Festivals of Love

After all the talk of romantic locations in our last blogpost we got to thinking about other unique romantic events that happen in Ireland throughout the year. It turns out that romance is one of the big attractions when it comes to gatherings in the country. We checked out what was on offer and it turns out that Clare, Donegal, Galway and Cork are the places to be this year.


Lisdoonvarna is the undisputed centre of romance in Ireland. This one-time spa town in County Clare is so romantic that it has two matchmaking festivals. The traditional matchmaking festival is one of the largest in Europe. It has been held there for over 150 years and it  attracts upwards of 40,000 people all looking to find the love of their lives in the west of Ireland. They are helped greatly by lots of craic, country music dancing and Willie Daly who is a third generation matchmaker.

An alternative twist on the traditional matchmaking festival is The Outing which is running into its third year now. This runs in October in Lisdoonvarna. Although it is aimed at the LGBT community, this festival attracts everyone because it is just so much fun. There will be clubbing and fire-breathing and all sorts of alternative events that will shock the pants off you. In cute Irish style there will also be tea dances, and it will be hosted by Ireland’s favourite drag queen, Panti Bliss. Both of these festivals are near our hostels – The Burren Hostel in Lisdoonvarna and the Rowan Tree Hostel in Ennis.

Up in Donegal there is also a matchmaking festival in Ardara in November. This also has blind dates, speed dating, carry-your-partner competitions and even traffic light dating (where you wear green if you are available, orange if it is complicated and red if you are taken). Here you will find more matchmakers holding court and settling romances while the top country & music bands liven up proceedings. Our Bluestacks Hostel and Errigal Hostel are good bases to visit Ardara.

Jonathon Swift said “He was a bold man that first ate an oyster”. Casanova swore by them. He supposedly ate 50 every day to keep his libido up. On the west coast of Ireland, every September sees the oldest oyster festival in the world. This is where you can wash the oysters down with champagne or stout, watch the parades and listen to the trad music. If you want to match Casanova’s exploits, you will have to beat Estonia’s Anti Lipek who is the current  oyster shucking world champion. Our Sleepzone Galway Hostel is centrally located for all you oyster lovers.


If you are a redhead and you are looking to keep the ginger gene alive, Cork is the place to be. Every year, dozens of our carrot-topped friends make their way to the red county to meet their foxy brothers and sisters and take part in all things redhair related for the Redhead Convention. This includes more speed dating with flame haired beauties, the Foxygen stage, ginger cook-offs, carrot throwing competitions and the crowning of the King and Queen of the Redheads. If you want to be red’y for it, check out our Cork International Hostel for your accommodation.




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