Lisdoonvarna-home to Europe’s biggest matchmaking festival

MatchMaker_LisdoonvarnaEach year 60,000 singles visit Lisdoonvarna to experience this uniquely Irish Festival organised by Marcus White. From August to September, people come from all corners of the globe to experience the non-stop ‘craic’ with music and dancing starting at 11amand carrying on until the early hours of the morning.
Singles can even meet Ireland’s only traditional matchmaker, Willie Daly, in his office in the Matchmaker Bar. Touch his ‘lucky book’ with both hands and you could be married within 6 months! Now there’s an offer!
If you’re looking for love, there’s no better place to find it than in Lisdoonvarna! Find out more here:

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The Outing comes back to The Hydro Hotel this September!

Three years ago, when I added The Outing, the unique LGBT spin off event to the original Lisdoonvarna Festival, I had a fair idea that this would be popular. However, the event, now in its forth year and arguably the world’s first LGBT Dating Festival is now bigger than ever with an ever growing number of attendees from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities around the world.

This is the fastest growing off shoot of the the historical Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival and this year, it will feature pop-up clubs, drag performances, comedy, live music, arts , Literary/Film Festival (GAZE) and interactive events. It is a guaranteed craic-filled weekend for the revellers with a fusion of music, comedy, ceilí bands and some of Ireland’s & International best Dj’s, Performers and drag artists.


Our very own Hydro Hotel is the recommended hotel of choice if you are in town and attending The Outing. According to the official website of The Outing, Hydro Hotel has been:

‘Completely modernised and has 110 bedrooms. It also boasts original 19th Century features, bars, a restaurant and Lisdoonvarna’s only nightclub – soon to be venue to many of The Outing’s events!’

The Outing Schedule for 2016 begins  on the 7th of October 2016 at 14:00 pm at the Hydro Hotel features a warm welcome at check in
where you will get your hotel key and then directed to The Outing desk where you will receive your Day/Weekend Wristband Pass.

Then at 18:00 pm guests will enjoy welcome drinks and a DJ session with our cocktail and happy hour to start the weekend off in The Hydro Hotel & Ballroom Bar. After this, guests will visit the Burren Storehouse for a film festival. After that, after a short visit to enjoy traditional Irish music at the Roadside Tavern, they will return to The Hydro to take part in the traditional matchmaking conducted by Fourth Generation Matchmaker Willie Daly,
Willie will be on hand all weekend to help guests find that special someone in his special Irish style. Strictly no dating apps or website is allowed here!

Holiday World Show


At 22:30, The Hydro Ballroom will welcome the sounds of Céilí Gay hosted by Eddie McGuinness and will also feature Sheila Fits-Patrick and Madonna Luciacome.

Then at 00:00, The Outing will have its very own version of ‘Blind Dates hosted Brendan Courtney with Jonny Woo. Alongside, there will also be a Masquerade Ball with John Sizzle. Guests will bring their own masquerade mask and also try and unmask the object of their affections. DJ, performer and original HOT MESS, John Sizzle who is famous for playing at SHED and notorious clubs and parties around London town will add the F to Fun at this great event!

This is just a taster and great activities and events will follow at the Hydro Hotel on the 8th and 9th of October as well!

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Lisdoonvarna is the best place to find love!

Over the next coming weekends, Lisdoonvarna is expected to be visited by around 40,000 hopefuls looking to find their perfect ‘love match’. Indeed, our lovely spa town is not only renowned for its healing spa waters and folk festivals, but nowadays it is firmly on the global map for The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival.

A few key facts about the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival are:

  • It is one of Ireland’s oldest festivals, currently in its 157th year.
  • The festival originated during the Great Irish Famine which accelerated emigration from the farms.
  • The LGBT matchmaking weekend called The Outing was successfully introduced to the festival in 2013.
  • More men than women attend the festival!
  • The main matchmaker of this festival is Willie Daly, a local horse dealer, farmer, publican and third generation practitioner, who has matched up hundreds of happy couples.
  • Irish jigs are one of the main ways for men and women to determine whether they’re well-suited for one another!

