

On a more serious note, he advises farmers to think about bringing a new person into their lives, especially if they are used to living in their own.

Every year Lisdoonvarna hosts a matchmaking festival that attracts many single people. Here is the Matchmaker Bar.

“It can be daunting but it can be very exciting. If you are not used to having a woman about the house, you have to remember you can’t bring your dirty boots into the house. It’s all part of envisioning a new person about the place.”

Love without the pub

The famous matchmaker reckons that the lockdown is a good time for people to date as they get to know people better and things move somewhat slower than they would have done before.

“My theory on online dating is that it’s a good time for people to date. It’s not instant and it’s not quick. Lockdown is giving people a chance to get to know each other and know the inner person. It is happening and people are meeting.”

“Farmers are one of the lucky groups of people because they could put a couple of buckets of nuts in the back of the car and if they get stopped they could say they are going to feed the stock when they are going on a date,” Willie jokes.

Lisdoonvarna matchmaker Willie Daly.

A city girl and a farmer make a good match

“Myself and my daughter will be holding a Zoom on Valentine’s Day at 5pm and we will be giving out advice about dating and getting married. The idea of having a family has crept back into people’s lives. There is a huge amount of women in cities looking to meet farmers. It’s a new trend, they are tired of life in the city and they are finding that young farmers are very well educated these days. A city girl and a country lad make a good match I find.”

Hopes for the 2021 Matchmaking Festival

On a final note, the Lisdoonvarna love doctor advises that people should tell each other how they feel on Valentine’s Day.

If you get refused there will always be another day, but there is nothing worse than not asking and not knowing

“I always think that Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for people to connect with a person you have feelings for and tell them how you feel, there is nothing sadder in life as years go on and people look back and say ‘what if I had of asked that girl to marry me, or told her I loved her on Valentine’s Day’ would my life be different now. If you get refused there will always be another day, but there is nothing worse than not asking and not knowing.”

“I will be honest, I am very enthusiastic that Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival may go ahead if the vaccine is rolled out. With God’s help, everyone will be able to go out dancing and hold each other in our arms again.”