Media Release: Finding love in Lisdoonvarna, on BBC ALBA


Lisdoonvarna ‘When Love Comes to Town’

BBC ALBA – Thursday 14 February 21:00 – 22:00

LOVE is in the air for Valentine’s Day on BBC ALBA as presenter Derek ‘Pluto’ Murray heads to what is considered to be Europe’s biggest matchmaking festival in search of romance for two Gaelic girls who, to-date, have been unlucky in love.

The fate of Alana MacInnes (Uist) and Charlotte MacKay (Edinburgh) hangs in the balance as Derek travels to the spa town of Lisdoonvarna, Ireland, home of the annual Matchmaking Festival.

Being a small farming town in County Clare, the men of Lisdoonvarna outnumber women 14 to one.  For decades now, people have attended the festival to meet their mates.

With over 35,000 singletons from around the world descending on County Clare, Derek is under pressure as he goes head to head with the festival’s fourth generation official matchmaker, Willie Daly, to try and find the girls a perfect match.

Music student and piper, Alana, is looking for a tall guy with a good sense of humour, whilst Celtic studies student, Charlotte, is preferably looking for a Welsh man with dark hair and blue eyes.

Lisdoonvarna ‘When Love Comes To Town’ follows the girls as they go on dates with potential suitors from Australia and America, exploring the local attractions in nearby coastal village, Doolin.

Throughout the programme, Derek ‘Pluto’ Murray meets the characters behind the festival’s success including Marcus White, festival organiser, and Pat ‘Cass’ Cassidy and Jolene Ireland who gained the titles of Mr and Mrs Lisdoonvarna 2002 respectively, as well as husband and wife, Cecily and Albert Lawlor who met at the festival over 40 years ago and have been back every year since.

Will love be in the air? Find out when Lisdoonvarna ‘When Love Comes To Town’, produced for BBC ALBA by Demus-HG Productions, is transmitted on Thursday 14 February at 9.00pm.


Picture caption: Alana on a date with Australian Steve at the Doolin Caves

For further information please contact Gary McQueen or Lorna Gardner at Media House on 0141 220 6040 or email /

Notes to editors:

BBC ALBA is available on the following platforms:

  • Freeview 8 (Scotland only)
  • Virgin Media 188 (UK)
  • Sky 168 (UK)
  • Freesat 110 (UK)
  • Live on BBC iPlayer (UK)
  • ten hours of content per week is also available to view on demand via the BBC PC iPlayer and the BBC iPlayer on Virgin Media

BBC ALBA is run by MG ALBA in partnership with the BBC. MG ALBA is the operating name of Seirbheis nam Meadhanan Gàidhlig, the Gaelic Media Service. Find out more about MG ALBA and the partnership at or visit for scheduling and programme information.

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Contact: Gary McQueen
Phone: 01412206040