We have a lovely 10th Anniversary couple Stacey and Enda, who were matched up by none other than Willie Daly at the Matchmaker Bar 10 years ago. 10 years later, they are happily married with two children and back at the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival paying tribute to the event that united them. The Clare People recently featured a great write up about this brilliant couple!


As this amazing Festival in underway, we have a great line up of festival entertainment coming up, which you would absolutely not want to miss! So what are you waiting for? Head down to Lisdoonvarna for fun, fun and more fun!


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Fun comes to Hydro Hotel, Lisdoonvarna this September!

Exciting times are headed here in Lisdoonvarna at our very own Hydro Hotel in the run up to the Matchmaking Festival 2016 starting on the 2nd of September. We have an exciting array of activities and events lined up for you, with fantastic performances from some very talented singers and various dance clubs almost every night!

matchmaking festival hydro hotel line up

hydro hotel match making festival line up 2

We will also be featuring traffic light parties every Friday and Saturday night at Q night club, where all participants will wear colour coded badges showing their relationship status:

Green: single
Amber: its complicated…
Red: in a relationship

traffic light party

We absolutely cannot wait to get started!

If you need to any further reasons to come down to Hydro this September, there are amazing attractions that you can explore nearby such as the Burren Smokehouse, The Burren Painting Centre, Burren Mountains, Ballyvaughan Farmers Market, Visit Corofin and Festival of Finn and Cliff of Moher Cruise to name a few.  ballyvaughan     smokehouse

cliffs of moher          festival of finn

Our hotel has had several satisfied repeat guests who have left us some brilliant reviews on Trip Advisor:

‘A traditional hotel & spotlessly clean. Staff we’re friendly & accommodating. The views from front of house were lovely to wake up to. Breakfast was menu order & more than sufficient. We had a good experience from this last minute trip to County Clare & it’s a great destination to find after a long days driving. ‘  Corinna S, Athlone

Got to the hotel late at night and thought the staff were very welcoming We enjoyed some live music and dancing until 10:30pm. The food at breakfast was plentiful As a vegetarian they accommodated me with food off the menu without fuss. The interesting Life magazines decorating the stairs walls gave the place character and personality. It was lovely to see the hotel owner as we left .‘ Mandy C

Nice hotel and lovely friendly staff. Central location for exploring The Burren, Cliffs of Moher etc.’ Robert and Shirley, Clonakilty

‘Staff very attentive and lots of smiles all around. I had a one evening meal and it was very good with the service excellent. Plenty to eat at breakfast time again great service. I will definitely stay in the Hydro again.’ Pat S

So what are you waiting for, come visit us! We look forward to welcoming you here at the Hydro Hotel!


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Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is back at Hydro Hotel this September!

In the great tradition of my father, Jim White, who put County Donegal on the tourist map and bought Global fame to the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival beginning with purchase of the Hydro Hotel,Lisdoonvarna Ireland in the mid seventies, Hydro Hotel will once again be taking part in the Lisdoonvarna festivities this September! I cannot express how excited I am to be hosting this amazing festival of love, fun and laughter at the Hydro Hotel.

The weekend will kick off with a feast of top Country Music performers, with the hottest ticket in Irish Country Music, Nathan Carter. According to Irish Media, Nathan is one of the biggest stars of the genre of music known as Country and Irish, a special genre of “country with Celtic influences”.

nathan carter

Deals including accommodation and tickets available.
These Tickets will fly!

Ticketmaster Booking

Anyone who books these tickets will have entry into all the entertainment at the Hydro hotel. For more information check out:

The second weekend will be dedicated to Hens & Stags with plenty of fun and laughs guaranteed!


