“Taking the online offline to find Love or friendship or both”
“11 Years of Bringing People Together”
The Outing Festival World’s Only Queer Matchmaking, Music & Arts Festival
Valentine’s Weekend, 9th-11th February 2024
We have had a breakup with life in the last few years. Now it’s time to get back out there and find that passion or even love again or both, and The Outing Festival is here to help in the areas of Arts, Music and most importantly, Matchmaking.
The ever-growing Off-shot and the stand-alone LGBTQ+ festival are now from the famous Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in Co. Clare, Ireland.
The Outing Festival world’s only Queer Matchmaking Festival, returns on Valentine’s Weekend on February 2024 in its New home but still in the heart of Co. Clare on the grounds of Dromoland Castle at The Inn at Dromoland.
“Over 11 Years of Bringing People Together,” the festival has grown from 1st year in 2013 in Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. With Same-sex marriage equality in 2015, the festival has, with the help of Queen of Matchmaking Eddie McGuinness, brought together hundreds of couples and even two marriages in that time and a few more on the way. With some teaching from the 4th generation of Matchmaking, Willie Daly
It’s not easy to find someone of like-mindedness out there online or offline before COVID and since, but this is what we do here at The Outing Festival, said Eddie McGuinness, Queen of Matchmaking, aka Mr Pride. This is a fusion of Queer Arts and culture plus that safe space where you can chat and meet someone from the LGBTQ+ community in a beautiful part of West Ireland in Co. Clare.
With hundreds of LGBTQ+ tourists from Scotland, the USA, South America, Canada, France, Germany, the UK and more coming from around the world to find love and friendship in the west of Ireland
Who needs online dating when you can meet in person or with an extra helping hand from Queen of Matchmaking Eddie McGuinness, aka Mr Pride, hosting Blind Date to speed dating and more events to get you connected?
“This is like a Gay Butlins with even more glitter and camp,” said Eddie McGuinness, founder & Queen of Matchmaking.
The Outing Festival has now developed into an even bigger festival by bringing the LGBTQ+ community and friends together in the areas of Arts, Music, Film, and Comedy, plus outdoor activities (hiking, surfing, water sports, horse riding, golf and more) with at the heart of the festival been Matchmaking the art of bringing people no matter who they are or backgrounds together.
Going into our 11th year as a festival, we never stop bringing people together by going online and showcasing excellent singer-songwriters to artists and bits of Fabulous Drag from Panti to Paul Ryder to Victoria Secret, even bringing in international drag artists with an Irish connection. This is a new twist on an old tradition with an extra Rainbow to make things happen.
For over 11 years, we not only hosted our matchmaking festival in Co. Clare but are Matchmaker Eddie McGuinness has visited other Pride festivals around Ireland, from the smallest ones in Mayo to Sligo Pride, then onto Dundalk, Limerick, Galway, Waterford & Carlow Pride, to name a few.
We host a Géilí every year for Dublin Pride (that Trad session with Irish dancers in Panti Bar with a gay twist)
We have taken the festival and our Matchmaker to London, Manchester, and even Vienna with hopes to World Pride Sydney Australia next year.
Love is all around us
The Outing Festival’s love for Eurovision will keep growing with Irish and international winners performing at the festival: Johnny Logan, Katrina (Katrina & The Waves) UK winner, Irish winner Paul Harrington, a great friend of the festival Niamh Kavanagh (3rd time at the festival) alongside Linda Martin as a special guest in 2023.
Some of the Hosts over the ten years have been Panti Bliss, Brendan Courtney, Alan Hughes and, in the last few years, Paul Ryder (Ireland AM Virgin Media has co-hosted alongside our Queen of Matchmaking Eddie McGuinness.
At the festival’s core is bringing people and artists together who are Irish or with an Irish connection or hope to have one by the end of the festival, said Eddie McGuinness, Queen of Matchmaking and founder.
Matchmaking Festival like no other
“Who needs dating apps? At The Outing Festival, the glittery LGBT+ sister event of the 160-year-old Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival, there’s no technology, just good old-fashioned parties in the unlikely setting of rural County Clare” The Guardian UK Newspaper.
Homosexuality was only decriminalised in Ireland in 1993, but in May 2015, the country became the first in the world to legalise gay marriage by popular vote, and it did so resoundingly: 62% voted in favour. In the traditionally more conservative west, County Clare voted 58% in favour, so the festival isn’t quite as incongruous as it sounds. Except it still is 8 years or more later, there have been marriages and engagement parties after meeting at The Outing Festival.
For Interviews about The Outing Festival or with Eddie McGuinness, Queen of Matchmaking/ Festival Director & Founder