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2016 Burren Slow Food Festival

At the end of May 2016, the 10th Burren Slow Food Festival took place in Lisdoonvarna. And what a great festival it was!

For some, this was the best of all the highlights of the weekend – the Champagne Picnic under the Cliffs of Moher. Skipper Liam O’Brien from Doolin Ferry was a wonderful and knowledgable host who steered the Queen of Aran safely all the way down the Cliffs of Moher, until we rounded Hags Head, and back up again past “Harry’s Cave” (where part of Harry Potter was filmed), and into the cove of Goats Island. Due to the very calm and warm weather, we were able to get very close to the Stack with all the wild seabirds. It was definitely a festival launch with a bang!

The same evening, Leslie Williams hosted a Whiskey & Chocolate Tasting in the Burren Storehouse. Four whiskeys from the Midleton Distillery (Jameson) in County Cork were tasted and paired with extraordinary artisan chocolates from Wilkies and Hazelnut Mountain Chocolates.

On Saturday, the Farmers’ Market started off the festival, and Dr. Brendan Dunford from Burrenbeo and BurrenLIFE launched it officially with a talk on 6,000 years of Slow Food in the Burren.

We had a lot of wonderful speakers and presenters sharing with us the secrets of their trade, and in the afternoon, the very popular Oyster, Wine & Stout Pairing took place. Oysters from five different locations around Ireland were tasted, and the oyster farmers were there to give an insight into their world.

As usual, we had on the Burren Slow Food Banquet which totally sold out. It was held in the fantastic new venue, the Burren Storehouse, next to the Roadside Tavern, and everybody enjoyed the fantastic food cooked by Viv Kelly from Kieran’s Kitchen at the Roadside Tavern, and Peter Jackson from the Armada Hotel.

2015 Burren Slow Food Festival

2014 Burren Slow Food Festival

On the weekend of 23rd to 25th May, the Burren Slow Food Festival took again place in Lisdoonvarna. The overall theme this year was SEAWEED, with tastings, talks and even foraging walks in the area. An illustrious line-up of speakers explored the health properties of this valuable natural source of minerals, and there were quite a few cookery demos to inspire the master chef in everybody in the audience. As the previous eight years, there was an array of producers from the area on the farmers market, and a Burren Lamb Barbecue Banquet. Darina Allen was the inspirational speaker that year.

2013 Burren Slow Food Festival

On the weekend of the 17 to 19 May, the seventh Burren Slow Food Festival took place in Lisdoonvarna again. A wide range of mostly locally produced ware was on for sale as well as delicacies like cakes, savoury muffins, relishes, breads and much more. For the market alone it would have been worth your while coming to the festival!

On Sunday, we saw the re-launch of Cyril and Kit O’Ceirin’s book “Wild and Free”, a book which, 35 years ago, was among the first in Ireland to combine recipes based on foraging in Ireland and folklore. The crowds almost tore the books out of Kit’s hands!

Other highlights were talks for example by Eileen Lynch about the archaeological dig at a shell midden in Fanore, cookery demos by JP McMahon and Jess Murphy from Galway, Peter Jackson from Hotel Doolin, and Evan Doyle from Brooklodge in Co. Wicklow as well as from nutritionist Colette McMahon showing families how to make smoothies & fast Slow Food.

If people had tasted and eaten enough of the good food on offer, they could go on walks through the ancient “food” landscape of the Burren (guided by Tony Kirby from Heart of Burren Walks) or on another walk through the hidden world of the gorges of Lisdoonvarna.

For the kids, there were cookery classes and face painting available which made some of the little ones very happy!

2012 Burren Slow Food Festival

This year’s highlights:

A tasting in the Roadside Tavern where the Burren Brewery beers (Red Ale, Black Stout and Gold Lager) were waiting to be discovered. Traditional music session afterwards.

Cookery demos by Aidan McGrath from the Wild Honey Inn, Donal Skehan, Inchiquinn House Cookery School, and others.

A walk & delicious tea on the farm of “Father Ted’s” house in the heart of the Burren. (For those of you who are not living in Ireland: “Father Ted” is a well loved programme from the 1990 about three priests fallen from grace who were banned onto fictitious Craggy Island. It was filmed in North Clare and on this farm and house.)

Very interesting talks under the header of Sustainable Food – Sustainable Tourism. Speakers will be Frank Fleming (Responsible Irish Fishing), John Hackett from BIM (Board Iascaigh Mhara, the Irish Sea Fisheries Board), Stefan Bergleiter (CEO of Naturland, association of organic certification in Germany), Michael & Patricia Murphy who are fishing wild salmon in the River Nore, and Mary Mulvey from Ecotourism Ireland. The talks will be chaired by John & Sally McKenna (Bridgestone Guide).

As always, there was a farmers market where people could stock up on locally produced delicacies.