Tired of swiping left in search of your perfect partner?
If online dating is leaving you cold, there’s a uniquely Irish matchmaking event that could be your ticket to love town.
Be warned though, by ‘uniquely Irish’ we mean brilliantly bizarre.
It all happens on Skelliging Day, a holiday celebrated exclusively in Cobh on Shrove Tuesday, February 13th.
In days of yore, it was the desperate singleton’s last chance to find love and make their match before the beginning of Lent.
Although it was once popular over much of the country, Skelliging Day is now celebrated only in Cork.
“In earlier times, when religious practice was stronger, couples were required to marry before the beginning of Lent.” Pádraig Ó Maoláin told Yay Cork.
“In Cobh and elsewhere, singletons were considered to be negligent and were encouraged to ‘match up’ before the deadline. The term ‘Skelliging’ comes from the belief that couples could still get married beyond the deadline if they got married on Skellig Michael (Scellig Mhichíl).’
“Skelliging Day was the day when bachelors and spinsters were named as couples and coaxed together. They were named publicly in the form of poems, notices and posters ‘announcing’ the forthcoming nuptials of the shy couple.”
As morto as all that sounds, we’re assured that these days the ‘coaxing’ has been dispensed with, replaced by a relaxed atmosphere – perfect for making small talk over a pint.
If you’d like to know more about the history of the whole thing, this year Skelliging Day begins with an illustrated lecture by Shane Lehane; ‘Skilligin’ Day: Exploring the Ritual and Customs of Shrove Tuesday’ will be held at 1pm on Tuesday, February 13th in the Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh followed by music with Jimmy Crowley and Bonnie Shaljean.
There’s a singing session from 6.30pm onwards in Ryan’s Bar, Cobh featuring the Cork Singers’ Club and hosted by local singers Conor and Jessie Anthony.
Later singletons are invited to drop by The Skellicking Ball in The High Chapperal Bar in Ballymore from 9pm until late, where guest singers, Shrove Supper and The Carrigcove Céilí Band may well provide the soundtrack to the night you fell in love.