The tradition still thrives in farming communities such as those found in Ireland, where matchmaking skills are passed on from father to son or to daughter, and where singles events are planned in village pubs so that bachelors and spinsters can meet.
Farmers in the rural areas of Ireland - where a substantial majority of the population lived in the countryside until a half century ago - found it difficult to meet other singles.
If St Valentine’s Day finds you sourly reviewing another passing year of dispiriting, mate-less, rural isolation, take heart and read on.
Together with the myriad dating services catering for yoga buffs, Catholics, cabin crew and those who admire the fuller figure, thriving organisations are dedicated to helping country people find love.
On Partners4farmers, ‘Zetor’, a 35 year old beef and sheep farmer from Wrexham (favourite film The Italian Job), seeks a girl ‘from good farming stock who understands that farming isnt a 9 to 5 job’; and Tim, a sheep and arable farmer from Exeter (reads Farmers Weekly and plays the didgeridoo), is looking for ‘someone who understands the farming way of life’.
With festivals and pageants of various kinds showcasing the most eligible men and women in numerous regions of Ireland every year, there are other ways to meet people other than in a traditional social setting such as the pub.
Animal lover dating is included in the mutual interests of these people, who have reared cattle, cows and sheep on their lands for generations.
Matchmaking of the virtual kind is a modern phenomenon.
However, rural societies - including those that feature animal lover dating, given the farming backgrounds in the societies in question - have employed matchmakers for centuries.