LISDOONVARNA, Ireland — After 50-odd years in the business of romance, Willie Daly has a lot of stories to tell.
Like the one about the man who fell to his knees in front of a woman, followed her to the altar and only later admitted that he had not meant to propose — it had been a long night, and he had tripped.
Or the one about a woman whose potential suitors kept hanging up after asking her age, until Mr. Daly advised her to say she was young at heart. After that, the 83-year-old widow enjoyed two months of delightful conversation before dying.
“We are all looking for the simple thing of love,” Mr. Daly said, as one of his six daughters — he also has two sons — stoked the peat stove in his kitchen on a raw winter morning recently outside Ennistymon, a village on Ireland’s rural west coast. “To be cherished, to feel special.”
Mr. Daly — who thinks he is in his early 70s but does not know precisely because, he says, the priest who kept such records drank a lot — has been thinking about love most of his life. A horse farmer by trade, he is one of Ireland’s last traditional matchmakers, best known for presiding over the annual matchmaking festival in nearby Lisdoonvarna — a weekslong autumnal event famed for its all-day dancing and spontaneous, often late-night, marriage proposals.
“Everyone should be in love, all their lives,” Mr. Daly said.
Rory O’Neill, a drag performer and gay rights activist, said he was moved by Mr. Daly’s readiness to include gay singles in his old-time matchmaking book. Yet he was confused by the “LOL” written beside names. Finally, Mr. O’Neill asked what it meant.
“Lots of land,” Mr. Daly answered.
A version of this article appears in print on February 4, 2015, on page A11 of the New York edition with the headline: A Matchmaker and a Festival Keep an Irish Tradition Alive. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe