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From: 2014.08.31 To: 2014.10.07
Matchmaking is one of Ireland's oldest traditions and, for the last couple of hundred years, a good deal of it has taken place in Lisdoonvarna. September became the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in, bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of a wife. By the 1920s, matchmaking was still in vogue and people continued to come and "take the waters", including many of Ireland's clergy. It was around this time that one of Lisdoonvarna's most famous sayings was coined, describing the town as a place "where parish priests pretend to be sober and bank clerks pretend to be drunk" Today, there is just one official Matchmaker left in Co. Clare: Mr. Willie Daly who runs the riding centre outside Ennistymon and practices match making part time. With the exception of the pairings he plans and negotiates, very little genuine matchmaking takes place nowadays. However, Lisdoonvarna's annual festival has evolved into Europe's largest single's event. People don't necessarily come to look for a spouse - they come by the thousands in search of a good time. For the month of September, dances run from 12.00 noon each day and carry on into the small hours of the next morning. Set dancing exhibitions are also a feature of the event and there's live Irish music in most pubs, although getting to the bar can be quite a task, but don't worry or hurry, because the music carries on until the early hours. If you can afford the time and the money, and you're single, head for Lisdoonvarna this September and early October. You never know - as well as enjoying all of the good-natured fun and grand "craic", you might also find the perfect mate!