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Some people have been returning to singles nights for more than five years, according to Hugh Redmond of Get

All the while, the number of people in their 20s attending everything from masked balls to Wicklow walks and dinner parties is increasing. Then there are the professionals aged 30 to 40 who have been through the dating regime and they’re disillusioned. “The 40-plus group are often single, separated, divorced or bereaved.

In California, they have moved on to vegan speed dating.

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If regular chit-chat fails, the option remains of salsa dancing on the main floor and regular old speed dating in another corner. There was no agenda and it was a brilliant night.” Some of the participants were controlled, restricted, fearful, some divided off into city versus rural categories, some were of a “critical age” and seeking to meet someone. You had some people who were clearly damaged by past experiences, lost and wanted something out of the night. while people like myself were just enjoying the night,” says Gallagher. There should be no stigma.” And while many will simply treat the night as they would any other and remain in tight-knit groups of men or women, others mingle and meet.

THE SOCIAL ENTERPRISE Conal Gallagher, a high-end landscaper in his 40s, is more accustomed to the exclusive surroundings of The Residence on St Stephen’s Green, than the basement of La Cave, shouting over Brazilian music late on a Wednesday night. And you could see them doing the process of elimination . PROUD AND PRIVATE Among the first timers was solicitor Lorraine Clifford (30), a self-confessed foodie who recently set up her own legal practice and wanted to extend her contacts base. The success stories from these events are not often publicised.

The stereotypical story goes that gardaí and teachers make perfect partners, having first met in the popular stomping ground of Copper Face Jacks. In modern-day dating Ireland, the routine often becomes the local pub, the same corner, the same huddle. Kate turned up with two friends, having got her ticket from one of her friends who “became too mortified about it and bottled it”. QUIZ NIGHT Second in the popularity ranks after speed dating are the “speedy singles pub quizzes”.

Sean, who lived abroad for some time, says Irish women are simply harder to chat up. Later that night, having met some people who were “mad characters but 90 per cent of them were sound”, Kate struck up conversation with Seán. Apart from a close circle of friends, the couple tell relatives and acquaintances they met in a pub. There’s still a perception that internet dating is for the sad and the lonely. The advantage of a quiz over speed dating is obvious – there is no time for awkward or intrusive questions, with the focus on brainstorming answers and drawing on people’s innate competitiveness.

But after being coaxed into going on a Supper Safari, he embraced everything that followed. I’d go every second week if it was organised,” he says. Recently single, open-minded and sociable, the idea of a supper club aroused her interest. Kate, a garda, and Seán, a teacher, are both in their late 20s and met at an arranged event some months ago.