265 food events in West Cork: what takes your fancy?

Ahead of the Taste of West Cork Food Festival, KATE RYAN takes a look at some of the highlights of the event
265 food events in West Cork: what takes your fancy?
IT’S A WONDERFUL WORLD; Local children Juliette Field (9), Anna Field (7), Catherine Field (10) and Robbie Walsh (8) enjoying the launch of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival at Baltimore, West Cork.  Pic: Brian Lougheed

A TASTE of West Cork Food Festival is back!

Running from September 6 to 15 across 50 towns and villages and eight islands from Bandon to Beara, this year’s programme is packed with a staggering 265 events across 10 days of absolute food heaven!

There are many facets to this year’s festival; events that helps us question how to grow our food and eat more sustainably, and events that take you on a journey of discovery to answer the most topical of food questions, ‘Where does our food come from?’

While the 2018 festival celebrated the special relationship between Ireland and the US, in 2019 the focus is on the long-standing historical ties between the peoples of two nations on opposite sides of the world: Ireland and Australia.

A contingent of four of Australia’s top chefs, representing the people, culture and food of its indigenous people, will be fully immersed in the West Cork food experience.

Throughout the ten festival days, twins Luke and Samuel Bourke, and their assistants David Gray and Joshua Moore, will be taking part in cookery demonstrations, talks and specially prepared dinners where attendees will be introduced to traditional ‘bush tucker’ and its significance to the indigenous cultural heritage.

Richard Andrews, (left) the Australian Ambassador to Ireland; Fiona Field, (2nd left), manager of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival; Tim Lucey, CEO, Cork County Council and Helen Collins, chair of a Taste of West Cork Food Festival at the launch of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival.Pic: Brian Lougheed
Richard Andrews, (left) the Australian Ambassador to Ireland; Fiona Field, (2nd left), manager of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival; Tim Lucey, CEO, Cork County Council and Helen Collins, chair of a Taste of West Cork Food Festival at the launch of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival.Pic: Brian Lougheed

Just as West Cork food is the surest signpost to understanding Irish culture, history and people, the same can be said of the traditional foods of Australia. At the launch of the programme, on a sunny evening in Baltimore in July, keynote speaker, Australian Ambassador to Ireland His Excellency Richard Andrews, said: “This festival highlights the love and knowledge the people of West Cork have for their own place, their pride in the quality of the fruits it bears, and their commitment to managing their land sustainably for the future.

“These are values Australia’s Aboriginal people have held for over 60,000 years, and of which Australians today remain proud.”

In the 16 years since the festival’s inception, this is the most relevant, topical and exciting programme to be produced. There are so many events to choose from, how does one decide what to go to?

To help guide you, I have selected three events per day, 30 in total, to help you decide: one free (or nearly free) event, one mid-priced event and one splash-the-cash event.

Keep an eye out for free copies of the programme distributed throughout the county, or visit www.atasteofwestcork.com where the programme can be downloaded. And remember, booking in advance is essential as places book up fast!

Friday, September 6

FREE: A Pair of Twins, Fields of Skibbereen Supervalu, 11am to 1pm, The Happy Pear twins, Dave and Stephen Flynn, pair up with visiting Indigenous Australian guest chefs, Luke and Samuel Bourke for in-store cookery demonstrations and tastings alongside food producers and suppliers.

MID PRICE: Singing For Your Supper, Levis Corner House, Ballydehob, 7pm, €45pp. Supper prepared by award-winning Irish chef, Michael Quinn. Step up to the mic and sing with gusto and you might just earn your dinner for free! Host and compere for the night is Cork food writer Joe McNamee.

SPLASH: Minke Gin School, Clonakilty Distillery, 6pm to 9:30pm, €90pp. A brilliant experience for gin lovers! Learn how to balance botanicals to make the perfect gin, and then design your own recipe and make it using a mini gin kettle. Enjoy lashings of Minke G&T’s along the way!

