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The Australians have become accomplished speed daters, with a growing range of options including tall-men speed dating, university-educated speed dating, toyboy speed dating and globetrotters speed dating.

In the UK, everything from table football and karaoke to silent speed dating is available.

Before converging in one open room, the women were given a lock chain and the men a key chain.

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They have the house, they have the dog, but they don’t have a partner. They are the forgotten generation.” But once a month, they are mixing and mingling, and meeting dozens of new people in organised nights out.

THE SUCCESS STORY Laboratory supervisor Celine Robbins (55) and civil engineer David Galbraith (58) could be recruited as mascots for the entire online and novelty sector, such is their enthusiasm for the alternative outlet.

SOCIAL LIFE: Are you a single sommelier or a solicitor still searching?

Fancy a round of silent speed dating or a supper safari?

Some want to find a partner for life, some want to make new friends, and others simply want to boost their confidence.

At another event, in a Dublin city centre hotel earlier this year, 250 people were divided into two groups of men and women, with the women treated to fortune tellers, make-up artists, a masseuse and cocktails, while the men were entertained by a magician.Eighteen months later, they are still travelling between Tullamore and Dún Laoghaire, but plan on retiring together.Robbins accepts some people misunderstand the whole online dating sphere.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.Having signed-up for the Singles Supper Safari Club weeks earlier, the paying customers wait patiently for instructions on each of the restaurants and their next team of talkers. so people are doing different things.” And she should know, having spent several years organising singles events in Australia, before winning ,000 (€15,900) on a game show and deciding to invest it in an events company in Ireland.