Forget about Internet dating. That can produce a deeper loneliness when clicking on anonymous photos. But at the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, it's the chemistry of a face-to-face introduction that turns wishful thinking into a possible mate. Add in non-stop dancing with flowing Guinness (and racing hormones since the men outnumber the women) and it's no wonder the festival has lasted for about 150 years.
One of Ireland's oldest traditions is matchmaking. And it's done openly in Lisdoonvarna for five weeks in the fall and for multitudes of singles. The village is located in County Clare, on the West Coast, with a population around 750 people. During festival time in September, that number swells to the thousands with visitors from around the world. Typically, people age 50 and up populate the mid-day and early-evening events; younger ages jam the venues until 3:00 a.m.