Europe's biggest singles festival takes place each September on Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way in Lisdoonvarna. For more than 160 years, people have attended for music, fun and, of course, love.
Matchmaker, matchmaker make me a match. Find me a find. Catch me a catch...in Ireland that is.
That's exactly what thousands of attendees have in mind when they attend the annual Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival in autumn. This month-long celebration attracts visitors from all over the world in search of a love connection. Over 60,000 attendees gather to enjoy the entertainment, 'craic' and the chance to be paired with a special someone.
The honorable duty of pairing two lovebirds lies with Willie Daly - Ireland's only traditional matchmaker. Willie relies on his natural instinct to set up his couples and also believes a bit of magic plays a role. Festival attendees can arrange to meet with him in his office at the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaker Bar.
Willie swears by his 'Lucky Book' which contains profiles of love seekers. According to legend, anyone who touches the 'Lucky Book' will be married within 6 months. Already married? Your relationship is in for a second honeymoon phase after you come in contact with the book. The book is about 150-years-old, and Willie has set up nearly 3,000 marriages.
The art of matchmaking is a fairly old Irish tradition that began in Lisdoonvarna in the olden days. Long ago, visiting gentry would come to town and look for a suitable match for their children from the upper classes. Parents brought their children together at social gatherings, sporting events and musical evenings. All of this was done in attempt to create courtships.
In 1887, the West Clare Railway opened and increased the festival's popularity. The railway made Lisdoonvarna far easier to access than ever before by tourists and Irish natives alike.
By September each year, the harvest was complete which made it the perfect month for farmers to attend the festival. From there, the tradition grew and today the festival is eagerly anticipated each year.
There are plenty activities set up for all who attend the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. With music, dancing and plenty of connections ready to be made, it's clear love is in the air on Ireland's west coast.