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the match making festival.
Organisers claim that the festival is one of the oldest in Ireland and is an authentic re-creation of the autumn days when professional matchmakers would put together farmer's sons and ladies from all over. Rubbish. It's now a month long orgy (is that the right word - it probably is) of over-the-hill tourists desperately trying to get their leg-over.
It runs every year from roughly the last weekend in September to the first in October. Most events take place at the weekends - over 20,000 people over the course of the month take in the traditional music and dancing. One star turn is the improbably named Willie Daly - the official matchmaker. In normal life he runs an equestrian school but during the festival he does the rounds of the venues introducing people to each other.
It would be all to easy to make fun of his name, so I Will. It would certainly not be too far from the truth that many happy women at the festival get their Willy daily.
The hotels and guesthouses make their money at this time, and people seem to come back every year.
So if you just happen to be a blonde texan millionairess who fancies being married off to a poor Kerry farmer with a dodgy accent and a personal hygiene problem then be my guest.
Written Aug 21, 2009
The road from Lisdoonvarna up to Ballyvaghan is possesed of some very impressive views.
Known as 'corkscrew hill' it winds over the mountain in the manner of an alpine pass with 180 degree bends and zig-zagging straights. It might not compare to the St.Brenner pass, but it does the business.
It was built as part of a famine relief scheme in the dark days of the potato blight. Without that it might never have been built. It has also been used in the last few years for hillclimb events where people motor up the hillside in around 50 seconds or so.
The postcard is an old one from the 1950's.
Written Aug 20, 2009
The twin wells are located about half a mile out of the town through a wooded park. This old sepia photograph certainly captures the scene. The water was remarked upon from about 1740ish onward and a thriving business dispensing the stuff was flourishing by the end of the 19th century. Lisdoonvarna's reputation as a spa town was based on this well. it was said to be “peculiarly efficacious in hepatitis, consumption, scorbutic and bilious affections, and rheumatism.” That may be so, but you would have to be mad to drink it nowadays - because it tatstes goddam awful and could do you serious damage. The amout of iron and sulpher in there is frightening. People have to spend thousands of euro in modern time to take this sort of stuff OUT of their water.
The place is nice enough spot, but the trees have grown over more and the dispensing hut is now a haven for graffiti and probably naughty things as well.
Written Aug 18, 2009
Over the top of Corkscrew Hill is the circular stone fort, which once housed one of Ireland's most famous medieval law schools under the care and management of the O'Davorens, a family of hereditary legal scholars and teachers. Donald O'Davoren is credited as the compiler of both a Breton Law Glossary and "The prophecy of Conn of the Hundred Battles" concerning the succession of the kings of Tara and the coming of St. Patrick.
Off to the sides, as you approach, are the stone remnants of houses set up outside of teh ringed walls. To walk through the entrance of the Fort is to find yourself sent back in time.
Written Nov 21, 2006
" The MatchMaking Festival starts on Friday August 26th and finishes on Sunday October 2nd 2005. It is mainly concentrated at the weekends but there is also music and dancing during the week.
The music kicks off at 6pm on Friday evening in all venues around the town and continues until 4am Saturday morning. After a few hours sleep and a good hearty breakfast music commences again at the Spa Wells and all the other venues at 10am and again goes around the clock until 4am on Sunday morning. If you are still fit for more, Sunday's music starts again at 10am until the small hours of Monday morning.
The Spa Wells is traditionally famous for having your 1st dance of the day followed by a glass of spa water. This session is on daily from
12 midday to 2.30pm."
This was taken off the Festiva website.
Written Jun 6, 2005
Address: All over town
Phone: + 353 65 7074005
Though not dangerous in any way, just know that single ladies visiting during the Matchmaking Festival will be hit upon, or "chatted up". I visited with my then-girfriend, now-wife, and her mother a few years back. Any time she wasn't in arms length, there was another bloke coming over to talk to her. Even her mom had a few would be suitors. The funniest thing was that I was walking a few feet in front of them, and THREE TIMES cars pulled over to ask them if they wanted to go for a drink! We went over to a local dance hall to see what was going on there, and within two minutes my lady was whisked off onto the dance floor by an older local. We were only there for about 2 hours or so, but it was quite an experience. If being hit on by middle-aged lonely bachelors is what your looking for, the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is the place for you!
Updated Jul 16, 2005
Favorite thing: Known world wide for it' s matchmaking festival, Christy wrote a great song about the annual shagfest. I've included some of the lyrics as other verses require a degree in contemporary Irish culture :
How's it goin' there everybody, From Cork, New York, Dundalk, Gortahork and Glenamaddy.DHere we are in the County Clare. It's a long, long way from here to there.There's the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, And the Tulla and the Kilfenora,Miko Russell, Doctor Bill,Willy Clancy and Noel Hill.Dlutes and fiddles everywhere.If it's music you want,You should go to Clare.
CHORUS : Oh, Lisdoonvarna, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoon, Lisdoonvarna! Everybody needs a break,Climb a mountain or jump in a lake.Some head off to exotic places,Others go to the Galway Races.Mattie goes to the South of France,Jim to the dogs, Peter to the dance.A cousin of mine goes potholing,A cousin of heres loves Joe Dolan.Summer comes around each year,We go there and they come here.Some jet off to ... Frijiliana,But I always go to Lisdoonvarna
Written Jul 5, 2009