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(The enclosure of the gapped fort)

Lisdoonvarna stands on the edge of the Burren, it is Irelands only spa town, the spa emits sulphurous, radio active and iodine filled water alleged to cure many ailments. The bath house to the modern eye may seem positively primitive, although the antiquity of the baths and massage rooms do posses a certain historic charm. There are several grandiose hotel and villas testament to the towns one time popularity as a spa centre.

Today the town is renowned for its Matchmaking Festival held annually each September, the festival's roots go back a considerable time. Wealthy farming families of the area used it to pair off their sons and daughters, using the services of a matchmaker, cattle horses and other livestock figured prominently in the equation too as can be imagined, the foundations of many local farming dynasties may well have been laid at the festival in by gone years.

As with all things different people see the event in different perspectives, some as a somewhat sleazy occasion. Linsay Hunt described it in her book as a 'Tawdry and depressing event at which lonely singles turn up for a drunken grope and a one night stand rather than a soul mate' Whatever your perception it is an interesting social occasion, deeply rooted in the agricultural traditions of the land, visiting it would at the very least be an interesting experience, and an added bonus you have the opportunity to sample the beauty and charm of Co Clare, if you do plan a visit and intend to stay, a word of advice book early; accommodation is usually spoken for months ahead.