Galway farmers and female teachers are high up the list of lovelorn clients availing of the Knock Marriage introduction service.
The Bureau currently has 265 men and women on file registered with the aim of finding true love that will end up in marriage.
Galway women—the vast majority with third level education—have told Canon Joe Cooney and Leona Connery, who are the driving forces behind Knock Marriage Bureau that a lack of suitable social outlets is the reason for them registering in the hope of meeting someone compatible.
In fact Canon Joe was the chief celebrant of a marriage that resulted from an introduction at Knock while Leona was among the invited guests. The service they provide is much appreciated by those who find their ideal partner. More than 1,000 marriages have taken place as a direct result of introductions that have been made in Knock.
Last year there were five weddings and at the moment there are three engagements. But as Leona explained a lot of those who apply to Knock Marriage Bureau are of ages that are looking for companionship as opposed to marriage.
Canon Cooney told the Connacht Tribune that there was a huge amount of interest from Galway; the vast majority of men from farming backgrounds with many of the women being teachers and nurses. They have applicants from 29 to 75 at the moment.
“It certainly is a very interesting job”, Leona said. “And we are always absolutely delighted to hear the good news when couples contact us and tell us they are engaged to be married”.
Ms Connery said the marriage introduction service is “way ahead” of internet and speed dating. “We have people using our service who have tried both and still come back to us because it is a success”, she said.
The service was founded in 1968 by the late Fr Michael Keane, a native of Claremorris. At that time, with emigration rates extremely high, it aimed to introduce returning emigrants to women at home. Canon Cooney took over at the helm of the service in 2005.