The world famous Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival draws huge crowds of over 20,000 people to the busy pubs and hotels every year during the whole month of September. They come for love, dancing, music, racing and a good time, and they don’t leave disappointed! Matchmaking is one of Ireland's oldest traditions and a good deal of it has taken place in Lisdoonvarna during September and early October. The town developed into a tourist centre in the 18th-century when a well-respected Limerick surgeon discovered the positive effects of its mineral waters. People travelled from all over Ireland to bathe in, and drink  the mineral waters. The water that was rich in iron, sulphur and magnesium  gave relief from the symptoms  of diseases such as rheumatism and glandular fever. It was due to the popularity of these mineral springs and the huge amount of people going there that led to the Lisdoonvarna "matchmaking tradition". September became the peak month of the holiday season and with the harvest safely in, bachelor farmers flocked to Lisdoonvarna in search of a wife. Today, the only true Matchmaker left is Willie Daly, who runs a pub in Ennistymon and during the festivities you’ll find him and his precious notebook of love-seeking profiles, in his ‘office’ (aka the snug of The Matchmaker bar).  All ages and nationalities queue at his table hoping that he will help find them a mate. Nowadays,  Lisdoonvarna's annual festival has grown into Europe's largest single's event. It’s not all about looking for a spouse - they also come in search of a good time. For the month of September, dances run daily and carry on into the wee hours of the morning. Set dancing exhibitions are also a feature of the event and there’s live Irish music in most pubs, although getting to the bar can be quite a task, but don't worry or hurry, because the music carries on until the early hours!

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