Countdown to Ballymaloe litfest

Some of the biggest names in food writing are converging on Ballymaloe House and Cookery School next weekend for the inaugural Literary Festival of Food and Wine. Have you booked your tickets?


There’s something for everyone at the Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine next weekend. You can spend €125 attending a three-hour demonstration by one of your culinary heroes - Madhur Jaffrey, Claudia Roden, David Thompson - take your pick. You can raise a glass with John Wilson and Tom Doorley as they riff on wine and words (€25), or find out what’s on the dessert menu at the White House (Bill Yosses, €25). Alice Waters is unable to travel to the event, but you can join doyennes of the food world Stephanie Alexander and Darina Allen for a discussion on The Grass Roots of the Revolution: Edible Education (€35), or try to get a word in edgeways as writers John McKenna and Matthew Fort discuss the evolution of food writing (€25).

In fact, you could easily part with a couple of hundred euro each day of the festival. But it’s good to see that in addition to the ticketed events there are fringe events and activities going on all weekend that won’t cost you a penny. The fringe festival, based in The Big Shed at Ballymaloe House, 4km from the Cookery School, has a full programme of events and music open to all. This is also where you’ll be able to shop for cookery books at Kenny’s bookshop, buy lunch or dinner, try some Irish artisan beers or participate in wine, sherry and whiskey tastings. There will be a children’s corner here to keep younger guests amused.

At the time of writing, there was still availability for almost all of the ticketed events, and single and multi-day tickets, giving access to all of the Grainstore events, are also on sale, from €50 for a single day student ticket up to €230 for a three-day adult admission. See