The weather is a-changing, and we all want to be outdoors more. Eating, preferably. With that in mind, we’ve got a round up of the Irish food festivals of 2016. Mark your iCalendars, people – you will not want to miss out.
Now in its ninth year, the West Waterford Festival of Food has become one of the most passionate food festivals that takes place annually. Following the success of last year’s festival which celebrated Generations in Irish Food, the theme this year will shine a spotlight on the up-and-coming faces in Irish food and also the trends that are set to dominate the culinary world for the next year. For three days Dungarvan and its surrounding countryside will welcome some of Ireland’s finest chefs, producers, stall-holders and all round lovers of fine food as well. Focusing on fresh new talent and innovators, the West Waterford Festival of Food showcases some of the best producers, chefs, restaurants and food businesses in Ireland.With over ninety events taking place from 15th to the 17th of April, this is a true family experience.
Sunday 24th of April will see local restaurants fight it out for the prestigious title of the 6th annual Kinsale Chowder Champion. This hugely popular event is the highlight of a two-day food festival running from 23-24 April, hosted by the town’s Good Food Circle, an association of local restaurants.The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off is the highlight of a two-day Family Festival that transforms the streets of Kinsale into a bustling street-food market with a carnival atmosphere. On Saturday 23rd April the town’s streets and quays will be taken over by the Taste the Wild Atlantic Way Street Food Festival, an open-air street market with food stalls, live music and family fun all around the town. Local businesses will offer samples and take-home food for under €5, in a fun and festive atmosphere, with something for all age groups.
If a fascination with the gliteratti of the Irish hospitality scene keeps you up at night, then you would be mad to miss out on a seat at the Irish Restaurant Awards, taking place on Monday 16th May at the DoubleTree restaurant at the Hilton Dublin. This will be the 8th annual awards since its humble beginnings back in 2009, where 70 restaurateurs gathered in Dublin for lunch to celebrate each other’s successes. In 2015 the Irish Restaurant Awards consisted of a roadshow of 4 regional events – Galway, Belfast, Limerick and Dublin – with over 2,000 guests in total. The final event was in the Doubletree by Hilton Dublin and saw 870+ guests sit down for a five course gala dinner cooked by 5 renowned chefs (previous award winners).
There is no greater foodie getogether on this island than the Kerrygold Ballymaloe Litfest of Food & Wine, taking place from 20-22nd May in Cork. This year Litfest will welcome the experts – award-winning food writers, famous chefs, food and environmental activists, avant-garde farmers big and small, food film makers and photographers, soil experts and bee-keepers, wine makers, distillers and brewers and policy makers. Speakers this year include Prue Leith, Yotam Ottolenghi and Francis Mallman to name a few. This is not to be missed.
There is no foodie event quite like Taste Of Dublin, taking place from the 16th – 19th of June. Transforming Dublin’s Iveagh Gardens, this event is an opportunity for event-goers to don their high heels and dine like money isn’t an issue. With demos from the country’s top chefs, and pop up restaurants from the most sought after dining rooms of the moment, book your tickets and enjoy a day living in food heaven.
Féile na Mara is a culinary celebration of Achill’s rich heritage with the sea and it showcases the bountiful harvest of the Atlantic Ocean.Taking place in July, it promises to showcase the best of West Coast seafood and a plethora of reasons to visit Achill.
Enniscorthy Rockin’ Food Festival 2016 will take place in Enniscorthy Co Wexford on 29th, 30th and 31st July. Enniscorthy Rock ’n’ Roll Town and Enniscorthy Food Festival have joined forces to bring you unique experiences and fabulous entertainment for families, Rock ’n’ Roll enthusiasts, Foodies and lovers of Irish Craft and Design. The Food Festival, with many exhibitors, will showcase amazing local produce and crafts from Wexford and beyond. Visitors can wash all this delicious food down with tasty, locally produced craft beer and cider in the beer marquee. Take part in the Tapas Trail incorporating sample dishes and drinks across a number of different style restaurants, bars & cafes.
