Lisdoonvarna, in County Clare, is a spa town of fewer than 1,000 people most of the year. In September, 40,000 singles from all over the world go there for the annual Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival. Some obviously go there seeking a mate for life, others perhaps a mate for just an evening or two, and still others, married or single, just for a good time. The festival features traditional Irish music and dance, horseracing, and speed dating. There is also a contest to choose Mr. Lisdoonvarna, the most eligible bachelor, and the Queen of the Burren, the most eligible bachelorette.
Laetitia and her group were standing in a crowd in Lisdoonvarna listening to a ceili band when a disheveled middle-aged American woman came running through the crowd yelling something about an alien. The news spread, and a crowd rapidly surrounded her, but Laetitia was able to get close to hear what she was saying. Her story was that she had left the main area of the festival in search of a loo and had found herself in a secluded place where she encountered an alien. He touched her in such a way that that she was unable to resist his advances. The woman, who said she was Lorna from Spring Valley, Wisconsin, described the experience as cosmic, though horrifying, and said she needed a drink. Several men rushed forward for the honor, and she left with one of them.
Her account was presented in a very convincing manner. She didn’t seem like the kind of down-to-earth person who would just make something up and many in the crowd believed her story. There were comments like, “Wow, this festival is more popular than I thought; imagine drawing folks from other planets.” However, others were skeptical. Laetitia also heard questions such as, “Does she mean an alien from outer space or just some other country?” Next to Laetitia was a man with a broad grin on his face. When Laetitia asked him why, he said, “I’m here with a bunch of friends from Elmwood, Wisconsin. Spring Valley isn’t far away. Each July, Elmwood has a UFO festival. She does this act there every summer. It usually gets her a free drink or two and sometimes a man for the evening.” Laetitia thanked him; he and Lorna had given her the limerick of the day.
Though most knew it likely a yarn, a
Wild rumor engulfed Lisdoonvarna
Of the alien abduction
And cosmic seduction
Of a matronly lady named Lorna.