Lisdoonvarna ...

Lisdoonvarna Square
Lisdoonvarna,a spa town is in north County Clare on the road from Ennistymon to Ballyvaughan . It is known for its September festival Irelands largest single matchmaking festival. The village has a wide selection of pubs and hotel and bed and breakfast and hostel accommodation.

Lisdoonvarna is a great spot to base oneself to explore North Clare, just north of the village the land rises sharply which affords fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding areas including a wonderful view over the valley of Ballyvaghan. In the village the Burren Smokehouse Visitors Centre, established in 1995, showcases traditional smoking methods of locally caught fish and also other local gourmet products and crafts. The Visitors Centre has become a popular tourist attraction in the North County Clare area and welcomes over 30,000 visitors from all over the world each year.

The area became a popular health resort in the early nineteenth century owning to its mineral wells, there was no earlier village, just a few scattered cottages. which makes it a comparatively young village by Irish standards. However, the numerous ancient sites and historic remains in the vicinity are evidence of human habitation and activity in the area many centuries before the establishment of the town itself. Ring forts in the vicinity can date from the Iron Age into the Christian era and up to late medieval times.

Lisdoonvarna village
Lisdoonvarna castle was once a prominent building in the area. A corner-stone of a nearby house tells that the castle was built in 1619. Among the castles many owners down through the years were the O' Davorens who were traditionally remembered as "very haughty, aristocratical and tyrannical." The site of the famous 16th century Brehon Law School, in the locality, had been established by a branch of the same O' Davoren family.

To the south-west of the town, a bridge spans a deep narrow gorge through which the Aille River flows. As it had to support the road at the top, a double arch forming a circular opening was built above the lower arch, giving the bridge its unusual and unique appearance.

Lisdoonvarna's famous Victorian Spa Complex and Health Centre is a major attraction. It is at present the only active spa centre in Ireland. The waters contain magnesia, iodine and iron and are reputed to have restorative effects on those who bathe in them. Therapeutic mineral waters have been dispensed in Lisdoonvarna since the 18th century. The Centre features sulphur baths, massage and saunas. The Victorian Pump House is open daily.

Matchmaking became one of the main activities of Lisdoonvarnas holiday-makers. September was, and still is, the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of wives. Matchmakers prospered as matches were contrived and marriages made, the current matchmaker is Willie Daly, a fourth generation matchmaker.

Lisdoonvarna became famous in Ireland in the 1980s for a series of annual concerts performed in a natural outdoor amphitheatre in the area by Ireland and some of the worlds most popular and talented musicians. A song composed about the festival by Christy Moore was the origin of the phrase If its music you want - go to Clare"

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