If you’re hoping to get married, but don’t have a partner, Lisdoonvarna in County Clare may be the place to start. Each year, this 19th-century spa town is home to a matchmaking festival. Tens of thousands of people come from all over the world to look for a partner, a good time, dancing, and live music; not necessarily all at once, or in that order.
The other thing you should come to Clare for, – although it isn’t quite as much of a craic – is The Burren, a place like nowhere else in Ireland.
From the northwest corner of County Clare it rises as a cluster of grey-domed hills with terraced sides, whose western feet slope to the sea at Galway Bay. There are no bogs and very few pastures. Instead there are huge pavements of limestone called clints, their vertical fissures known locally as grikes.
However bleak it appears, it is home to some wonderful plant life and there is evidence that people settled here as long ago as the Stone Age. Villages are scattered around the fringes: Ballyvaughan on the north coast, Doolin and Lisdoonvarna to the west, and Kilfenora with its Burren Visitor Centre in the south.