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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

A great part of travelling abroad is visiting different cultures and joining in on local festivals and  celebrations. Today marks the beginning of one very special festival in Ireland, the biggest of its kind in Europe actually, the annual Matchmaking Festival. So ladies and gents, if you’re single and you’re looking for a match, head to Lisdoonvarna.

Just 3 hours drive from Dublin, is a remote little town, Lisdoonvarna. It looks quite plain from first glance but once September rolls around, it’s a hard place to miss. It’s been known for its singles festival for decades. The small town first attracted attention in the 18th century for its mineral waters, thought to help fight diseases. People starting coming to the town looking for cures and found love instead… which is known to cure a thing or two! Over time the town got the reputation for being the place to meet a romantic other.

During the festival, which starts today, the town’s locals and visiting singles gather at the pubs and restaurants to mix and mingle, dance from dusk until dawn in hopes of landing the right partner and falling in love.

If not for the love, at least check out this town and others nearby for their Irish music. The Matchmaker Festival runs until October 3rd when Mr Lisdoonvarn and the Queen of the Burren are crowned (and awarded €2000 in prize cash).

What to see in Clare County

(while you’re scoping out the other singles, of course)

  • The original Irish pubs – Ennis in particular, the main city of Clare County, is filled with narrow streets, all lined with the Irish pubs we know and love. So pull up a stool, order a drink, and strike up a conversation with the bar man or the one next to you.
  • Loop Head – Soaring cliffs and crashing waves, there is no spot more powerful than this one along Ireland’s rugged coast. When seen from above, it looks as if the land is actually giving the sea a quite inappropriate finger gesture.
  • Burren – The dark grey limestone landscape of Burren has its attractions, villages like Doolin and Kilfenora and the shore along Galway Bay are nothing short of charming.
  • Dysert O’dea – Step back in history and navigate around the 12th century church and other ruins dating back through the centuries. Take the 3km history trail around the castle and past dozens of ancient monuments.
  • Unchallenged landscapes – By far the land is the biggest draw here. Endless greenery, endless rocks and endless Ocean. Stand on the edge of Europe and look out into the Atlantic. There is hardly anything more humbling.

Interested? Grab a cheap flight to Dublin and take a road trip to the Matchmaker Festival, you might be surprised what (or who) you find there! For more information visit the festival’s official Homepage. What’s the craziest festival you’ve ever been to?

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