IRELAND’S oldest matchmaking festival is going pink this September with a gay and lesbian weekend being added to the month-long Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival.
This year’s matchmaking festival will begin with The Outing – a lesbian and gay weekend involving concerts, matchmaking and other events, all hosted by drag-queen Panti.
The event is the brainchild of local hotelier Marcus White who has contracted the organiser of the Dublin Pride Festival, Eddie McGuinness, to manage the event.
According to McGuinness, the event will the biggest gay and lesbian matchmaking event ever to take place, anywhere in the world.
“At the end of the day it’s about love – that what the matchmaking festival has always been about. Ireland is leading the world on gay issues and hopefully we will have gay marriage soon, so the time is right for something like this to take place,” said Eddie McGuinness.
“Nothing on this scale has ever been done anywhere else in the world. We are taking matchmaking into the 21st century. We have a five-year plan for this event. This year we are looking at attracting people from Ireland and the UK but this is going to become a very big international event.”
The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival has been in operation for more than 150 years and attracts thousands of singles from all over the world to the North Clare village each September.
It is not as yet clear if Ireland’s last matchmaker, local man Willie Daly, will be directly involved in the gay and lesbian festival.
“We are trying to put a different twist on the festival. It is going to be same as any other matchmaking weekend – we will have entertainment, music and dancing – but this will be a gay and lesbian weekend,” said hotelier Marcus White.
“There will be matchmaking going on throughout the weekend. We are hoping to get Willie Daly involved as well. We are in talks with Willie at the moment and hopefully he will come n board.
“This has not been tried been tried anywhere else in the world. We are very open-minded up here in Lisdoonvarna. As Willie Daly says himself – love doesn’t distinguish, if you’re in love, you’re in love.”
The first ever Lesbian and Gay Weekend of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival will take place from Friday, August 30 to Sunday, September 1.