Saturday September 7

FREE: West Cork Forum, Baltimore Sailing Club, 2:30-4:30pm This years’ conference focuses on food safety, food justice, sustainability and climate change with an eminent panel of speakers.

MID PRICE: Gourmet Barbeque, Fundraiser for Marymount Hospice, Emmet Hotel, Clonakilty, 7pm, €20pp. Earlier on this year, Marie O’Keeffe, hotelier and chef of Emmet Hotel, lost her long battle with cancer. This event, remembering Marie’s love of food and endless championing of local West Cork producers, promises to be a supremely tasty affair whilst raising fund for the sterling work of Marymount Hospice.

SPLASH: Traditional Fish Smoking — a Masterclass with Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery, near Skibbereen, 10am, €150pp inc lunch. Sally Barnes was one of the early pioneers of the West Cork food movement, and has a formidable reputation as one of our finest food producers. This rare opportunity to learn from Sally and watch a master craftsperson at work is not to be missed.

Sunday September 8

FREE: The Secret Garden, The Sutherland Centre, Skibbereen, 12pm to 2pm. Visit a true secret garden and learn about old Irish heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables from the 18 th to 20 th Century that our ancestors depended on.

MID PRICE: Mystery ‘Meals on Wheels’, Meet in Clonakilty Town Centre, 4pm, €35pp. Bring your bike and your appetite and come on a mystery bike tour around Clonakilty to dine on a five course meal hosted at five different mystery locations.

SPLASH: From the Land, Sea & Shore, The Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, 6:30pm, €70 (dinner) €160 (forage, kayak, workshop and dinner). No doubt this will be an incredible feasting event with resident Head Chef, Eddie Attwell, joining forces with visiting Indigenous Australian Chefs, Luke & Samuel Bourke and their assistants, David Gray and Joshua Moore. Extend the experience by including a day of foraging, kayaking and workshopping for the ingredients of the dinner later.

Monday September 9

NEARLY FREE: Historical Bantry Town Walk, Meet at Tourist Office, 11am, €2pp. A fascinating historical walking food tour of Bantry with Hazel Vickery. Learn about the colourful history of this vibrant market town.

MID PRICE: Famine to Feast: West Cork’s Food Story, Skibbereen Heritage Centre, 10am to 5pm, €75pp inc bus and lunch Skibbereen was one of the worst hit of West Cork towns during An Gorta Mhór, and yet today it is the beating heart of the regions incredible food scene. Learn about the transition from Famine to Feast.

SPLASH: Foraging, Fishing & Feasting, Meet at The Church Restaurant, Skibbereen, 10am to 10pm, €250pp. One for the deep-pocketed and truly curious! Spend the day in the company of Ahmet Dede, head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant The Mews in Baltimore, Luke & Samuel Bourke, David Gray and Joshua Moore as they take you on a tour de force of a food experience.

Visit Gubbeen Farm to learn about pork, cheese and charcuterie; visit a honey farm, a local craft brewery, an organic garden experience at Glebe Gardens with lunch. Then head off on a sea excursion with professional foragers; pull up lobster pots, mussels, catch shrimp, seaweed and more.

Back on shore, warm up with West Cork gin and whiskey, West Cork cheeses and then work with your four chefs to create a spectacular dinner from everything you have foraged, collected and learned during the day, complete with exceptional Australian wines! PHEW!

Tuesday September 10

FREE: The Rosscarbery Food Story, Pilgrims, Rosscarbery, Donations collected for West Cork Animal Welfare, tickets assigned by luck of the draw. Time spent in the company of Pilgrim’s head chef Mark Jennings is time always well spent. On this walking tour of Rosscarbery’s laneways, Mark will highlight some of his favourite foods to forage and how that translates into the seasonal and hyper-local menu’s that Pilgrim’s is famous for.

MID PRICE: Dining in the Dark, Bia Restaurant, Bantry, 7-m, €45pp. Visiting US chef Tom Anacone of Craig’s Café in Quincy, returns to the festival for a second year to dish up a dinner for all your senses — except your sight! Reducing your reliance on one sense enhances your others, in this case your sense of taste: flavour and texture.

