Original article by Corinna Hardgrave for The Irish Times
The hungry months are over and food festival season has well and truly kicked off. Last weekend it was the West Waterford Festival of Food in Dungarvan and, having digested that appetiser, neighbours across the country are getting together for this weekend’s Street Feast. Meanwhile, in Renvyle, Co Galway, the Connemara Mussel Festival is in full swing. It is going to be a busy summer for gastronomic festivities, then, with events taking place along the length and breadth of the country almost every weekend. Here’s our guide to the best of them.
Burren Slow Food Festival
In perfect slow food fashion, this festival starts with a boat trip to Tigh Ned’s pub on Inis Oirr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, for a seafood buffet. Pop-ups at the Burren Storehouse include dinner on Saturday cooked by Danni Barry of Balloo House in Killinchy, Co Down, and late Sunday lunch by Gareth Mullins, executive head chef at the Marker hotel in Dublin. Free talks and cookery demonstrations all weekend.
Race & Taste Festival
This event brings together the rebel county’s top food producers and the sport of kings at Cork Racecourse in Mallow. Alongside the horse racing, there will be demos by Cork’s leading chefs, including Rory O’Connell, Martin Shanahan and Lilly Higgins, plus workshops, wine tasting, food stalls and entertainment.
Tickets start at €15 (children under four go free); corkracecourse.ie
Dublin Bay Prawn Festival
This festival in the fishing village of Howth is more than just a celebration of the crustacean. There will be a tent on the green for food stalls and a marquee for chef demos, with Aidan McManus of Howth’s King Sitric as MC. Howth Yacht Club will be open to everyone, offering sailing, paddle-boarding and diving.
Bealtaine at Rock Farm Slane
Celebrate spring among the yurts and straw-bale buildings at the Conynghams’ farm in Slane, with a farmers’ market and plant fair, barbecue and pizzas in the barn, organic farm walks, electric bikes, and horse and cart rides.
€6 per car; rockfarmslane.ie
Sheridans Irish Food Festival
Set in Sheridans’ beautiful grounds in Co Meath, this festival features more than 100 stalls selling cheese, organic fruit and vegetables, heritage meat and charcuterie, artisan bread, preserves, wine and beer. With talks, demos and workshops.
Entry is €5 (children go free); sheridanscheesemongers.com
Indie Beer Week
Independent Irish breweries across the country throw open their doors for tours, tastings, music and food in this five-day celebration of local craft beer.
The Old Butter Roads Food Festival
May 24-June 1
A festival highlighting the producers along Cork’s historical Old Butter Roads, with two days of events hosted by food writer Joe McNamee at O’Mahony’s gastropub in Watergrasshill. The pub will host butter-making sessions, market stalls, cookery demos, beer and cider tastings, epicurean variety show Grub Circus, plus a symposium with Darina Allen.
Bloom in The Park - Make sure to check our Boyne Valley Producers there!
May 30-June 3
The country’s biggest annual garden festival, held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, is as famous for its food village as it is for the award-winning gardens, with artisan food and drink producers plus an impressive line-up of hot food stalls.
Tickets €16-€29 (children under 16 go free); bloominthepark.com
Wednesday, 22nd January 2020
Monday, 20th January 2020
Friday, 17th January 2020
Monday, 16th December 2019
Monday, 9th December 2019