The Best Festivals to Attend this September
Summer may be officially over, but there’s still a party atmosphere in Ireland this month. The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness provides an ideal time to get in the festival mode. Here are some top picks for your perusal. Don’t put those festival flowered wellies and rain ponchos away just yet.
A TASTE OF WEST CORK FOOD FESTIVAL
Kicking off this Friday 8th September, West Cork’s annual food festival gets into full swing till 17th September this month. This year’s programme covers over 230 events in 36 towns and eight islands off the West Cork coast. Kicking off the event on Friday 8th from 11am is The Future of Fairs and Markets in Ireland with Darina Allen of Ballymaloe Cookery School among the speakers. Other members taking part include:
Kalbos of North Street in Skibbereen hosts foodwriter Joe McNamee as guest chef on Sunday 10th September.
Poachers Inn in Bandon welcomes guest chef Bryan McCarthy of Greene’s Restaurant Cork Sunday 10th September.
Durrus Cheese hosts a cheesemaking workshop at the farm where Jeffa Gill first made her award winning cheese on the Sheep’s Head Peninsula in West Cork. Monday 11th September (numbers limited).
Glenilen Farm hosts an open morning showcasing its award winning dairy production in Drimoleague, West Cork. Taking place Tuesday 12th September (numbers limited).
The Church Restaurant in Skibbereen welcomes Bryan McCarthy of Greene’s as guest chef. Bryan will be using a host of local and seasonal ingredients to wow customers in this magnificent restaurant location on Thursday Sept 14th. Booking essential.
Kevin Aherne of Sage Restaurant in Midleton, is guest cheffing at the spectacular Inish Beg Boathouse on this beautiful estate just outside Baltimore, West Cork, on 14th September.
Ross Lewis of Chapter One takes centre stage at the festival grand finale, cooking at The Mews restaurant in Baltimore. Working with Mews Head Chef Ahmet Dede, a former protégé of Ross Lewis, the pair will collaborate to create a tasting menu with the wow factor!
LISDOONVARNA MATCHMAKING FESTIVAL
Probably one of the most famous festivals Ireland has ever held. Year on year, this festival attracts singletons from all over the world, looking for lasting love and romance, or at least a little bit of craic in this little village in Co Clare! Matchmaking is one of Ireland’s oldest traditions. Famous Matchmaker Willy Daly will be on hand to offer his services in the Matchmaker Bar. Legend has it if you touch his magic book with both hands, you will be married in six months! Better take it seriously now!
While you’re in Lisdoonvarna, don’t forget to call in to the Burren Smokehouse Visitor Centre, The Roadside Tavern and The Burren Storehouse, all owned by artisan smoked salmon and craft beer producers Birgitta and Peter Curtin. Who incidentally, met while Birgitta was visiting Ireland from her native Sweden for this very matchmaking festival quite some years ago now. She met Peter and the rest, as they say, is history. So this festival can not only bring forth a life partner, but the possiblity of meeting someone with whom you can create an award winning business while you’re at it! Willy’s magic book at work! The festival is running now till 8th October, so plenty of time to go west and look for love…
AIRFIELD ESTATE FESTIVAL OF FOOD
Running this weekend 9th & 10th September, this festival takes place on the majestic Airfield Estate in Dundrum Co. Dublin. This year’s theme is Food Literacy: Unearthing the Knowledge Gap. During the weekend you’ll get to meet the Airfield team, including farmer Eamon Younger, Airfield CEO Grainne Kelleher and the Airfield Gardeners and Growers. A full programme will be available on the Airfield Stand, with times for meeting these special people. You’ll also learn about the history and heritage of Airfield Estate and browse stalls of over 40 artisan producers who will be present for the two day event.
Don’t miss Silke Croppe from Corleggy Cheese, included in the list of guest speakers throughout the weekend. Free admission and lots for the kids to get involved in too. This is a proper family event.
NATIONAL PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS
This is Ireland’s largest agricultural based event, with a massive 283,000 visitors in 2016 and an increase in that figure expected in 2017. This year, the championships return to Sceggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly. All the usual sights to be seen, from big machinery for the farmers to admire, sheep shearing demos, livestock and farming product stands, to arts, crafts, food stalls and cookery demos. And the ploughing. Don’t forget the ploughing. Running from 19th -21st September. We don’t want to jinx things, but the National Ploughing Championships can turn into a mudbath when it rains. Almost 300 thousand pairs of feet will do that to a wet field! Spare clothes and wellies essential!
GALWAY INTERNATIONAL OYSTER AND SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Oysters are the buzzword for September, as the month heralds the start of the wild native oyster season. The Galway Oyster and Seafood Festival began in 1954 and is still going strong, year on year. Oysters and the fresh seafood off the Galway coast are the stars of the show at this festival, running 22nd to 24th September.
Familiar events include the famous World Oyster Opening Championships. If you love oysters, Galway is THE place to be this month! Galway members include Heron’s Rest Boutique B&B, Aniar and Loam michelin starred restaurants and Eat at Massimo for casual gastro pub food. All worth a visit during festival time.
DUBLIN VEG FEST
Happening on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th September, this is the place for all vegetarians and vegans to gather. Griffith Conference Centre in Dublin 8 is the venue for what promises to be a bigger and better Vegfest than ever before. The Vegan Food Village is there to browse all day on both days. Guest speakers include Ails Brosnan Healthy Living Coach and Earthling Ed, Vegan Activist, among others.