Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival hit by hotel shortage due to Ukrainian refugee accommodation

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The world-famous event, which is back in September after an enforced three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, is expected to attract thousands of revelers looking for romance.

However, the White Hotel Group, which includes The Hydro and The Imperial, is now home to hundreds of Ukrainian refugees living in the city.

Yesterday a local business owner told theSunday world“The fact that all the major hotels here in Lisdoonvarna are no longer available means that the majority of people coming for the festival will have to stay in the surrounding towns.

“We have very few rooms available because the rest of the hotels and bed and breakfasts are just a drop in the ocean compared to demand.

“But having said that, it’s a small problem compared to the plight of the poor Ukrainian refugees who are accommodated in hotels.

“They have been through hell and we are proud that Lisdoonvarna gave them refuge and welcomed them with open arms.

“They were a big boost for the city. It’s not their fault they’re here and they’re not a problem. The Matchmaking Festival is a love story – and the people of Lisdoonvarna are showing that love to our Ukrainian friends.

Heather Crowe, who runs the Ritz boutique hotel in Lisdoonvarna, said her phone has been skipping since the announcement of this year’s Matchmaking Festival.

“We are delighted to have the festival back and I think people who really want to come will find accommodation,” she said.

“I know that some hotels in the surrounding villages, like The Falls in Lahinch, offer a shuttle service.

“So they will drop people off and pick them up. It will be a little different from previous years, but hopefully everything will work out well.

Matchmaker Willie Daly predicts this year’s festival will be one of the best in its long history.

“There is going to be a very, very great atmosphere in terms of fun. People are in need of love – they want to go out and men want to hold a woman,” he says.

“They want to dance and they want to laugh and have fun. It had been taken away from them in recent years.

Willie said revelers will find accommodation in all nearby towns and villages, as well as Lisdoonvarna itself.

“There’s a lot of housing everywhere,” he said.

“People have always stayed in Doolin, Ennistymon and Lahinch when they have come to the festival over the years.

“It is definitely going to be a very big year for the festival. Everyone is talking about it and the people who live for it can’t wait for the fun to begin.

“It doesn’t matter how old you are when you come to Lisdoonvarna looking for love – the years don’t seem to matter.

You will find people from 20 to 80 years old dancing on the same dancefloor. I think that’s what makes Lisdoonvarna unique.

Willie revealed that many Americans have booked to attend this year’s festival hoping to find love in Lisdoon – and they include a famous actress.

“This woman would have been married many times, but she is still looking for love,” he says.

“She contacted me and obviously she wants privacy, but as soon as people see her they will recognize her.”

He says a lot of wealthy American women go to the Matchmaking Festival because they enjoy meeting Irish men.

“About four years ago, two women who had their own oil wells came.” And did they find oil in Lisdoon? “Oh, they did! ” he’s laughing.

Willie believes he was responsible for over 3,000 marriages.

“I get great satisfaction when a relationship works,” he says.

“Sometimes I meet people and they tell me stories. A guy said “you fixed my dad in 1975!”

“I was at a horse fair recently and a man was walking through town with young children in a stroller and a beautiful young woman by his side.

“He said, ‘Hi, Willie Daly, how are you?’ Look what a mess you got me into! He laughed. He is now the father of triplets. I said, ‘That’s a good problem you got yourself into. It’s much better than winning the Lotto. It’s rare to see three children as a beautiful result of an introduction.

“You can go to a lot of places during the Matchmaking Festival and have fun, and there aren’t many festivals where you can walk up to a woman and say, ‘Will you marry me?’ It is a twinning festival, so it is acceptable that this question can be asked.

Last year Willie brought the experience of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival to Cabo Roig, Costa Blanca, and it proved to be a huge success in the popular Spanish holiday destination.

“I’ll be going back in October,” adds Willie. “Love in the sun, you can’t beat it.”


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