Unlucky In Love – Dating expert shares Ireland’s biggest ICKs!


It may never be a bad time to find the right one, but finding love in a post-lockdown world is no small feat.

Whether you’re looking for a fresh start or just getting back into the market after a breakup, there’s a lot to consider before you start dating again.

Dating expert Feargal Harrington of Intro Matchmaking spoke to Extra.ie on Ireland’s biggest ‘disgusters’ as well as the major mistakes we make when looking for love.

Singles in Ireland have faced a host of challenges in the post-covid dating minefield, with more people looking for love than ever before. Photo: Element Pictures/Enda Bowe/BBC

Feargal, who started the matchmaking agency with his wife Rena over a decade ago, says their years of experience have given him rare insight into the dating habits of Irish singles, revealing exactly where we we deceive.

While many of the apps Irish people use to search for love rely on algorithms, Feargal and Rena rely on instinct and intuition to bring people together in the best possible way.

By talking to Extra.ieFeargal spoke about the biggest hurdles facing Irish singles today and offered some sage advice for those looking to get lucky in love.

Social distancing

Whilst Ireland is a relatively small nation, with everyone having connections across the country, we are surprisingly hesitant to travel when it comes to finding ‘the one’.

Feargal believes this is one of the main problems facing Irish single people and that their reluctance to look beyond their garden prevents them from forming a budding romance.

“The biggest problem for the Irish is the reluctance to travel,” he said, keen to drag people out of their Eircode.

“There are twice as many women in urban areas as men. All the times women tell us ‘where are all the men?’ it’s the ones on Tinder or Bumble with a 15k radius associated with their profile, so they don’t cast a wide enough net.’

“You have to come and tell us ‘I want the best game possible, not just the most practical and practical guy’ because it will end in tears.”

The numbers game

Feargal has found that many people who seek his services have unrealistic age expectations, with the the largest age group on Intro’s books currently being 33-49.

The seasoned matchmaker urged those looking for an impossible age gap to “get back in (their) box and get real for a second”, with both genders looking forward and also someone younger.

“We say to 40-year-old men, you’ll be matched with someone in and around your own age group, maybe around four or five, that works perfectly well,” Feargal said.

Flipping the coin, the dating expert also claimed it was common among women as well; “Women will call us at 50 and say, ‘I don’t look 50 – all my friends say I look more like 40, I do a lot of Pilates, I do yoga, I don’t don’t brag, I’m just being honest. ”’

On your marks, get set, DATE!

Feargal found that an abundance of Irish singles are jumping into the dating pool before they are fully prepared to do so, with many people feeling pressured to find “the one” before they feel ready for love.

“If it brings anxiety, apprehension and tears, then the person is not ready. If the question has to be asked whether I should attend an introduction or go to therapy, you’re not ready,’ Feargal insisted.

When asked how someone will know they’re ready to start dating again, Feargal revealed that it will be obvious when the time comes and you’ll have to focus on yourself before getting back into the market.

“I always say that when the person is ready, they will know they are ready because they will be happy to embark on this new journey to meet new people and they will feel that they have a lot to offer and that they are suitable. to someone.


Feargal and Rena studied the dating patterns of women and men across the country, finding that education or lack thereof is one of the main issues facing Irish singles.

According to the data they looked at, women spend more time than men in higher education here, by a ratio of 1 to 0.6, with many women seeking qualification rather than compatibility.

“When these women equate intelligence only with academic qualifications, that’s where the problem is.” Feargal began by stating that many women who had reached a higher level of education feared dating someone they considered less qualified.

“We have an awful lot of women that we have to turn down who say I have a doctorate from Trinity, so I’m not going to approach him because he’s ‘just a builder’.”

“She would almost rather date a surgeon she never sees than a builder who has time for her, that’s one of the biggest problems for Irish women.”

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