Historic Spa Wells
Lisdoonvarna Spall Wells is a historical location famous for its sulphur rich spa water. The discovery of the spring water with the strong odour lead to a boom in health-conscious visitors in the late 19th century.
If you are driving along the Wild Atlantic Way it's well worth your while to visit Lisdoonvarna, see its sights, explore its history, its spa wells, and to enjoy a meal and a musical evening in a local tavern or stay in one of its lovely hotels and guest houses.
In the 1890's the Lisdoonvarna Spa Wells was the place to be, and to be seen. The first pump-house was built on this site in 1867, followed by a bath-house in 1875. Word spread and the visitor numbers increased to 20,000 in the year 1895.
People came to drink and bathe in the mineral-rich water for its health-giving properties.
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Origins
With so many well-to-do people visiting the spa wells, it became a focal point for single men to meet single women. Introductions could be arranged, and soon Lisdoonvarna became famous for matchmaking.
Present Day Lisdoonvarna
Present-day Lisdoonvarna continues to be famous for matchmaking, and indeed it hosts a matchmaking festival every September. The crowds take part in dancing and socialising and the town's hotels, guesthouses, restaurants and pubs swell with those seeking love and romance or who just want some craic and to listen to live Irish folk music.
The town is amazing to walk through, with the exterior of some buildings and pubs elaborately and colourfully painted with festive murals.
The Spa as a Place to Recuperate
The Lisdoonvarna Spa Wells and pump house have been recently renovated, and are open for the summer months for visitors to come, take a guided tour and sample the spa water. Be warned, it is strong smelling! Local volunteers give the guided tours and explain the interesting history of the Spa Wells, the discovery of the water and how the site was developed. It became a place for the infirm to come and spend some time to recuperate and convalese. It even had its own medical doctor.
The curious visitors will be very interested in the "electric shock" therapy equipment, vintage massage and other "health" apparatus on display in the pump house.
Admission is free, but visitors can make a voluntary donation which is used for maintenance and refurbishment of the site. The volunteers are very friendly and a well of knowledge, excuse the pun. Go along and encourage them. Their story is a very interesting one. You won't be disappointed.
In the 20th century, the Spa Wells went into decline. Visitor numbers fell, and the the town became known more for its matchmaking festival than its health-giving waters. Why did it go into terminal decline? That is a question I'll leave for the curious visitors to ask when they take the guided tour.
The Lisdoonvarna Spa Wells is located at the southern end of Lisdoonvarna town at the T-junction with the Kilfenora road. Click the map pin icon to view the location on a map.