Matchmaking Festival: Inside Ireland's Festivals

If you're single and ready to mingle, or just keen to take a dip in a hot spa, head to Lisdoonvara, a small town in Ireland for the Matchmaking Festival.

Location

Main Street, Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, Ireland

Dates

The last Friday in August to the first Sunday in October.

Description

With its population of about 1000 Celtic citizens, tiny Lisdoonvara (Lisdoon for short) is famous for two things: its spas, which made it a popular Victorian resort, and its tradition of basadóiri (matchmakers). For a fee, these Guinness-swilling Cupids would help singletons find a partner. Most of the hopefuls (who were, predictably, men) would bumble nervously into town in September, when the crops were in and they had made enough hay to buy a lady a glass of porter. The Matchmaking Festival provided social events for these lonely-hearted pilgrims, and allowed local personages to keep undesirables away from their daughters.

The festival still features a basadóiri, local horse dealer Willie Daly, as well as amateur horse racing and traditional Irish craic by the pub-load. In keeping with modern mating rituals, it now also includes a speed-dating weekend. Another popular event is the matchmaking country music weekend. The season of setting-up concludes with the ‘Mr. Lisdoonvarna’ and ‘Queen of the Burren’ competition.

Level of Participation

5 – take the opportunity to pick an Irish rose.

Essentials

Most Irish folk have kissed the Blarney Stone, so you’ll need some good patter to impress potential matches, unless you go for that ‘silent type’ appeal.

Other Local Attractions

Take your new beau to sample the spa waters, although it’s not exactly a vintage-wine-tasting experience.

More Info: Matchmaker Ireland

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