SPLASH: Tunnel to Table, Glensallagh Gardens, Ballydehob, 10:30am to 4pm, €150pp. Spend the day in the company of Michelin starred chef Rob Krawczyk of The Chestnut, Ballydehob, roaming the beautiful and Eurotoque winning organic gardens of Glansallagh. Included in this day of escape in a gorgeous location is lunch in the Tractor Shed followed by a workshop with Rob demonstrating flavoured oils and infusions.

Wednesday September 11

FREE: Ummera Smokehouse, Inchybridge, Timoleague, 11am. Visit Ummera Smokehouse and meet Anthony Cresswell and his team for a tour of the facility where they have been curing and smoking fish, chicken, bacon and duck for nearly 40 years. The lands include a wetland system and vermicomposting enhancing their commitment to sustainability.

MID PRICE: Cruise to Inish Beg Island, depart from Baltimore Pier, 1:30pm to 5pm, €25pp. Take a gentle cruise up the Ilen River to the stately country manor and estate of Inish Beg. Enjoy a tour of the gardens followed by afternoon tea served on the lawn.

SPLASH: Cabáiste, Pilgrims, Rosscarbery, 7pm, €85pp. A collaboration between Café Paradiso head chef Eneko Lopez and Mark Jennings of Pilgrims for a six-course vegetarian menu paired with a selection of natural wines.

Thursday September 12

FREE: From Crop to Cup, Java Republic Barista Academy, Bandon, 7pm. Learn about the journey of coffee beans from crop to cup; the story of coffee growers and taste ethically sourced coffee from around the world and roasted in Ireland.

MID PRICE: Pop-Up Vegan Supper, Kilbronogue House, Schull, 7pm, €35pp. An opportunity to experience the passion that UK-based chef and cookbook author, Jackie Walls, has for producing nutritious and delicious plant-based foods.

SPLASH: Seafood and Seashore, Dunmore House Hotel, Clonakilty, 7pm, €75 (inc wine) A five-course celebration of seafood and seashore from multi-award winning chef, Kevin Ahern of Sage Restaurant Midleton. Armed with his hyper-local ethos, this will be a showcase of the very best of West Cork food, paired with wines from the brilliant le Caveau.

Friday September 13

FREE: Live Life Well, Skibbereen Community School, 10am-2pm. A food and lifestyle conference aimed at young students, complete with chef cookery demonstrations, food bloggers and entrepreneurs. Ideal for young students looking to develop a career in the food industry, or interested in a food and healthy lifestyle.

MID PRICE: Not Just For Breakfast, Clonakilty Black Pudding HQ, Clonakilty, 4pm to 7pm, €20pp. Not to be missed! The long-awaited opening of the Clonakilty Black Pudding Visitors Experience housed inside the new, state of the art, Headquarters on Western Road. I have had a sneak peak – it’s going to be incredible! Take the tour, learn the story of Clonakilty Black Pudding, see how it’s made and enjoy tastings of a wide range of their famous meaty delights!

SPLASH: Wild Mushrooms, Beara Coast Hotel, Castletownbere, 11am to 5:15pm, €75 (forage only) €95 (with dinner). Spend the day foraging for autumnal mushrooms on the wild Beara Peninsula with expert forager Bill O’Dea. Talks, lunch and a visit to Glengarriff Woods for the forage. Option to return to the Beara Coast Hotel and dine on a delicious fungi-focused dinner prepared by their award-winning head chef, Mark Johnston, using the mushrooms foraged during the day.

