Several Irish same-sex couples are planning to marry in England because Ireland is yet to legalise equal marriage.

A referendum on the issue takes place in 2015 – although the exact date has still not been announced.

Same-sex couples in England and Wales will be able to marry from Saturday 29 March.

Gay rights charity Stonewall said it was receiving “dozens and dozens” of calls from interested Irish couples who are “really keen” to get married in the UK.

“We made a few shout-outs on social media and asked people to get in touch with us if they’re planning to tie the knot.

“We’ve had a really great take-up from people in Ireland and other parts of the world,” said Stonewall spokesperson Richard Lane to the Irish Independent.

“We also run an information service and I know they’ve spoken to lots of people. It’s impossible to say how many calls we’ve received from Ireland, but I know the response has been high.

“Local councils in the UK have also been hearing from lots and lots of Irish couples.”

The director of Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network, Brian Sheehan, said: ”Until the law is changed in Ireland, many people will go to England, Wales and Scotland, and even to locations such as New York and Spain, in order to get married.

“We hope that it won’t be too long until gay couples can get married here at home, rather than having to travel abroad,” he said.

The Irish Justice Department has confirmed same-sex marriages conducted abroad will be recognised in Ireland – if the referendum is successful.

Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny pledged in November that he will campaign strongly in favour of same-sex marriage during the 2015 referendum.

The Mayor of North Down, Andrew Muir, last week predicted it would take Northern Ireland around 10 years to legalise equal marriage.

The Alliance Party gay councillor was commenting after the Scottish Parliament voted last Tuesday to legalise the measure.