The weekends of 6th -18th , 23 – 25th Sept, & 30th Sept – 2nd Oct will be dedicated to dancing and lots of it!
With great live bands and a lot of people of all ages, you will be up all night, shaking that thing!

dancing lisdoonvarna

7th-9th October will feature The Outing which is now in its 4th year shall include pop-up clubs, drag performances, comedy, live music, arts , literary/Film Festival (GAZE) and interactive events, it’s a guaranteed craic-filled weekend away on Ireland’s stunning west coast of Ireland on The Atlantic Way. B*Witched, Panti, Jonny Woo to Brendan Courtney & lots more acts will be there. Find out more at

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A Tribute to the Great James White of Lisdoonvarna – A son remembers….

As we are drawing close to the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, it is natural that I pay tribute to the man who started in all and who I am proud to call my father, James White of County Donegal, a great Irish Businessman and Hotelier, an inspiration to all he represented,  a great employer and generous to many organisations.


Jim White, as he was known to those he loved and who loved him, did things his way. He had great political achievements to his name  which, in the 1970’s and early ’80’s were very significant for both himself and for Fine Gael. He was first elected in 1973 in the Donegal – Leitrim Constituency, but his greatest day that he always recalled with pride was topping the poll in the all-county Donegal Constituency in 1977, coming home with almost 11,000 first preference votes.

Daddy (as I called him) loved a good bargain and was a businessman at heart. He revolutionised Hotel Tourism in Ireland, particularly in Coach Tours sector. His vision and determination in establishing an international marketing division in several countries across Europe for the White Hotel Group, proved that he was ahead major hotel companies. He bought the Hydro Hotel in 1974 and paved the way for the hugely successful Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, putting Ireland firmly on the map.

As I take part in the festivities of the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival this year, Daddy will be on my mind and he will be sorely missed.

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We’re not too happy with Facebook at the Lisdoonvarna Matchamaking Festival HQ (ie The Hydro Hotel!)

Last year we created a page and called it “Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival 2011”, we have nearly 1000 likes and good interaction with fans of the page.  We attempted to change the name a few weeks ago but Facebook are refusing to allow it!  They say that maybe people who “liked” Lisdoonvarna in 2011 won’t like it in 2012!!!!

We know there are people who “liked” Lisdoonvarna in 1911 who still like it!

We are going to create a new page but it is still annoying.  What’s worse is that if we had less than 200 fans we would be allowed to change it.

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June in Singapore

I’m continuing my attempts to bring tourists to Ireland from other parts of the world and am just back from a successful week in Singapore, where I met with some of their most influencial travel companies.

It has been an extremely busy few months and I’m far from finished but I’m hoping that all the effort I am putting in now will start to pay dividends and whether it is in a year or 2 years or more that the White Hotel Group and Irish Tourist Industry will reap the rewards of June 2012!

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Chinese Tourism Event

I, along with approx. 120 others, attended a hugely successful seminar organised by the Shannon Chamber of Commerce in relation to tourism opportunities with China, on 29th May, 2012.

The event was entitled “Chinese Tourism on the Move”

This was an excellent event and the speakers shared a wealth of invaluable information with attendees.

The speakers included Jim Paul from Tourism Ireland, Professor Fan Hong, Director of School of Asian Studies, Irish Institute of Chinese Studies and the Confucius Institute, UCC; Dr Lu, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Maynooth; Professor Lin Xu, Visiting Lecturer in the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies, and Deirdre Hunt, Emeritus Professor, Management School of Asian Studies, UCC.

I would like to congratulate Shannon Chamber of Commerce and all involved in organising the event.  Although I have recently returned from meeting with tour operators and officials in China, I know that the information shared on the day will be of huge benefit to us when taking the next steps to promote the White Hotel Group to the Chinese Market.

Full details of the event can be found on the Shannon Chamber of Commerce website.

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Hitting the Local Headlines

A local newspaper in Co. Clare (The Clare People) wrote an article about my recent trips to Russia and China.

It is great to see that when someone takes steps to generate business that it is acknowledged and recognised by local journalists.

Hopefully we’ll have some good news in relation to tourism numbers for them to print in the near future!

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