Richard Andrews, the Australian Ambassador to Ireland with Fiona Field, (left), manager of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival and Helen Collins, chair of the Taste of West Cork Food Festival at the launch of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival.Pic: Brian Lougheed
Richard Andrews, the Australian Ambassador to Ireland with Fiona Field, (left), manager of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival and Helen Collins, chair of the Taste of West Cork Food Festival at the launch of A Taste of West Cork Food Festival.Pic: Brian Lougheed

Saturday September 14

NEARLY FREE: Super Seaweed, The Heron Gallery, Ahakista, 2:30pm, €5 donated to Protect Bantry Kelp Forest Campaign. Spend the day with seaweed supremo Dr Prannie Rattigan and Bantry-based seaweed producers to learn about the magical properties of seaweed for food, nutrition, skincare and more while learning how to harness these properties. A fundraiser to help with the ongoing campaign against mechanical kelp harvesting in Bantry Bay, a delicate marine eco-environment.

MID PRICE: Three Knife Makers, Connolly’s of Leap, Leap, 2pm to 4pm, €25pp. A unique opportunity to spend some time in the company of three of Ireland’s leading cutlers to talk about their backgrounds, the processes and passion for creating chefs knives. Rory Connor, Fingal Ferguson and Sam Gleeson from “Little Fox” will chat, give demonstrations and dispatch tips and tricks.

SPLASH: Eat Like a Girl, Riverside Café, Skibbereen, 7:30pm, €45pp. Niamh Shields, a native of Dungarvan, Waterford, has made a successful career in food and travel writing, broadcaster and author in London. Her book, Comfort & Spice showcased her love of big flavours and is currently working on a cookbook that is only about bacon! A tasty and fun filled event!

Sunday September 15

FREE: Skibbereen Sunday Street Market Spectacular, Main Street, Skibbereen, 12-4pm. The grand finale to the festival is the annual Street Market! Skibbereen town is pedestrianised for a day of pure, unadulterated deliciousness with food vendors and traders, music and street entertainment all day long. All are welcome!

MID PRICE: Island Adventure — A Taste of West Cork Fastnet Experience, Cape Clear Ferries, Baltimore, 11am to 5:45pm, from €40pp. Take a scenic boat trip round Roaring Water Bay, stopping at Cape Clear Island for lunch, before re-boarding and taking to the seas out to the iconic Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, famously known as the Teardrop of Ireland for being the last landmark for immigrants leaving Ireland for the US. Whale and Dolphin sighting always a possibility.

SPLASH: A Passage to India, Kalbos Café, North Street, Skibbereen, 7pm, €TBC Gautham Iyer, of Iyer’s in Cork city, returns to West Cork to share a multi-course tasting menu of his incredible Southern Indian vegetarian food. Gautham’s food is infused with Ayurvedic principles, where food is seen as life giving and life enhancing. Packed with flavour, this will be a feast for mind, body and spirit.

www.atasteofwestcork.com

With a mind-boggling array of events taking place from September 6 to 15 during A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, it’s difficult to know what to do, where to go and what you can afford. Here KATE RYAN of Flavour.ie gives us some of her top picks for this year’s event to suit every budget

With more than 265 events taking place from September 6 to 15 it's difficult to know what to do, where to go and what you can afford. Here Kate Ryan, Flavour.ie gives us some of her top picks for this year's A Taste of West Cork Food Festival.

A Taste of West Cork Food Festival is back! Running from September 6 to 15 across 50 towns and villages and 8 islands from Bandon to Beara, this years’ programme is packed with a staggering 265 events across 10 days of absolute food heaven!

There are many facets to this years’ festival; events that helps us question how to grow our food and eat more sustainably, and events that take you on a journey of discovery to answer the most topical of food questions, “Where does our food come from?” Where the 2018 Festival celebrated the special relationship between Ireland and the US, in 2019 the focus is on the long-standing historical ties between the peoples of two nations on opposite sides of the world: Ireland and Australia.

A contingent of four of Australia’s top chefs, representing the people, culture and food of Australia’s Indigenous people, will be fully immersed in the West Cork food experience. Throughout the ten festival days, twins Luke & Samuel Bourke, and their assistants David Gray and Joshua Moore, will be taking part in cookery demonstrations, talks and specially prepared dinners where attendees will be introduced to traditional “bush tucker” and its significance to the Indigenous cultural heritage.

