Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival (County Clare)

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From a necessity to pure entertainment - the rural population of Ireland used to be so shy and repressed that finding a partner was a mission impossible to many. So they resorted to "matchmakers", cunning and wizened old folks who checked their lists of potential candidates for marriage and put "matching" couples together. As Tina sang; "What's love got to do with it?" And the annual mega-event of matchmaking is traditionally held in Lisdoomvarna, a picture-postcard town on the edge of the Burren. Immortalized by Christy Moore as "Lisidoon-lisdoon-lisdoon-lisdoonvarna" in his songs.


  • It's great craic.
  • Everybody is open to a bit of flirting and merrymaking.
  • It might just work.


  • Some people take it too seriously!


  • Lisdoonvarna has long been regarded as a center for matchmaking.
  • Most eligible bachelors hit the town in September when the hay was in - this led to the festival.
  • Today the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is more about fun and entertainment - but some basadóiri are for real.

Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival (County Clare)

The basadóiri (matchmakers) invade Lisdoonvarna in September. And with them all the singles from Galway to the Ganges Delta... or so it seems. The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is, generally speaking, one of the largest single parties of the world, originally with the intent of finding a partner for life. If all the matchmaking resulted in matrimony the Reverend Moon would appear like an amateur here.

Fortunately, it does not. Most people go to Lisdoonvarna for "a bit of craic" only these days, not with the prospect of getting into a long-term relationship. True, there are still matchmakers galore, matches are made (most with the caveat of a trial run) and the flirting is ferocious. Generally becoming more so as both the evening and the age of the flirts advances.

What you can expect is a partying town full of singles (or so they claim to be). But this being Ireland it will be more restrained than Spring Break, a peck on the cheek being the likeliest outcome.

On the other hand you still have people heading for Lisdoonvarna and looking for the real thing - not casual sex but a mutually advantageous marriage. These are also catered for, but boundaries get blurred and this occasionally leads to misunderstandings. Which led to the attendance of the Samaritans - to support those for whom a dream has shattered.

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