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The Matchmaker Bar in Lisdoonvarna - where many an Irishman and woman have met their match

Looking for an Irish sweetheart? Head on over to Lisdoonvarna for Ireland's matchmaking festival

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The Matchmaker Bar in Lisdoonvarna - where many an Irishman and woman have met their match

Single and looking for love somewhere outside the confines of your local club scene or the internet?

You’re in luck: the famous annual Matchmaking Festival in Lisdoonvarna, County Clare has begun.

Marketed as “Europe’s biggest singles festival,” the festival kicked off on August 28 in the world capital of matchmaking – the small, scenic Irish town of Lisdoonvarna (made famous by the song from Christy Moore).

Singles longing to be hit by Cupid’s arrow flock the festival, which takes place over a period of six weeks.

Matchmaking is one of Ireland's oldest traditions; hundreds of years ago, you could find a matchmaker in almost every Irish town.

These days, all of Irish matchmaking takes place in Lisdoonvarna during September and early October.

September is a traditional peak month for matchmaking. It was then, when the harvest was safely in, that Irish bachelor farmers headed to Clare in search of a wife.

Today, Lisdoonvarna’s Willie Daly, the only remaining Irish matchmaker, takes care of the bachelors and bachelorettes. The 65-year-old charmer is the third generation in his family to practice the art of matchmaking.

“Willie has drawn on his extensive files, notebooks and ledgers, on his remarkable memory, and applied his highly attuned antennae to offer hope to the thousands who ply him with their details,” says the Matchmaking Festival’s Web site, MatchmakerIreland.com.

Though matchmaking services are readily available in Lisdoonvarna, the festival has transformed into an event more about the music, dance and good old-fashioned Irish debauchery.

During September, dances run from noon each day and carry into the small hours of the next morning. There are also Irish set dancing exhibitions, fortune tellers available to reveal hopeful lovers’ fates and live Irish music in most of the local pubs.

But though the official matchmaking doesn’t occur on as wide of a scale, many past festival goers will tell you that sometimes, while enjoying the craic, you’ll find your perfect Irish mate.

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