Just as West Cork food is the surest signpost to understanding Irish culture, history and people, the same can be said of the traditional foods of Australia. At the launch of the programme on a sunny evening in Baltimore in July, key note speaker, Australian Ambassador to Ireland His Excellency Richard Andrews, said: “This festival highlights the love and knowledge the people of West Cork have for their own place, their pride in the quality of the fruits it bears, and their commitment to managing their land sustainably for the future. These are values Australia’s Aboriginal people have held for over 60,000 years, and of which Australians today remain proud.” 

In the 16 years since the Festival’s inception, this is the most relevant, topical and exciting programme to be produced. There are so many events to choose from, how does one decide what to go to? To help guide you, I have selected three events per day, thirty in total, to help you decide: one free (or nearly free) event, one mid-priced event and one splash-the-cash event.

Keep an eye out for free copies of the programme distributed throughout the county, or visit www.atasteofwestcork.com where the programme can be downloaded. And remember, booking in advance is essential as places book up fast!

Friday September 6th

FREE: A Pair of Twins, Fields of Skibbereen Supervalu, 11-1pm, The Happy Pear twins, Dave and Stephen Flynn, pair up with visiting Indigenous Australian guest chefs, Luke & Samuel Bourke for in-store cookery demonstrations and tastings alongside food producers and suppliers.

MID PRICE: Singing For Your Supper, Levis Corner House, Ballydehob, 7pm, €45pp Supper prepared by award-winning Irish chef, Michael Quinn. Step up to the mic and sing with gusto and you might just earn your dinner for free! Host and compere for the night is Cork food writer Joe McNamee.

SPLASH: Minke Gin School, Clonakilty Distillery, 6-9:30pm, €90pp. A brilliant experience for gin lovers! Learn how to balance botanicals to make the perfect gin, and then design your own recipe and make it using a mini gin kettle. Enjoy lashings of Minke G&T’s along the way!

Saturday September 7

FREE: West Cork Forum, Baltimore Sailing Club, 2:30-4:30pm This years’ conference focuses on food safety, food justice, sustainability and climate change with an eminent panel of speakers.

MID PRICE: Gourmet Barbeque, Fundraiser for Marymount Hospice, Emmet Hotel, Clonakilty, 7pm, €20pp. Earlier on this year, Marie O’Keeffe, hotelier and chef of Emmet Hotel, lost her long battle with cancer. This event, remembering Marie’s love of food and endless championing of local West Cork producers, promises to be a supremely tasty affair whilst raising fund for the sterling work of Marymount Hospice.

SPLASH: Traditional Fish Smoking – a Masterclass with Sally Barnes, Woodcock Smokery, near Skibbereen, 10am, €150pp inc lunch. Sally Barnes was one of the early pioneers of the West Cork food movement, and has a formidable reputation as one of our finest food producers. This rare opportunity to learn from Sally and watch a master craftsperson at work is not to be missed.

Sunday September 8

FREE: The Secret Garden, The Sutherland Centre, Skibbereen, 12pm-2pm. Visit a true secret garden and learn about old Irish heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables from the 18 th to 20 th Century that our ancestors depended on.

MID PRICE: Mystery ‘Meals on Wheels’, Meet in Clonakilty Town Centre, 4pm, €35pp. Bring your bike and your appetite and come on a mystery bike tour around Clonakilty to dine on a five course meal hosted at five different mystery locations.

SPLASH: From the Land, Sea & Shore, The Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, 6:30pm, €70 (dinner) €160 (forage, kayak, workshop and dinner). No doubt this will be an incredible feasting event with resident Head Chef, Eddie Attwell, joining forces with visiting Indigenous Australian Chefs, Luke & Samuel Bourke and their assistants, David Gray and Joshua Moore. Extend the experience by including a day of foraging, kayaking and workshopping for the ingredients of the dinner later.

Monday September 9

NEARLY FREE: Historical Bantry Town Walk, Meet at Tourist Office, 11am, €2pp. A fascinating historical walking food tour of Bantry with Hazel Vickery. Learn about the colourful history of this vibrant market town.

