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JoAnna Swisher and Allen Leech starred in As Luck Would Have It, which is based on the matchmaking festival. The film had reignited interest in the Lisdoonvarna festival

Clare’s famous matchmaking festival cancelled again

THE Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to the impact of Covid-19, it has been confirmed.
The event, which takes place in the north Clare town every year and attracts tens of thousands of visitors from across Ireland and the world, had been due to take place across the whole month of September.
Festival organiser Marcus White said, “As the Government have advised that there should be no large-scale indoor events until the whole population has been vaccinated, this year’s Lisdoonvarna Festival has regrettably been cancelled.”
He noted that many people, especially younger ones, will not be fully vaccinated before the end of September.
“All our events are staged inside including the country music marquee which can accommodate up to 2,000 people which is not permissible under current guidelines,” said Mr White.
“We would not be able to manage the very large crowds that normally throng our small town for a month.”
“We also have a duty of care to protect the health and safety of the local community, staff, artists and visitors so we will not be taking any risks,” he said.
However, Mr White said that there were some business owners in the town who had expressed an interest in running socially distanced events which was their prerogative.
“We owe it to our customers and our performers – Nathan Carter, Derek Ryan, Mike Denver and Cliona Hagan, DJs and bands – to provide clarity now that this year’s event would not go ahead.
“To be honest everyone has been very patient, as they understand that this is not a decision we have taken lightly,” he added.
He said that the cancellation of the festival for a second year in a row was also a devastating blow for local businesses, with a loss of over €5 million to the local economy, when both years were taken into consideration.
“Unlike the Electric Picnic festival, an outdoor event which has been postponed until the third week of September, rescheduling the Lisdoonvarna event to a different date would not be an option,” Mr White said.
“September has always been the month the festival has taken place, since it began over 160 years ago. Traditionally it’s the time when farmers celebrate the end of the harvest and converge in the village looking for love and a bit of craic. It is this sense of heritage and history that makes Lisdoonvarna so unique and endears it to so many people from all over the world,” he said.
Julie Carr, press officer for the festival, added that international interest in the festival had been at an all-time high this year, following the release of the new Hallmark Film ‘As luck would have it’. The film which was based loosely on the festival has resulted in thousands of people from the US and Canada wanting to attend.

“A lot of festivals come and go, but Lisdoonvarna has a universal appeal and I am positive that when it returns in 2022, the festival will be bigger and better than ever”, Mr White concluded.
For more information go to www.matchmakerireland.com

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