A new US film inspired by the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival will result in a huge boost to the tourism industry in County Clare once restrictions are lifted, an Irish tour operator has predicted.
The movie, “As luck would have it’ premiered on the Hallmark Channel last week and features Irish Actor Allen Leech who played Tom Branson in Downtown Abbey with US Acress JoAnna Garcia Swisher from the Netflix series ‘Sweet Magnolia.”
The film’s plot revolves around Lindsey (JoAnna Garcia Swisher) who travels to Ireland to acquire land that is perfect for a resort. She decides to enter the town’s matchmaking festival to prove her investment and win over a handsome local.
It is one of two major television productions to reference the festival in recent years; the multi-award winning ‘Schitt’s Creek’ features a “Singles Week” in the series four finale, with a serious nod to the festival by actress Annie Murphy who plays Alexis Rose.
Marcus White, Festival organiser and tour operator said: “It’s fantastic so see that the festival has captured the imagination of US film makers and we are honored that it has been used as a key part in the film’s plot.”
“Since the film was released last week, we have been inundated with messages and emails from people enquiring about the festival, many of whom only discovered it existed from watching the movie. As the country begins to open up, this will definitely help in promoting County Clare and Ireland as a tourist destination going forward.”
Mr White also said that articles about the film both in the US media and in the UK’s ‘The Times’ newspaper last week had also contributed to a buzz about the festival.
Filmed entirely in Ireland in February this year, the film features locations such as the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Glendalough in County Wicklow Lismore Castle in County Clare and Howth Castle and Johnnie Fox’s pub in Glencullen Dublin.
The production team from Hallmark made contact with Julie Carr who looks after media relations for the festival back in 2019 and had an expressed an initial interest in filming in the village.
“Although the matchmaking scenes were shot elsewhere, it was very clear to see that many elements of the festival have been replicated, such as the dancing, matchmaking and even the design of the posters for the festival are similar.”
The Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking festival was cancelled last year due to the Covid 19 pandemic – the first time in its 165 year history. An announcement about this year’s festival is expected to take place in July.