It's All Go for Ballymaloe Litfest 2017!

Litfest 2017 at Ballymaloe House Co. Cork

This coming weekend sees the fifth annual Ballymaloe Litfest take place from 19th-21st May at Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School in East Cork. Litfest brings together the big names in Irish and international food and drinks, with guest speakers, cookery demonstrations, talks and workshops throughout the weekend.  

Always a hit with food lovers! In fact it’s now part of the social calender for absolutely anyone who has any interest in what they eat. In its fifth year, a new theme for Litfest has been adopted, which is reflected in the name change from the original Literary Festival of Food and Drink to Food and Drinks Literacy Festival. Why so? 

As the Litfest website explains: Food Literacy is about understanding where the food you eat comes from, who produces it and if it is good for you.

Essentially it is about understanding the impact of your food choices on your health, the environment, and our economy. At Litfest we aim to help everyone to have a greater understanding of our food and hope that we can empower people to make more well-informed food choices.

Food at Ballymaloe Litfest, Co. Cork

Litfest’s new angle is sure to attract those who want to dig a little deeper and look beyond the glamour of food and drink as trending topics, to the grass roots of how they get on our plates or into our glasses. 


The Grainstore at Ballymaloe House is the home of the ‘Our Responsibility’ Symposium which runs from 9.30am to 5.30pm Saturday and Sunday. This is where the serious talking will be done.  A team of food writers and experts will present workshops focussing on Litfest’s new theme, with insights into how we can all become more responsible for our food literacy. Guest speakers on Saturday include Symposium Organiser, Ballymaloe Head Tutor and TV chef Rory O’Connell, UK investigative food journalist Joanna Blythman, Cookery Writer Claudia Roden, organic grower Alice Holden, and international food and travel writer David Prior, Contributing International Editor at Condé Nast Traveller, among others.  

On Sunday, you’ll find our own Ruth Healy of Urru Culinary Store and Peter Ward of Country Choice on the list of guest speakers, alongside London restaurateur and grocer Sally Clarke and London community cafe owner Leila McAlister.   

Tickets for the Symposium are priced at €90 for a whole day, €50 for a half day or €170 euro for the two day event. 


The Big Shed at Ballymaloe is once again home to the Fringe Festival at Litfest. All through the weekend, there will be food producers to meet and chat to, lovely food and drinks to be sampled and consumed, and music to keep your toes tapping! 

Lots of adult or child friendly activities plus arts, crafts, gardening, conversation and fun to be had.

Fringe Festival at Litfest, Ballymaloe House Co. Cork

Entry to the Fringe Festival is €5.00 euro per person or free if you are booking a main event ticket or symposium ticket.


Needless to say, we have some very bright sparks in the food world at Good Food Ireland, lighting up Litfest this year! This is who you can expect to see taking part over the weekend:

Peter Ward of Country Choice in Nenagh will be taking part in the morning sessions of the ‘Our Responsiblity’ Symposium at The Grainstore on Saturday 20th May.

Peter is a legend, a food icon, a voice for local producers and farmers. He calls himself a ‘shopkeeper’, but in reality he is perhaps one of the most influential people on the Irish food scene today. Peter's shop is a shrine for gourmets, and the pavement outside is well trodden by locals and visitors alike.

Peter Ward of Country Choice, Co. Tipperary

Ruth Healy of Urru Culinary, Peter Ward and other luminaries in the world of food shopping will take to the stage in a panel discussion called ‘The Great Grocers – Sourcing the Best Ingredients’ running on Saturday and Sunday at The Grainstore.

Suni Ghai, award winning chef of Pickle Restaurant in Dublin, will give a cookery demonstration hosted by Darina Allen, on Saturday 20th May at 9.30am at Ballymaloe Cookery School Theatre 1. Not to be missed, this man is a genius in merging the cuisine of his home region in India with the produce of Ireland. 

Justin Greene of Ballyvolane House and Bertha’s Revenge gin will be speaking on The Business of Food on Sunday at 12.30pm in the Carrigraun Room at The Grainstore. Justin has successfully created a boutique country house experience with glamping facilities, plus  a niche wedding venue, all created around the homegrown produce of the house’s walled garden and that of local producers.

Hazel Allen of Ballymaloe House will join Justin Green in the panel discussion on The Business of Food on Sunday at 12.30pm. Hazel is married to Myrtle’s second son Rory Allen.

The pair have successfully managed Ballymaloe House for many years. Hazel’s huge contribution as Managing Director of the house has cemented its reputation as a leading culinary accommodation now internationally recognised.

Ballymaloe Litfest 2017, Co. Cork

Share this content.

Join 100,000+ Inspired Food Lovers

Subscribe to our delicious newsletter and receive the latest news, experiences, offers & mouthwatering inspiration!

By subscribing you agree to Good Food Ireland Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy