The Great Gathering: New food and current affairs festival arrives this summer

Boutique festival will feature Rachel Allen, Fintan O’Toole, Blindboy Boatclub and more

A new boutique festival promising a mixture of food, drink and current affairs is coming to Co Wicklow this summer. The Great Gathering, taking place from June 10th-12th at Russborough House, Blessington, is aimed at "those who delight in food and drink but who also have a keen desire to delve deeper, seeking new knowledge, experiences and discussion".

Fuel Festivals are running the three-day event across eight stages, and guests will lead a weekend of delicacies, debates, panel discussions, workshops, demonstrations, culinary experiences, music, wellness, comedy and visual art.

Tickets range from €35 to €55 for adult day tickets, and €130 to €180 for weekend tickets. Children aged 4 and under have free entry.

Current affairs events will be held at the festival – in association with The Irish Times and Newstalk – pondering the ever-changing geo-political landscape of our world as well as infusing the festival flavour and excitement of live music and comedy from talented artists, performers, musicians and comedians.


Irish Times journalists and columnists will be well represented at the festival, including David McWilliams, Fintan O'Toole, Conor Pope, Pat Leahy, Hugh Linehan, Róisín Ingle, Una Mullally, Jennifer O'Connell and Sorcha Pollak.

Popular podcaster and author Blindboy Boatclub will also be speaking at the festival.

Among the chefs restaurateurs attending will be Yotam Ottolenghi, Rachel Allen, Russ Parsons, Tom Parker Bowles and Aoife McElwain. The Great Gathering, also in partnership with the Irish Food Writing Awards, offers an opportunity to sample foods while gaining the know-how to make better food decisions. There'll also be the chance to learn the tricks of the trade and the best kitchen hacks from some of Ireland's leading chefs over the weekend.

Food-wise, the three-day festival will see the best Co Wicklow has to offer. There will be sampling of foods from small, independent food traders including plant-based dishes with a focus on Irish ingredients.

A programme of live music is yet to be announced, but organisers promise a “long-awaited opportunity to let your hair down and soak up the vibrant and free-spirited atmosphere”.

For busy parents in search of full family fun, The Great Gathering’s Beit Size programme offers onsite facilities to suit all ages – slots are available in the onsite creche service for 2- 4-year-olds, the food and nature camp for 5- 11-year-olds, or the Young Adults programme for 12- 16-year-olds where young adults will learn the art of joining the conversation and having their voices heard.

Festival-goers will have the option to stay overnight in tents, campervan camping and boutique glamping, all with amenities onsite.

Early bird tickets are available now at