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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

Matchmaking festival film puts Clare on centre stage

HOT on the heels of the huge publicity boost for North Clare created by the TV show ‘Smother’ and the two-part documentary ‘The Burren: Heart of Stone,’ Lisdoonvarna is set for a visitor boost this summer after inspiring a movie on the world-famous matchmaking festival.
Entitled, ‘As Luck Would Have It,’ the movie premiered on the Hallmark Channel last week.
It stars Irish actor Allen Leech, who played Tom Branson in the hugely popular ‘Downton Abbey,’ and US actress JoAnne Garcia Swisher from the Netflix series ‘Sweet Magnolia’.
The film’s plot revolves around JoAnne’s character, Lindsey, who travels to Ireland to acquire land to build a resort.
She decides to enter the local matchmaking festival to prove her investment and win over a handsome local.
The film is one of two major television productions to reference the festival in recent years.
The multi-award winning ‘Schitt’s Creek’ features a Singles Week in the series four finale, with a serious nod to the festival by actress Annie Murphy who plays Alexis Rose.
“It’s fantastic so see that the festival has captured the imagination of US film makers and we are honoured that it has been used as a key part in the film’s plot,” said Marcus White, festival organiser and tour operator.
“Since the film was released last week, we have been inundated with messages and emails from people enquiring about the festival, many of whom only discovered it existed from watching the movie.
“As the country begins to open up, this will definitely help in promoting County Clare and Ireland as a tourist destination going forward.”
Mr White also said that articles about the film, both in the US media and in the UK’s Times newspaper last week, had also contributed to a buzz about the festival.
Filmed entirely in Ireland in February of this year, the movie features locations such as the Cliffs of Moher and Lismore Castle as well as Glendalough in County Wicklow, Howth Castle and Johnnie Fox’s Pub in Glencullen, Dublin.
The production team from Hallmark made contact with Julie Carr who looks after media relations for the festival back in 2019 and had an expressed an initial interest in filming in the village.
“Although the matchmaking scenes were shot elsewhere, it was very clear to see that many elements of the festival have been replicated, such as the dancing, matchmaking and even the design of the posters for the festival are similar,” she said.
The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking festival was cancelled last year due to Covid-19.
This was the first cancellation in its 165-year history. An announcement about this year’s festival is expected to be made in July.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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