Belfast Telegraph

Matchmaker inundated as widow moves 9,000 miles to find true love in Ireland

By Nick Bramhill

A South African widow who has sold her house and business to find love in Lisdoonvarna is attracting unprecedented interest from would-be suitors ahead of the start of the world-famous matchmaking festival.

Marleze Kruger hit the headlines in early June when she announced that she was selling up to fulfil her dream of finding a new partner at the Co Clare lovefest.

And veteran matchmaker Willie Daly has revealed he's never experienced "as much interest in a woman" following a flood of calls from interested bachelors from across Ireland.

The 75-year-old love doctor said: "Marleze has been in touch with me and I'm really looking forward to meeting her when she's over in a few weeks.

"I can guarantee she's going to have her pick of the fellas here, because so many have been in touch, asking me if I can set them up on a date with her.

"I would think between 50 to 60 admirers have expressed an interest in her at this stage.

"They all seem to like her spirit of adventure and the fact that she is selling up to find romance in Ireland.

"I've never come across that much interest in a woman in all my years as a matchmaker."

Johannesburg-based Marleze saw her life turned upside-down in 2003 when her husband was murdered during a robbery.

She said she was now fully committed to starting a new life in Ireland.

The 46-year-old mother-of-one said: "At the moment I'm in the final stages of selling both my house and guesthouse and I'm planning to be over in Lisdoonvarna on September 7.

"I'll be staying over in Ireland until mid-October and I really hope to have met someone by then.

"If I don't meet anyone at the festival, I will still move over to Ireland, anyway, and I hope to do that by January of next year.

"South Africa is a beautiful country and we have great weather and warm-hearted people.

"But the country is not safe anymore.

"You always need to be home before it gets dark, because it's too dangerous to be out.

"So I'll be saying goodbye to everyone in South Africa in a few months and settling all my affairs and I'll be making a permanent move to either Galway or Clare, where I'll be hoping to start some kind of business."

Marleze - who became enchanted with Ireland on two previous visits - said her 22-year-old son Kurgan-Ray would also be joining her in Lisdoonvarna for part of the festival.

The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, one of Ireland's oldest traditional festivals takes place in the small spa town every September.

The festival, now over 150 years old, attracts up to 60,000 people from all over the world.

It runs from September 1 to October 8.

Belfast Telegraph

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