One of the country's longest running matchmaking services is to close after more than 50 years, citing a fall off in demand in recent years.

Knock Marriage Introductions, based at the Marian Shrine in Co Mayo, was responsible for almost 1,000 weddings since it was established in 1968.

The service, formerly known as Knock Marriage Bureau, was set up to bring couples together across the country. 

Now, due to a reduction in demand and the advance of newer technologies such as online dating, the service has said is no longer viable. 

In a statement, the Catholic Church said a fall off in clients meant that demand no longer existed for the type of service it provided.

It said the annual subscriptions from clients who have used the service have had to be supplemented in recent years by donations from dioceses around Ireland. 

Since 1968, hundreds of couples have been introduced via the bureau, with 960 going on to marry. 

The board of directors says it is winding up the service with a heavy heart but happy in the knowledge that the agency has been able to facilitate so many unions over more than 50 years. 

The service was founded by Fr Michael Keane in response to a demand from people seeking companionship, relationships and love.

Established at a time when emigration was widespread, it played a particular role in matching people from rural communities.

But it said the advent of the internet, online dating agencies and apps have made it possible for people to meet a partner "literally at the touch of a button".

Last year, RTÉ News visited Knock Marriage Introductions as it celebrated 50 years in operation.