Return to Lisdoonvarna, by Douglas Livingstone

Douglas Livingstone - Road to Lisdoonvarna

BBC Radio 4: Saturday Night Theatre

Broadcast: Saturday 3rd September 1994 @ 7:50 p.m.

Most people who go to the match-making fair in County Clare protest that they're just there for a good time. But things happen there...

At 41, Maggie takes a trip to Lisdoonvarna, six months after the death of her dad whom she had been caring for. She didn't mean to go - she was at the travel agency looking at brochures of Greece when she overheard the travel agent, who happened to be Irish, serving 'Deathly' Derek (not that she knew he was called 'Deathly' or even Derek). The agent was congratulating him on choosing Lisdoonvarna as his destination choice and telling him that the Matchmaking Festival was quite unique.

In the back of her mind Maggie was hoping to meet up with a former lodger of hers, Danny O'Dwyer, who spent a month at her B&B ten years earlier. She had fallen in love with him. He once told her that she should visit Lisdoonvarna where he grew up. But Danny was only with her for a month before he disappeared, never to return....

With Frances Barber [Maggie Kenyen], James Fleet ['Deathly' Derek Hedges], Conleth Hill [Danny O'Dwyer], John Hollis [Harry Kenyen, Maggie's Dad], Mark Lambert [Kevin O'Brien, Proprietor of the O'Brien Hotel in Lisdoonvarna], Dervla Kirwan [Susan], Dominic Letts [Fergus], John Rogan [Mr. Pearce, the Foreman where Danny Worked], James Hayes and Stephen Tompkinson [The Bookies].

Other roles played by Sam Dale, Shay Gorman, James Greene, Deborah Berlin, and Marcella Riordan.

Directed by Jane Morgan.

Re-broadcast on Saturday 2nd September 1995 @ 2:30 p.m.

90 minutes.


Lisdoonvarna (Irish: Lios Dúin Bhearna) is a spa town of 800 people in County Clare in the Republic of Ireland. Famous for its music and festivals, in September each year one of Europe's largest matchmaking events is held in the town attracting upward of 40,000 romantic hopefuls, bachelor farmers and accompanying revellers. The month-long event is an important tourist attraction.

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 the early 1980s.

The town takes its name from the Irish Lios Dúin Bhearna meaning the "lios dúin", or enclosured fort, of the gap ("bhearna"). It is believed that the fort referred to in this name is the green earthen fort of Lissateeaun, which lies 3 km to the north-east of the town, near the remains of a Norman-era castle.


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