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The small spa town of Lisdoonvarna, with a population of around 800 people, has attracted visitors from all over Ireland to its mineral springs, since the 18th century.
A long held traditional in this central town on the southern edges of the scenic Burren area, is the matchmaking festival.
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For much of Europe, the historical record begins when the Romans invaded; as Ireland was not invaded by the Romans its historical record starts later, with the coming of Christianity.
During the most recent Quaternary glaciation, ice sheets more than 3,000 m (9,800 ft) thick scoured the landscape of Ireland, pulverising rock and bone, and eradicating any possible evidence of early human settlements during the Glenavian warm period (human remains pre-dating the last glaciation have been uncovered in the extreme south of Britain, which largely escaped the advancing ice sheets). 26,000–19,000 years ago), Subsequent evidence from the past 50 years has shown this to be untrue and recent publications (Greenwood and Clark, 2009) suggest that ice went off the southern coast of Ireland.
After the harvests in September, young farmers from all over Ireland would shuffle into Lisdoonvarna to find themselves a potential wife, with the help of the ‘basadoiri' or matchmakers.
This tradition is upheld today by fourth generation matchmaker (and horse dealer) Willie Daly and today the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival is one of the largest matchmaking events in Europe attracting some 40,000 hopefuls and festival-goers, over the month.
During the period between 17,500 and 12,000 years ago, a warmer period, the Bølling-Allerød, allowed the rehabitation of northern areas of Europe by roaming hunter-gatherers.