Enniscorthy Rock ‘n’ Roll Town Festival is based on 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll, Rockabilly and Rhythm ‘n’ Blues music and attracts visitors to the town from all over Ireland and across Europe.
There is fun for all the family in the square with children’s carousel, face painting, balloon makers and an outdoor screened movie. Make a date in your calendar to visit Enniscorthy and experience everything this beautiful, historic town has to offer.
Taste Of Cavan returns on on 12th and 13th August. Almost 40,000 hungry revellers descended on Cavan Equestrian Centre to enjoy the fourth annual Taste of Cavan food festival in 2015, with 120 stalls of artisan food and craft producers from Cavan and the surrounding areas and lots of fun family entertainment. This year’s event promises to continue the extraordinary growth the festival has enjoyed year on year and looks set to have the most exciting programme yet!
August in Dalkey means Lobster as the annual Dalkey Lobster Fest takes place. Great food, great music and hopefully great sunshine make this a hugely popular community event, and one we would travel for. Keep and eye on their Facebook page for details of this year’s festival.
Taste of Donegal which has grown to become the biggest food festival in the north west over the last few years and this year is one not to be missed. Catherine Fulvio , Neven Maguire, Gary O’ Hanlon, Kevin Dundon, Paul Kelly “The Great Irish Bake Off”, Edward Hayden, Brian Mc Dermott “ The No Salt Chef”, Shane Smith Head Pastry Chef ,Fallon and Byrne Dublin and In-House Chef for Coole Swan Irish Liquor. Maire Dufficey from Bord Bia will also be on hand to share her expertise from the Irish food business. The event will take place 26-28th August 2016 in Donegal town.
The Theatre of Food at Electric Picnic from the 2nd-4th of September has become the place to see and experience food trends and culture in Ireland for hte coming year. Last year’s theme was Food for Life! which featured two classic demos from two family pairings; David & Stephen Flynn of The Happy Pear, and Domini & Peaches Kemp. The sibling sets demonstrated recipes to help you feel and look better to live to healthier lifestyle. This year’s theme has yet to be announced, but rest assured, it will be the golden ticket of the festival.
The Irish Craft Beer and Cider Festival returns to the RDS this September to tantalise our tastebuds and challenge us to buy more beers and ciders borne out of Irish breweries. We’ve tasted lots of new brews coming out of Ireland over the last few months, and are firm fans of Irish craft beer and cider. If you want to check out the latest news from planet brew, head to the RDS from 8th-10th September.
Waterford Harvest Festival will be taking place again from the 9th-11th of September, showcasing a a modern version of this traditional feast and celebratory period, with foodie fun and educational events for all and children’s entertainment across the city. WHF brings together, involves and educates people in the appreciation of good, clean, fair food, showcasing all the gastronomic delights the region has to offer.
Peeking just into October, Oktoberfest takes over Dublin’s Docklands to herald the biggest celebration of beer in the country. If you have ever fancied spending a night in a German beer hall, then this is your opportunity.
The 40th Kinsale Gourmet Festival takes place from the 7th-9th October. The event sold out last year, and rightly so – it offers a ticket to some of the best restaurants in the country. If you are a seafood lover, then this is the festival for you.
Food on the Edge is a two day symposium taking place in Galway on the 24th and 25th of October. It is for chefs and food enthusiasts all around the country who want to work towards creating a better global network. It is the coming together of chefs to listen, talk and debate on the future of food, both in Ireland and the planet.
The 10th Savour Kilkenny Festival takes over the city on the October bank holiday weekend. With a programme full of demos, tastings, kids events and workshops, this year’s programme promises to be the best yet.
Last year, Bite Festival featured 150 of the best Irish artisan food and drink producers selling, sampling and educating people about their unique products. As well as the exhibitors their visitors were able to take part in a variety of interactive activities such as demos, cooking classes, weird food challenges and wine and beer tastings. Bite is returning to the RDS this November to showcase the best of Artisan Ireland for 2016.
The third annual Irish Craft Cocktail Awards return this December, aiming to celebrate the skill, training, uniqueness and artistry of craft cocktail concoction in Ireland. One for the amateur mixologists amongst us!