Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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Head to Ireland for the world’s only LGBTQ matchmaking festival

The Outing, the only LGBTQ+ Matchmaking Festival, returns to County Clare, Ireland this Valentine’s Day Weekend from February 10-12, 2023, and one of our favorite Bear crooners, Paul Middleton, will be performing!

The handsome and talented bear heartthrob Paul Middleton returns for his second year at the festival from London. His live show will feature covers of hits from the 1980s to the present. Paul will hit the stage on Friday, February 10th at 9:00 pm at The Ballyhannon Suite/The Outing Main Room.

Paul Middleton at The Outing
Paul Middleton (left) and Eddie McGuinness (Photo Credit: The Outing)

Based on the world-famous, 170-year-old Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival for straight singles in County Clare, The Outing was established in 2012 for queer people that wanted to get in on the fun and find love, friendship, or both.

Master LGBTQ+ matchmaker Eddie McGuinness will be using his expertise to pair off the couples. With 10 years of experience under his belt, he has had great success making matches and curating this beloved event for visitors and locals alike.

The event will be held once again at The Inn at Dromoland in County Clare, where it’s been held since 2019. It will feature entertainment from Eurovision veterans Niamh Kavanagh and Linda Martin, drag performances from Paul Ryder, Phil T Gorgeous, Regina George, and Carrie Déway, and musical performances from Mark T Cox, Shosby, Paul Middleton, Sparkle and so much more.


Check out some of the other events taking place throughout the weekend:


Friday, February 10

6:00 PM – The Outing’s Céad Míle Fáilte @ The Inn At Dromoland
The official welcome party with cocktails, live music, and DJs to start your weekend off in style!

8:00 pm – Ice Breaker/Speed Dating with Kiki St. Clair @ The Ballyhannon Suite/The Outing Main Room
This is an organized social activity in which people seeking romantic relationships or friendships have a series of short conversations with potential partners in order to determine whether there is mutual interest.

10:00 pm – Blind Date & Mr & Mr/ Mrs & Mrs: The Outing ‘Blind Date’ with RingMaster Paul Ryder & Eddie McGuinness @ The Ballyhannon Suite/The Outing Main Room
Take part in “Blind Date” and potentially walk away with the person of your dreams or win fabulous prizes! This event will also be the debut of The Outing’s new show Mr & Mr plus Mrs & Mrs for all the couples who have come to this LGBT Love Festival.

11:00 PM – The Outing All-Time Variety Performance. ‘The Outing’s Show to End All Shows Show’ @ The Ballyhannon Suite/The Outing Main Room
This will be a jam-packed show of special Irish, UK & International guest performers, hosted by Ireland’s Got Talent star and Ring Master of Love Paul Ryder.

12:45 AM – Masquerade Ball with DJ Ruth hosted by Kiki St. Clair @ The Ballyhannon Suite/The Outing Main Room
Bring your own masquerade mask or use one provided for you at one of the signature dance events of The Outing.

Saturday, February 11

9:00 am – Explore Clare, The Burren, and the Cliffs of Moher 
Get out and enjoy some of the most beautiful landscapes in Ireland. You can see amazing local attractions like the Cliffs of Moher, or go caving, hiking, surfing and more!

10:00 am – Wet’n’Wild at The Outing Festival
Wet and Wild is a sport and outdoor enthusiast group for the LGBT community in Ireland, encouraging you to get out and meet some really nice people while being in nature. More info at The Outing Festival Desk or www.wetandwildsports.com.

1:00 pm – Enjoy Afternoon Tea at The Inn at Dromoland
Traditional Afternoon Tea in a warm and friendly location, hosted by Kellie Maloney.

3:00 pm – Bingo & Carrieoake with Carrie Déway & Missy Onya Becks
Join the winner of Ringmasters Dragrace Cycle 3, Miss Carrie Déway, and Belfast’s Missy Onya Becks in Shannigans Bar for a hilarious ‘knicker wetting’ afternoon of Bingo and Carrieoake.

5:00 pm – Karaoke King or Queens! with Kiki St.Clair
Karaoke Queens! You could win some free booze and prizes if you impress Kiki St Clair and Mr. Pussy enough. No matter how good or bad you are, this is your time to shine like a star at The Outing Karaoke.

6:00 pm – Open Mic in Shannigans Bar
From Spoken Word to Poetry to Song, the open mic here has it all. Hosted by Sonya Mulligan.

7:30 pm – Ice Breaker/Speed Dating with Kiki St.Clair @ The Ballyshannon Suite/The Outing Main Room

8:30 pm – Sparkle Live @ The Ballyshannon Suite/The Outing Main Ballroom
The duo consists of
Caroline Bailey on vocals and Jen Bowler on guitar and vocals. The duo shot to internet fame in 2017 with their ‘Couch Cover’ of Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill”. Since then, they have been gigging all over Ireland, appeared on Ireland’s Got Talent, and performed at Dublin Pride.

9:30 PM The Outing ‘Blind Date’ with Ring Master Paul Ryder & Eddie McGuinness

11:30 PM Niamh Kavanagh Eurovision Winner
Returning for her 3rd time in 9 Years, Niamh Kavanagh has been singing for most of her life.  Of all her guises within the music industry, Niamh is best known for her Eurovision successes, representing her country twice and winning for Ireland in 1993.  She has recorded many albums and collaborations, in particular lending her vocals to one of the best-selling soundtrack albums of all time, The Commitments.

12:30 AM Club Tease “Sisters just wanna have Fun!” – Traffic Light Ball with Special Guest DJ.
Another feature club night! More info coming soon!


Sunday, February 12

Dromore Wood Loop is a 3.9-mile moderate trail located near Ennis, County Clare, Ireland that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

12:00 pm – Hike and walk the grounds of the Dromoland area & Castle with Wet’n’Wild club

2:00 pm– DJ Ruth and Afternoon Games Zone
Lunch or afternoon tea in the Chill-Out zone with time to chat and make new friends or play some board games.

7:00 pm– Singer Songwriter Brew live on stage in Shannigans Bar
Brew is a musician who writes, composes, and performs his own musical material, including lyrics and melodies.

8:00 pm – Open Mic in Shannigans Bar

11:00 pm – The Outing All-Time Variety Performance. ‘The Outing’s Show to End All Shows Show & Festival Weekend’ in Shannigans Bar
This will be a jam-packed show of special guest performers to cap off the weekend. Hosted by Eddie McGuinness & Carrie Déway.

12:00 AM – Miss Carrie Déway Music 80’s, 90’s, 00’s & beyond in Shannigans Bar
Miss Carrie Déway plays Music 80’s, 90’s, 00’s & beyond to officially wrap up the weekend!

For more information and to book your tickets head to The Outing’s official website.

Queer Forty Staff

Queer Forty writing staff work hard to bring you all the latest articles to help inspire and inform.

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