Online dating blamed for closure of Knock Marriage Introductions service after 50 years

People visit Knock Shrine during the Pope's visit in August.

The Knock Marriage Introductions service, which helped form almost 1,000 couples, is closing after 50 years.

The agency, which used to be known as the Knock Marriage Bureau, was set up in the 1960s while emigration was rife in the west of Ireland.

The service was designed to help Catholic singletons meet with the eventual goal of getting married.

To sign up, a person would provide details about their hobbies, physical features and the size of their farm.

A postcard sized photo was also required to gain a years membership - which cost €200.

Couples would be matched based on their personalities and be introduced over the phone. The service made no promises that all who would apply would find a life partner

But over the years 18,000 couples met, with 960 going on to tie the knot.

Father Stephen Farragher says the advent of the internet and online dating platforms led to a decline in demand for its services.

In February, chief matchmaker Leona Connery expressed her concern over the reduction of marriages in recent years.

She told that just two people had got engaged and none had married last year, despite having around 160 applicants.

“Now marriages are down though people are in long-term relationships. They are not rushing into marriage,” she told the website.

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