MID PRICE: Famine to Feast: West Cork’s Food Story, Skibbereen Heritage Centre, 10-5pm, €75pp inc bus and lunch Skibbereen was one of the worst hit of West Cork towns during An Gorta Mhór, and yet today it is the beating heart of the regions incredible food scene. Learn about the transition from Famine to Feast.

SPLASH: Foraging, Fishing & Feasting, Meet at The Church Restaurant, Skibbereen, 10am-10pm, €250pp. One for the deep-pocketed and truly curious! Spend the day in the company of Ahmet Dede, head chef of Michelin-starred restaurant The Mews in Baltimore, Luke & Samuel Bourke, David Gray and Joshua Moore as they take you on a tour de force of a food experience. Visit Gubbeen Farm to learn about pork, cheese and charcuterie; visit a honey farm, a local craft brewery, an organic garden experience at Glebe Gardens with lunch. Then head off on a sea excursion with professional foragers; pull up lobster pots, mussels, catch shrimp, seaweed and more. Back on shore, warm up with West Cork gin and whiskey, West Cork cheeses and then work with your four chefs to create a spectacular dinner from everything you have foraged, collected and learned during the day, complete with exceptional Australian wines! PHEW!

Tuesday September 10

FREE: The Rosscarbery Food Story, Pilgrims, Rosscarbery, Donations collected for West Cork Animal Welfare, tickets assigned by luck of the draw. Time spent in the company of Pilgrim’s head chef Mark Jennings is time always well spent. On this walking tour of Rosscarbery’s laneways, Mark will highlight some of his favourite foods to forage and how that translates into the seasonal and hyper-local menu’s that Pilgrim’s is famous for.

MID PRICE: Dining in the Dark, Bia Restaurant, Bantry, 7-m, €45pp. Visiting US chef Tom Anacone of Craig’s Café in Quincy, returns to the festival for a second year to dish up a dinner for all your senses – except your sight! Reducing your reliance on one sense enhances your others, in this case your sense of taste: flavour and texture.

SPLASH: Tunnel to Table, Glensallagh Gardens, Ballydehob, 10:30am – 4pm, €150pp. Spend the day in the company of Michelin starred chef Rob Krawczyk of The Chestnut, Ballydehob, roaming the beautiful and Eurotoque winning organic gardens of Glansallagh. Included in this day of escape in a gorgeous location is lunch in the Tractor Shed followed by a workshop with Rob demonstrating flavoured oils and infusions.

Wednesday September 11

FREE: Ummera Smokehouse, Inchybridge, Timoleague, 11am. Visit Ummera Smokehouse and meet Anthony Cresswell and his team for a tour of the facility where they have been curing and smoking fish, chicken, bacon and duck for nearly 40 years. The lands include a wetland system and vermicomposting enhancing their commitment to sustainability.

MID PRICE: Cruise to Inish Beg Island, depart from Baltimore Pier, 1:30pm – 5pm, €25pp. Take a gentle cruise up the Ilen River to the stately country manor and estate of Inish Beg. Enjoy a tour of the gardens followed by afternoon tea served on the lawn.

SPLASH: Cabáiste, Pilgrims, Rosscarbery, 7pm, €85pp. A collaboration between Café Paradiso head chef Eneko Lopez and Mark Jennings of Pilgrims for a six-course vegetarian menu paired with a selection of natural wines.

Thursday September 12

FREE: From Crop to Cup, Java Republic Barista Academy, Bandon, 7pm. Learn about the journey of coffee beans from crop to cup; the story of coffee growers and taste ethically sourced coffee from around the world and roasted in Ireland.

MID PRICE: Pop-Up Vegan Supper, Kilbronogue House, Schull, 7pm, €35pp. An opportunity to experience the passion that UK-based chef and cookbook author, Jackie Walls, has for producing nutritious and delicious plant-based foods.

