James Nesbitt's Ireland - Episode Five

“Some matches are made in heaven… but the best ones are made in Lisdoovarna.” Welcome to episode five of James Nesbitt’s Ireland

James Nesbitt with a seafood dinner provided by ITV
James Nesbitt with a seafood dinner provided by ITV

We’re not sure if Cold Feet and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey star James Nesbitt has ever seen the movie The Matchmaker. Did he watch the American political aide Marcy (played by Janeane Garofalo) find love with the romantic machinations of a local matchmaker in the mythical town of Baile Na Grá (‘Town of Love’ in Irish)?

Well, if he didn’t, episode five of James Nesbitt’s Ireland will be a learning curve.

“Matchmaker, Matchmaker make me a match!”

Where in the world would a 70-year-old male farmer be the harbinger of love? Lisdoonvarna, County Clare – that’s where.

In this part of the world, as James Nesbitt finds out, Willie Daly is cupid. According Willie himself in a recent interview, “Matchmaking would be a kind of a magical thing” in Ireland. As he tells Monroe star James Nesbitt, it’s all in the book. The Book? Willie’s weapon of love is a book that was used by his father and grandfather before him to bring lost souls together. “It’s a lucky book” he tells Nesbitt, “this book was used by my father and my grandfather. If you touch the book with both hands you’re going to be in love and married inside of six months. If you’re already married and you touch the book you renew your honeymoon”.

Will Wille be able to pry James’ hands from the famous tome? Episode five has all the answers.

Fast food – sort of

As Willie will well know, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. James Nesbitt is clearly no different, as his next stop is the Dingle Food Festival in County Kerry. It’s here, in a converted double decker bus, that artisan pizza chef, Ryan Coote tempts James’s taste buds with the kind of locally sourced grub that would steal any heart – male or female.

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Spear for your supper

As for toppings, Ryan goes all out and makes sure that what goes on the pizza isn’t only quality – it’s local. “I can get really good ingredients, I can get really good local salads, really good local cheeses which are just made down the road, so everything I can have I’m confident in that I’m not selling junk food, I’m selling good food.” He’s even happy to take to the water himself. With a spear.

Tune into episode five for foraging, Kerry style.

Winner alright

It turns out that star of stage and screen James Nesbitt enjoys the sport of kings – horse racing (“For me, there is definitely no bigger thrill in the world”). The Hobbit, Cold Feet and Monroe star will be right at home in Galway.

The Galway Races are arguably the cream and the cherry on top of Ireland’s horse racing calendar. Seeing as he owns his own racehorse, James will have plenty to talk about when he meets racehorse trainer Jessica Harrington and her daughter, a competitive rider.

The big questions are, will James dress up for the races? Will his horse come in? Will one of Britain and Ireland’s most famous faces get a free minute among the crowds?

Well, we’ll have to tune in to find out now, won’t we?

Episode 5 of James Nesbitt's Ireland airs on 15 April, ITV at 8pm.

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