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The Ticket festival guide: Food festivals

The Ticket selects the best out-and-about events of the summer, from music and arts to kids’ stuff and family outings, from summer camps and summer schools to freebies and food events

LISTOWEL FOOD FAIR
Listowel Co. Kerry, June 18th-21st, listowelfoodfair.ie
 
Expect foraging trips, barbecues, and the unveiling of a plaque to local woman Kathy Buckley who cooked for three US presidents in the White House. Plus demos, kids’ food workshops, the All Ireland Craft Beer Championships, a farmer’s market and Gourmet Celebration Dinner with drinks reception and seven-course tasting menu with wine (€70). 
 
 
BIA LOVER FESTIVAL OF FOOD 
Athenry, Co Galway, June 19th-21st, bialover.ie
 
Market with 70-plus local producers including Foods of Athenry, Man of Aran confectionary and Burren Gold cheese. Cookery competitions, tastings and talks, plus the Connaught/ Ulster heat of RTÉ’s Taste of Success competition will be filmed on the 21st. Demos from TV3’s Chef Adrian, JP McMahon and others;  beer tastings and festival menus. 
 
 
WEXFORD STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL 
Enniscorthy, Co Wexford, June 24th to 28th, strawberryfest.ie 
 
Includes a Strawberry Ball with four-course dinner of Wexford produce, with a search for the Strawberry Queen. There are cooking demos with Neven Maguire, plus A Taste of Wexford Strawberries cooking competition; the annual All-Ireland Farmer’s Market competition, teddy bear’s picnic, plus Wexford strawberries to sample everywhere.
 
FEILE BIA NA MARA
Achill Island, Co Mayo, July 4th - August 3rd, feilebianamara.ie
 
Kicking off with a gala dinner in The Chalet Restaurant with 15 types of fish; movies on the beach, three local farmers markets each week, Purteen Harbour festival displays catch from local 
fishermen (hoping to beat last year’s 57 varieties), trad music with oysters and boxty nightly in local pubs, seaweed safaris.
 
KILMORE QUAY SEAFOOD FESTIVAL
Kilmore Co Wexford, July 9th to 12th, kilmorequayseafood-festival.com
 
A grand festival parade, live music, art and photography plus large seafood platters for ¤12 daily in the Stella Maris Centre. There’s a big fish market, with Derry Clarke doing cooking demos, sea kayaking, sunset yoga, a yacht race, 5km race, food markets and a céilí mor on the quay on Sunday.
 
 
ENNISCRONE BLACK PIG FESTIVAL 
Enniscrone, Co Sligo, July 23rd-27th, enniscrone.ie/black_pig_festival
 
This festival honours the legend of a giant black pig that rose from the sea to terrorise Enniscrone before meeting a gristly end in the Sligo town. Commemorated with a large sculpture, and this festival, which includes live music, a seafood restaurant crawl, pig races, a shark and pig BBQ and a seaweed festival. The pig would be proud. 
 
 
A TASTE OF DONEGAL 
Donegal town, August 28th-30th atasteofdonegal.com
 
A three-day food festival on the pier in Donegal town, with 100-plus food and drink stalls, tastings, cooking demos by Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, and more. Masterclasses in cheese-, cocktail-making and cooking with seaweed; a cookery competition, hotelier’s cook-off and live music and entertainment. Entry €5, kids €2, weekend €12.
 
 
WESTPORT FOOD FESTIVAL
Westport, Co Mayo, September 4th-6th westportfoodfestival.ie
 
A food village with demos from chefs, bakers and mixologists. Georgina Campbell will speak at the Food Forum on ‘Food With A Conscience’. There’s a fringe village with artisan market, pig on a spit and live music; there are food tours, including a kayak trail with a picnic, a bike buffet, mushroom foraging, pizza-making for kids and a secret supper on Sunday night.
 
A TASTE OF WEST CORK 
Skibbereen, Co Cork, Sept 4th-13th, atasteofwestcork.com
 
Centred in Skibereen, this jam-packed festival includes a foodie table quiz (€40 for four), country markets in Bantry, Skibbereen, Schull, and Sheeps Head, plus West Cork Banquet with prosecco reception (€35). Derry Clarke has a BBQ on Sherkin Island; a cocktail party in Baltimore (€25); talks, tasting and farm visits, walking tours, demos, workshops.
 
 
GALWAY OYSTER FESTIVALS 
Clarinbridge, Co Galway, September 11th to 13th, clarenbridge.com and Galway city, Sept 24th-27th, galwayoysterfestival.com
 
First up is Clarinbridge, which has oyster opening and eating competitions, live music and  an Oyster Gala Celebration (€72) serving natural oysters and seafood chowder. Ten days later, a marquee in Spanish Arch hosts the National and World Oyster Opening Championships. There’ll be an Oyster Parade, a masquerade mardi gras (tickets €100) with dinner, drinks and dancing, plus demos, workshops, seafood trail. 
 
 
MIDLETON FOOD FESTIVAL
Midleton, Co Cork, September 13th, midletonfoodfestival.ie
 
A busy day in this foodie haven: Kevin Ahern of Sage restaurant will lead cookery demos; wine and coffee tastings; whiskey tasting in Jameson Experience. Plus the famous Midleton Farmer’s Market.