SPLASH: Seafood and Seashore, Dunmore House Hotel, Clonakilty, 7pm, €75 (inc wine) A five-course celebration of seafood and seashore from multi-award winning chef, Kevin Ahern of Sage Restaurant Midleton. Armed with his hyper-local ethos, this will be a showcase of the very best of West Cork food, paired with wines from the brilliant le Caveau.

Friday September 13

FREE: Live Life Well, Skibbereen Community School, 10am-2pm. A food and lifestyle conference aimed at young students, complete with chef cookery demonstrations, food bloggers and entrepreneurs. Ideal for young students looking to develop a career in the food industry, or interested in a food and healthy lifestyle.

MID PRICE: Not Just For Breakfast, Clonakilty Black Pudding HQ, Clonakilty, 4 – 7pm, €20pp. Not to be missed! The long-awaited opening of the Clonakilty Black Pudding Visitors Experience housed inside the new, state of the art, Headquarters on Western Road. I have had a sneak peak – it’s going to be incredible! Take the tour, learn the story of Clonakilty Black Pudding, see how it’s made and enjoy tastings of a wide range of their famous meaty delights!

SPLASH: Wild Mushrooms, Beara Coast Hotel, Castletownbere, 11am – 5:15pm, €75 (forage only) €95 (with dinner). Spend the day foraging for autumnal mushrooms on the wild Beara Peninsula with expert forager Bill O’Dea. Talks, lunch and a visit to Glengarriff Woods for the forage. Option to return to the Beara Coast Hotel and dine on a delicious fungi-focused dinner prepared by their award-winning head chef, Mark Johnston, using the mushrooms foraged during the day.

Saturday September 14

NEARLY FREE: Super Seaweed, The Heron Gallery, Ahakista, 2:30pm, €5 donated to Protect Bantry Kelp Forest Campaign. Spend the day with seaweed supremo Dr Prannie Rattigan and Bantry-based seaweed producers to learn about the magical properties of seaweed for food, nutrition, skincare and more while learning how to harness these properties. A fundraiser to help with the ongoing campaign against mechanical kelp harvesting in Bantry Bay, a delicate marine eco-environment.

MID PRICE: Three Knife Makers, Connolly’s of Leap, Leap, 2-4pm, €25pp. A unique opportunity to spend some time in the company of three of Ireland’s leading cutlers to talk about their backgrounds, the processes and passion for creating chefs knives. Rory Connor, Fingal Ferguson and Sam Gleeson from “Little Fox” will chat, give demonstrations and dispatch tips and tricks.

SPLASH: Eat Like a Girl, Riverside Café, Skibbereen, 7:30pm, €45pp. Niamh Shields, a native of Dungarvan, Waterford, has made a successful career in food and travel writing, broadcaster and author in London. Her book, Comfort & Spice showcased her love of big flavours and is currently working on a cookbook that is only about bacon! This chance to dine on Niamh’s full on flavourful food will prove to be a tasty and fun filled event!

Sunday September 15

FREE: Skibbereen Sunday Street Market Spectacular, Main Street, Skibbereen, 12-4pm. The grand finale to the festival is the annual Street Market! Skibbereen town is pedestrianised for a day of pure, unadulterated deliciousness with food vendors and traders, music and street entertainment all day long. All are welcome!

MID PRICE: Island Adventure – A Taste of West Cork Fastnet Experience, Cape Clear Ferries, Baltimore, 11am – 5:45pm, from €40pp. Take a scenic boat trip round Roaring Water Bay, stopping at Cape Clear Island for lunch, before re-boarding and taking to the seas out to the iconic Fastnet Rock Lighthouse, famously known as the Teardrop of Ireland for being the last landmark for immigrants leaving Ireland for the US. Whale and Dolphin sighting always a possibility.

SPLASH: A Passage to India, Kalbos Café, North Street, Skibbereen, 7pm, €TBC Gautham Iyer, of Iyer’s in Cork city, returns to West Cork to share a multi-course tasting menu of his incredible Southern Indian vegetarian food. Gautham’s food is infused with Ayurvedic principles, where food is seen as life giving and life enhancing. Packed with flavour, this will be a feast for mind, body and spirit.

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