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The LGBT matchmaking festival kicks off today - and the world's media will be here to cover it

Fáilte Ireland has invited a consortium of journalists to see just how LGBT tourism-friendly Ireland has become.

lisdoon1 Source: TheOuting.ie

THE OUTING, A LGBT version of the world-renowned matchmaking festival in Lisdoonvarna, kicks off at 2pm today in the Co Clare town, and the eyes of the world will be watching.

Fáilte Ireland has invited a consortium of international press to Ireland for a few days to monitor just how friendly towards LGBT tourism the country has become.

The group of travelling media – which includes representatives from Buzzfeed UK, the Guardian, and the Huffington Post – can boast an online readership of over 77 million every month (and tv viewership of 40 million US households) so it’s not to be sniffed at.

21402 - 116 The travelling media pictured beside Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square, Dublin Source: Lensmen Photographic Agency, Lensmen Photographic Agency

After taking in a gay walking tour of Dublin yesterday followed by a night on the town, the group will head for The Outing this afternoon.

The festival, now in its third year, runs from today until Sunday.

“This group’s interest in coming to Ireland is very much a product of the recent marriage referendum which brought Ireland to the attention of the global LGBT market.” says Ciara Sugrue of Fáilte Ireland.

The circulation of the visiting media will position Ireland as a happening and welcoming place to visit for many LGBT travellers.

lisdoon2 Christina Procter and Amy Gavin, set to become the first Outing couple to tie the knot, in 2016 Source: TheOuting.ie

Festival host Panti Bliss, aka Rory O’Neill, is no less enthused:

“There’ll be plenty of fun, laughter and the very best of old Ireland, with music, dancing and plenty of craicthis is new twist on an old tradition. And the setting? Who could ask for a more incredible backdrop,” he said.

This little village has been matchmaking since way back in the 1850s!

Aside from the matchmaking the festival will boast international acts (including Katrina from Katrina & The Waves, The Nualas, and Katharine Lynch), and Irish & international drag artists such as Jonny Woo (London), Le Gateau Chocolat and local favourites Sheila Fits-Patrick and Madonna Lucia.

It was reported in early September that LGBT tourism in Ireland could now be worth as much as €2.3 million per day to the economy.

Read: Ireland says ‘I do’: The Marriage Equality Bill will be published tomorrow

Read: Is the lid about to be lifted from Nama’s ‘Project Eagle’?

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