Foodies north and south of Border in for a long-table lunch treat

Food File: Féile festival’s tasty food offerings from Kevin Thornton, and the Happy Pear’s new online skin food course

Long-table dinners and lunches are nothing new, bringing communal dining to locations from farmyards to orchards, to greenhouses, to one of Cork city's main thoroughfares. But the Boxty Without Borders lunch which will take place on Belcoo bridge on Sunday, September 15th, is unique and promises to be an amazing spectacle.

The bridge, which connects Blacklion in Co Cavan with Belcoo in Co Fermanagh, will see 150 diners seated for a multi-course local food lunch, after which a producers' market will be set up and local musicians will entertain the crowd. A sturdy gazebo tent will protect the diners if the weather does not co-operate.

The event is being organised by the Fáilte Ireland Food Champions, a collective of 17 food and hospitality professionals, and is part of the countrywide Taste the Island initiative.

Lunch will kick off with a gin punch aperitif from Fermanagh's Boatyard Distillery, made with blackthorn honey, Armagh apple juice, gorse sherbet and wild blackberry bitters, and gin, of course. The menu features Carlingford oysters, Lough Neagh eel, ham hock terrine made with Rigney's Farm pork, followed by short rib of beef fire-pit cooked by chef Gearoid Lynch and served with boxty made with potatoes from both sides of the Border. Tickets for lunch, including Armagh cider and Jack Smyth beers, cost €60 and can be booked online

Féile festival serving up a special treat for foodies

Chef, photographer and artist Kevin Thornton is personally selecting the food and drink offering that will be available to Féile festival-goers in Thurles on September 20th and 21st. The Food for Life space promises to offer "a departure from the normal food areas at festivals".

Vendors who have made the cut include Belfast’s Bia Rebel Ramen; La La Poutine with their Canadian treat of chips, cheese curds and gravy; healthy options from Cork’s My Goodness Food; Dublin Pizza Company’s Neapolitan bases topped with organic ingredients and Irish cheeses, and Shaka Poké’s rice, vegetable and fruit bowls with toppings.

On September 19th to 22nd, the food action moves north, with the Armagh Food & Cider Festival offering a really nicely curated selection of masterclasses, dining events, tastings, markets, film screenings and tours across the city and county. The One Giant Step – G-Astronomy Culinary Evening in Armagh Planetarium sounds intriguing. Taking place on Saturday, September 21st (7.30pm-midnight, £75), it includes a "cosmically inspired" six-course dinner with cocktails and wines and lots of otherworldly surprises. Crannagael House in Ardress will host several events in its teepees, including a wine versus cider dinner, and a Bramley apple banquet. The full programme of events is at

Happy Pear teams up with Skin Nerd for online skin course

Stephen and David Flynn of The Happy Pear health food company and cafes have teamed up with facialist and skin tutor Jennifer Rock of The Skin Nerd, and GP Dr Gemma Newman to devise a four-week online course that aims to improve the skin through diet.

The Happy Skin is a targeted programme that includes a printable recipe booklet, skincare advice, an online community and weekly live Q&A sessions. It joins their existing Happy Heart, Happy Gut and Ultimate Vegan Cooking courses, and costs €99. The launch date is September 16th and you can check it out and see full details of what is covered, week by week, at

Artisan food market comes to Cafe en Seine

Dublin bar and restaurant Cafe en Seine’s French-inspired street garden will be transformed into an artisan food market on Saturday, September 28th (noon to 6pm). Shoppers will be able to fill their baskets with fresh fish and oysters, wine and cheese, cakes and desserts, and preserves and condiments, before enjoying a snack from a variety of food stalls, and a glass of wine or a cocktail from the bar menu.

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