The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is a unique annual event held in the peaceful village of Lisdoonvarna, County Clare, Ireland. The event, which has been running for over 160 years, is the largest singles festival in Europe, attracting some 40,000 people each year in search of love.
Some key facts about the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival 2023
The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival takes place in the lively little town of Lisdoonvarna, not far from Doolin in County Clare. This year’s festival is scheduled to take place from September 1 to 30, 2023. Throughout September, the pubs, hotels and streets of Lisdoonvarna will be alive with hopeful singles looking for love.
The history of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival goes back over 160 years. The village of Lisdoonvarna was once a popular spa destination, attracting visitors from all over Ireland, especially young women, during the month of September. At the end of the harvest season, many single farmers would head to town in search of love and marriage. Thus the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival was born, offering a month of festivities and encounters for eligible singles.
The tradition of matchmaking
Matchmaking is one of Ireland’s oldest traditions, dating back centuries. In this rural area, it was difficult for hard-working young farmers to meet suitable young women outside of livestock markets, horse fairs and the occasional wedding or funeral. September became the preferred month for matchmaking in Lisdoonvarna. Farmers, freed from harvesting and with money in their pockets, would head to town. At the same time, September was the peak month for visitors from the cities, especially women, who came to enjoy the thermal waters.
Willie Daly, the famous Irish matchmaker, is an icon of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. He began offering matchmaking services for those looking for love, creating a “Lucky Book” of profiles. His great-grandson, also named Willie Daly, continues this important service today. He meets each hopeful single and records their information in the famous 150-year-old “Lucky Book”. Daly claims that if you place both hands on the cover, close your eyes and think of love, you’ll be married within the year.
What to expect if you visit Lisdoonvarna Festival for the first time
The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival has evolved with the times. Today, it offers a varied program of Irish and international music, as well as DJs (worthy of Ibiza!). Here’s a taste of what you can expect if you visit the festival:
Music and dance
The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival offers an impressive selection of live music and dancing, both weekdays and weekends. Learn to square dance or take part in a ceili as you mingle with strangers and future friends in the pubs and bars.
Willie Daly offers matchmaking consultations from his headquarters at the Matchmaker Bar, and there’s also live music with renowned artists. The Roadside Tavern, Royal Spa Hotel, Ritz and other establishments also host concerts and entertainment throughout the festival.
Things to do near Lisdoonvarna during your stay
One of the advantages of Lisdoonvarna is its proximity to many of County Clare’s tourist attractions. Here are just some of the things to see and do near Lisdoonvarna, from hikes and walks to caves, towns and more.
Doolin cave (7-minute drive)
Take a break from the festivities and visit Doolin Cave, home to Europe’s longest stalactite. This large stalactite measures 7.3 meters in length and continues to grow, albeit very slowly. Open daily for guided tours, Doolin Cave is a natural wonder in this karst region. There’s also a pottery, a farm nature trail and a café. There’s plenty to do in Doolin during your stay!
Doonagore Castle (9 minutes by car)
Fairytale-esque Doonagore Castle has a dark history! Now restored, this 16th-century tower castle is one of the most popular sites to visit in County Clare. When one of the ships of the Spanish Armada ran aground in 1588, the crew struggled to reach land, but were hanged at or near the castle on Hangman Hill.
The Burren (10-minute drive)
Discover the natural beauty of County Clare by visiting the 1500-hectare Burren National Park. The Irish name “boireann”, meaning “rocky place”, gives an idea of this unspoilt landscape of cliffs, marshes, lakes and turloughs. It’s home to many rare plants, birds and animals, as well as several signposted walking trails. There are many beautiful walks to do in the Burren during your stay.
Poulnabrone dolmen (21 minutes by car)
Located on the high limestone plateau of the Burren, the Poulnabrone dolmen is a reminder that this region has been inhabited for thousands of years. This megalithic monument is Ireland’s second most visited site. Its upright stones and massive slab were once a portal tomb where archaeologists discovered the remains of 21 humans buried over 5,000 years ago.
Cliffs of Moher (15 minutes by car)
To round off your visit to Lisdoonvarna, the Cliffs of Moher are Ireland’s number-one tourist attraction. These sheer cliffs rise 213 meters above the ocean and stretch for almost 8 km. Explore them independently on a cliff walk from Doolin, or enjoy the Cliffs of Moher experience from the visitor center.
Frequently asked questions about the Lisdoonvarna Festival
We’ve received many questions over the years, particularly about the beginnings of the Lisdoonvarna Festival and what there is to do during it. Here are the most frequently asked questions, which we’ve answered. If you have a question that we haven’t covered, please feel free to ask in the comments section below.
Will the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival 2023 take place?
Yes, the Lisdoonvarna Festival 2023 will take place from September 1 to 30, 2023.
When did the Lisdoonvarna Festival start?
The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival began over 160 years ago.
What happens during the festival?
Today’s Lisdoonvarna Festival features lively dancing, singing, socializing and daily matchmaking services provided by Willie Daly himself!
For more information, please consult the reference articles below:.