SINGLETONS hoping to find love at this year's Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival have been dealt a bitter blow after it was cancelled due to continued ban on "intimate dancing".
The globally famous event, which takes place in the Co Clare town every September, attracts thousands of people from around the world who hope to find their perfect match.
The organisers have said that as the next phase of 'Reopening Ireland' has been postponed, which would have allowed indoor gatherings of 100 people and 500 outdoors, the event will now have to be cancelled.
"Social distancing would be impossible to implement at festivals like Lisdoonvarna where pubs and clubs are crowded and intimate dancing is one of the attractions for visitors," they said.
"There are a lot of singles and couples, from all generations who are going to be very disappointed, but I think everyone will understand that the risk is simply too high," Marcus White, Managing Director of the White Hotel Group said.
The festival's headline acts this year were to include country music stars Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, Mike Denver and Cliona Hagan.
The organisers said the cancellation "will also be felt deeply by many businesses in the area as it brings in more than €2.5m annually to the local economy".
Mr White said 2019 was the busiest and most successful Lisdoonvarna festival ever and he is staying positive looking ahead to 2021.
"Next year we have booked the same acts which include international DJ's, country music performers and show bands.
"The plan is to make next year's festival bigger and better than ever," he added.