South African widow sells up house and business to find love at Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival

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 matchmaking festival.

Marleze Kruger, 46, with her son Kurgan-Ray, 22.

Marleze Kruger first hit the headlines in early June when she announced 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”, and has received 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, whose life was turned upside-down in 2003 when her husband was murdered following a robbery, said she’s 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 in Ireland until mid-October and I 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.”

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

The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival runs from September 1 to October 8.

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