Willie Daly is the last of the traditional Irish 'matchmakers', matching lonely couples from around the world at the Lisdoonvarna matchmaking festival. Now his daughters are taking over the business, run from his farm in County Clare, in the west of Ireland. Next to the wedding invitation, sitting under the light with a crucifix filament, is a letter just arrived from England. It reads something like this:. I am looking for companionship in a respectable and responsible husband. Age and looks are of no particular concern, only that he must be a gentleman.
What It’s Like to Go to the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in Ireland
Lisdoonvarna: ‘Hopefully they’ll get a little wife to help out’
The new festival, which has been christened the Outing, is the brainchild of local hotelier Marcus White , who has enlisted Dublin Pride Festival organiser Eddie McGuinness to manage the event. We are taking matchmaking into the 21st century. We have a five-year plan for this event. This year we are looking at attracting people from Ireland and the UK but this is going to become a very big international event. The Outing will run from August 30th to September 1st — the opening weekend of the month-long Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. Fear for the future with all its uncertainties is best left in the hands of the God.
For the month of September, this tiny spa town of residents hosts the popular Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival — a month-long celebration bringing together hopeful romantics from around the world. The festival is notorious for its lively all-day, all-night dancing and impromptu marriage proposals often triggered after a few pints at the pub. A third-generation matchmaker, Daly is best known for presiding over the festival. Matchmaking in Lisdoonvarna dates back generations and flourished with the rise of spa tourism in the s.
Far from the world of Tinder, the lively Dublin nightlife scene, and almost any other modern-day take on romance you care to mention, Lisdoonvarna hosts an annual autumn festival aimed, traditionally, at helping lonely rural farmers to meet a match from outside their immediate area. Despite being viewed as something of a beloved national joke, however, Lisdoonvarna has modernised substantially in recent years. The town has always been a tourist spot, almost exclusively because of its spa water, which offers the other main attraction aside from the festival.