Every September in Ireland around 40,000 people flock to Lisdonvarna, a small village in Clare with the hopes of finding love or just enjoying the craic at Lisdonvarna Matchmaking Festival. This tradition dates back 150 years where a month long calendar of music and festivities take place. I found myself in a colourful hotel, above the Matchmaker Bar, surrounded by hearts, cupids, and plenty of drunk people for the weekend.
I am not familiar with matchmaking as a tradition. As an LA native, I’m more familiar with Millionarie Matchmaker Patty Stanger… and let me tell you, she is the opposite of Willy Daly the local matchmaker in Lisdonvarna. I was told matches with Willy could cost between €50-400 a match, whereas Patty charges $20,000 for annual membership!
The funny thing about this festival is that I really didn’t see any matches made. People signed up with the matchmaker but other than that it was really just day drinking, set dancing and music all day and night.
Something was special though. It was then that I realised that this is the only open singles event I have ever been to. I have been to Match.com events for members, speed dating events, but never singles specific public events open to everyone. The best part about it was that you knew why everyone was there (except for married crashers like me!). It somehow made it easier to chat to the opposite sex. (LGBT weekend is next weekend!). Younger people tended to come out after 9pm while older couples hit the dance floor starting at 12pm.
I got proposed to, complimented and chatted up the whole day even with my husband there. So ladies, if you want to feel desired again…. hit up Lisdonvarna!
Were people there to get matched by a matchmaker? Not really, but they were there to meet someone. I think in a modern world, we are our own match makers. Would we like the help of someone like Willy or a friend to set us up? Yes that would be nice as well but in a modern world we have to create our own opportunities to meet people.
We can’t wait for September to come, we have to take advantage of a variety of avenues to meet new people. Lisdonvarna is really about taking a chance, travelling far distances, accepting a dance offer from a stranger, feeling silly for being there but hoping for love…. isn’t that just dating summed up?