The last few weeks have been manic. New thing in work and tons of work for the shop, which is in the process of getting a revamping, loads of social engagements and a few family things. May, June and July are full of great foodie festivals and my calendar is jam packed with stuff. While having coffee with friends today, I found myself telling them about all these fabulous festivals in Ireland and was really surprised they hadn't heard about them, so it occurred to me that only because I know they're happening, doesn't mean everybody else does, so got the idea for this quick post on what's coming up in the next few weeks. Hope you find the information helpful! If you live in Ireland, you can choose which ones you want to go to and plan ahead... if you live abroad, hope this wets your appetite for a trip to this beautiful, evergreen-island soon.
The Kerrygold Ballymaloe Lit Fest: now you need to be living under a rock in Ireland not to have heard about this one! It's all over twitter, facebook, the papers and magazines. The Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine is in its second year and it's a celebration of all things food and wine in the beautiful and inspiring setting of the renown Ballymaloe Cookery School, the Ballymaloe House Hotel and Restaurant and The Big Shed; all in close proximity to each other in the tiny village of Shanagarry in County Cork. While many of the ticketed events will happen at the cookery school and the house, the Big Shed will host the Fringe Festival, which is just as cool and fun as the rest. The festival takes place from the 16th to the 18th of May and a full programme can be downloaded here. There is still some tickets available and most of the activities at the Fringe Fest, including demos and a market are free of charge. The highlight of the festival, at least for me, is the cooking demo and the talk with the legendary Diana Kennedy, who is responsible for the writing of most of my favourite Mexican Cooking Books, but there is also a ton of my lovely foodie friends, bloggers and chefs that will make this a fantastic festival. This is a weekend I am so looking forward to!!
The Sheridan's Irish Food Festival: this is one of my favourite food festivals of the year. It's in its fifth year and it gets better every time! Super relaxed, mostly free and a fantastic day out for families. When the weather is good, like last year, there is no place on earth I'd rather be! Set in Sheridan's Virginia Road Station (a restored train station which also happens to be Sheridan's HQ) in Virginia, Co. Meath. This festival has it all: cooking demos, talks, foraging walks, kids' activities, plants for those with green fingers, Irish crafts, tons and tons of lovely Irish food and a great atmosphere. Some of the talks and demos need to be booked online, but it's only a 5 each. There is no entry fee and you only pay for parking (I think it was a fiver last year). You park your car in the middle of a huge field and make your way to the festival by foot. I highly recommend this for families. It's truly a lovely way to spend a day. The Festival takes place on Sunday, 25th of May. Get tickets for the talks here. Here's a video from last year's festival when the super talented Donal Skehan did one of his Kitchen Hero episodes there! A little extra note: check the maps and directions provided by the festival, signage is very good once you get near, but we get lost every year!!! :)
The Burren Slow Food Festival: This fantastic festival takes place from the 23rd to the 25th of May in the beautiful Lisdoonvarna in County Clare. This festival is in its 8th year and this year's theme is seaweed. Tickets are 5 euro per person and children go free. There will be tastings, foraging walks, talks by John & Sally McKenna, Sally wrote the book Extreme Greens where she shares her deep love and knowledge of seaweed. There are several cooking demos, a Burren Lamb barbeque banquet, bike tours, a farmers' market, walks and even a chocolate demo which is bound to keep the kids happy! Slow Food extraordinaire, Darina Allen, will be giving a talk too and the list of people involved in this festival is both impressive and very eclectic. Very passionate folk in incredibly beautiful sorroundings. Worth a weekend trip.
Culture and Chips: Now, any festival with the World Chip Championship in it deserves a mention. A lovely reader sent it to me and I absolutely love it! The city of Limerick will host this festival from the 29th of May until the 2nd of June and if you take a look at what's happening during it, you'll love it too; it's totally insane: a Wine Goose Chase, Culinary Carnaval Chip Banquet, Cabaret des Frites and the very first World Chip Championship EVER, amongst other events, I say, what's not to like??? Prices vary from 15 quid to up to 70 euro for tickets, but there are a few free events. Check details here.
That's May pretty much gone guys! There are quite a lot of other festivals coming up in June and July, including the Taste of Dublin, Bloom 2014, and the Westmeath Hay Literary Festival, just to name a few, but I'll leave that for another post during the week! Till then...