Irish eyes are smiling at the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival

If you’re single and looking for a partner – don’t just go online, get yourself to Ireland to mix it up with other singles who may be looking for someone just like you.

Matchmaking is one of Ireland’s oldest traditions and, for the last couple of hundred years, a good deal of it has taken place in Lisdoonvarna during September and early October.

Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is Europe’s largest singles event, with a whole month of dancing and craic starting at 12 noon til late into the night. Craic is an Irish term meaning fun, entertainment and joyous conversation.  There are five big weekends of dancing and craic. The dancing also starts at the town hall at 12 noon every day during the month of September and continues all over town til late.

The name Lisdoonvarna comes from ‘Lios Duin Bhearna’, which means the lios or enclosure of the fort in the gap.

The town developed into a tourist centre as early as the middle of the 18th-century when a top Limerick surgeon discovered the beneficial effects of its mineral waters.  People travelled from near and far to bathe in, and drink, the mineral waters.

Rich in iron, sulphur and magnesium, the waters gave relief from  the symptoms of certain diseases including rheumatism and glandular fever. The Spa Hotel was the centre around which the village developed.    

It was due to the popularity of these mineral springs and the huge amount of people going there that led to the Lisdoonvarna  “matchmaking tradition”. September became the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in, bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of a wife. By the 1920s, matchmaking was still in vogue and people continued to come and “take the waters”, including  many of Ireland’s clergy. It was around this time that one of Lisdoonvarna’s most famous sayings was coined, describing the town as a place “where parish priests pretend to be sober and bank clerks pretend to be drunk”.

Lisdoonvarna is on the West coast of Co. Clare, Ireland, with Shannon Airport just 45 mins away, and it’s just over 3 hours by car from the capital, Dublin.

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