In the german-speaking-world there are several platforms for freelancers.
A platform based in Austria but going international is IT-Jobs und Projekte fr Freelancer und IT-Experten (right hand corner there are language buttons) [should be also nice for thos looking for jobs within Europe] - At JoinVision you can publish you own profile for free.
What is also popular are the platforms xing (don't know how strong Ireland is) or linkedin .
And I do have some freelancers as customers - via good SEO they already got some good jobs (and of course they themselves are real pro's).
Hi, my girlfriend recently got a job as a freelance web designer on jobs2ireland.com So I suppose any of the Job Boards may have details of the companies that they are advertising for and then you can Google them using the same details.
Sometimes some of the companies will also advertise on their own websites but because their websites are not optimised they do not appear in the first 10 pages. Not many people go past page 5.
So, find the contracts first on Job Boards and then Google as much relevant information and the company might pop-up. So you can go direct and offer your services.
blacknight - how about setting up a sticky thread with links to the portfolios of freelance designers that are looking for work? I'm constantly on the lookout for good Web designers for well paid and interesting work.