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Lios Dúin Bhearna
Lisdoonvarna Main Street
Lisdoonvarna Main Street
Lisdoonvarna is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°01′49″N 9°17′22″W / 53.0303°N 9.2894°W / 53.0303; -9.2894Coordinates: 53°01′49″N 9°17′22″W / 53.0303°N 9.2894°W / 53.0303; -9.2894
Country Ireland
Province Munster
County County Clare
Elevation 94 m (308 ft)
Population (2011[1])
 • Urban 739
Time zone WET (UTC+0)
 • Summer (DST) IST (WEST) (UTC-1)
Irish Grid Reference R133984

Lisdoonvarna (Irish: Lios Dúin Bhearna, meaning "fort of the gapped keep")[2] is a spa town of 822 people (2002 census) in County Clare in Ireland. The town is famous for its music and festivals.

The town takes its name from the Irish Lios Dúin Bhearna meaning the "lios dúin", or enclosured fort, of the gap ("bearna"). It is believed that the fort referred to in this name is the green earthen fort of Lissateeaun (fort of the fairy hill), which lies 3 km to the northeast of the town, near the remains of a Norman-era castle. The area was officially classified as part of the West Clare Gaeltacht; an Irish-speaking community; until 1956.


Bus Éireann route 350 links Lisdoonvarna to several locations: Ennis, Ennistymon, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, Fanore, Kinvara and Galway. There are a number of journeys each way daily. Onward rail and bus connections are available at Ennis and Galway.


A group taking the waters at the Twin Wells on the banks of the River Aille at Lisdoonvarna, circa 1900

In September each year one of Europe's largest matchmaking events is held in the town attracting upwards of 40,000 romantic hopefuls, bachelor farmers and accompanying revellers. The month-long event is an important tourist attraction. The current matchmaker is Willie Daly, a fourth-generation matchmaker.

A now-defunct music festival which took place near the town is celebrated in a song of the same name written by the Irish folk singer, Christy Moore. This festival took place until 1983, when the last event was marred by a riot and the accidental drowning of eight people.[3]


The present town is a comparatively new one by Irish standards, dating mainly from the start of the 19th century.

On 11 September 1887 the house of landowner Mr. Mike Walsh was attacked by moonlighters (members of one of the organized bands of desperados that carried on a system of agrarian outrages in Ireland).[4] A detachment of the Royal Irish Constabulary defended the house and its owner and there was heavy fighting in and around the house. Head Constable Whelehan was killed. All the moonlighters were captured. Seven constables, Four acting constables and two head constables received the Constabulary Medal for valour.[5]

See also[edit]

List of towns and villages in Ireland


  1. ^ Census Statistics Office Ireland : Alphabetical list of Towns with their population, 2002 and 2006
  2. ^ Lisdoonvarna Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved: 2013-09-05.
  3. ^ Lisdoonvarna Festival 1983
  4. ^
  5. ^ P.E Abbott and J.P Tamplin, British Galanntry Awards, page 274.
  6. ^ and Lisdoonvaarna was not regarded as a census town until 1891. Pre 1891 totals are for the townlands of Lisdoonvaarna and Rathbaun, where the spas are located and the first guesthouses were built for tourists in the 1870s. For a discussion on the accuracy of pre-famine census returns see JJ Lee “On the accuracy of the pre-famine Irish censuses” in Irish Population, Economy and Society, edited by J.M. Goldstrom and L.A. Clarkson (1981) p54, and also "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850” by Joel Mokyr and Cormac Ó Gráda in The Economic History Review, New Series, Vol. 37, No. 4 (Nov., 1984), pp. 473-488.

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