STEP aside summer, it’s autumn and time for the adults to come out and play!
You’ve successfully navigated a summer of camps, hustled for the best spot on the beach, consumed probably one too many al fresco fish and chip suppers, and ushered your little ones safely back to school; but now, it’s time for the adults to have a little fun…
As much as I am enthralled by the heat of summer, autumn is my favourite time of year.
Maybe it’s the prospect of pulling out the chunky knits, the changing colours of the landscape, or cosying beside the fire with a hot toddy. But, honestly, it’s because – in my humble opinion – autumn is the best food season of the year, and with that comes the prospect of some truly joyful foodie experiences, activities, and getaway breaks.
So, get planning some seriously delicious fun, strictly for adults only!
Shall we start with a glass of something?
Country Wine Workshop
The Hollies Centre for Sustainability in Enniskeane is hosting a home brew wine-making workshop with Rerooting the Future on October 24.
Learn about making wine, mead, and beer-style sparkling wines, recipes, and essential information on equipment, techniques, and troubleshooting. The workshop will cover wines from hedgerow fruits, mead, and conifer beer.
Tickets available via Eventbrite.ie, €70pp.
Guerrilla Wine Tastings
Cork’s only cave-a-manger L’Atitude 51 will be continuing their series of Guerrilla Tastings, moving them from quayside to inside as the cooler weather descends.
These are informal tastings, so expect the L’Atitude Team to pour a flight of four or five wines along a chosen theme, accompanied with a little description and little nibbles to match. Keep an eye on their social channels to find out what is in store each week.
No need to book, cost will vary each week but expect the price to hover around €30pp.
Pleased to Mead You
Kinsale is lovely in the autumn – still a buzz, yet less hectic than the summer. A visit is always a pleasure for the travelling gourmet, and for something a little unique, a visit to Kinsale Mead, Ireland’s only commercial meadery, is a must!
Tours and tastings continue until the end of October, running three tours a day every Tuesday to Sunday. Booking essential and can be done online. Tickets are €14pp and include tastings.
Deep Dive into Whiskey
If whiskey is your thing, but you thought all whiskey distillery tours were the same – think again! At the Jameson Experience Midleton, go Behind the Scenes, or choose a Cask Opening Experience. But if your curiosity is thirsty indeed, book in for the one day, fully immersive Discoverer Academy for a deep dive into Irish whiskey production, samples and tastings, with a cask opening experience, lunch, personalised gift and more besides.
Book online, tour prices from €20 to €350 for the Discoverer Academy.
Well now, FranWell
The prospect of a visit to the FranWell always fills me with joy; and Cork’s original brewery tour is up and running again too so you can learn about the beer and then drink the beer!
A tour of the FranWell brings you on a journey from tales of rebellious monks up until the present-day resurgence of Cork’s craft brewing heritage.
Learn about how carefully chosen local ingredients create the signature flavours of some of the FranWell’s most iconic beers, and then learn how to judge and taste beers like a pro – that means tastings!
Tours last around an hour every Thursday and Sunday at 1.30pm. Book in advance online, tickets cost €12pp.
Jazz Hands at the ready
The Guinness Jazz Festival returns to Cork from October 22 to 25 which means three things: live music is back, the pubs are open, and the creamy pints will be flowing.
Find details of all the gigs online, book tickets where and when you can, and enjoy the craic! Keep an eye out too on social channels for surprise gigs, fringe events, and more. Get out there and support your local pubs and enjoy great local food along the way too!
Being a tourist in your home town is a wonderful thing, and there is always something new to learn about Cork’s great food scene. Get out the wellies and rain jacket and go for it!
Kinsale Food Tours
Suzanne Burns Food & Foraging Tour takes in coast and land and runs whatever the weather. Or, if you fancy doing something a little bit extra, the newly-launched Private Yacht Picnic Experience could be just the thing for you, combining great local foods and drinks with a private guided tour and even trying your hand at skippering the yacht.
Book well in advance. Different group sizes can be catered for with three yachts available. Prices start from €200pp for the Private Yacht Picnic Experience, and €85pp for the Food & Foraging Tour.
Fab Food Trails
Cork’s original food trail is still going strong. Tours restarted in September with smaller groups to begin with and just one tour a week on Saturdays, so be sure to book in early!
The tour varies week to week as tour guides bring you to their favourite foodie haunts in the city and indulge in lots of tastings. Expect some history and architecture in the mix too - and wear comfortable shoes!
Every Saturday, 10am, duration up to three hours. €60pp, book online at www.fabfoodtrails.ie
A Taste of History at the home of Clonakilty Blackpudding
Learn all about the history of Clonakilty Blackpudding, from humble origins and a secret recipe to international adoration! This is a self-guided tour through a recreated streetscape of Clonakilty, including an exhibition of artefacts from the 1880s when the recipe is said to be dated, interactive displays, and a tasting of the delicious delicacy.
The Visitor’s Centre is open seven days a week. Tours can be booked online and cost €10pp inclusive of tastings. www.clonakiltyblackpudding.ie/visitor-centre
Longueville House Mushroom Hunt
Don your boots and wellies and join expert mushroom hunters at the majestic Longueville House for the 20th annual Mushroom Hunt. Discover the pleasure of this exciting sport and search for a range of mushroom varieties growing on the estate. Afterwards, Chef/Proprietor William O’Callaghan will prepare and cook for you a banquet of autumn mushrooms with dinner. A fun day out for all and ideal for beginners!
The 2021 Mushroom Hunt Weekend Package includes two nights bed and breakfast with dinner each evening, afternoon tea on arrival, mushroom hunt, and picnic lunch on Saturday. Prices start from €800, based on two people sharing, October 15 to 17. www.longuevillehouse.ie
Long Island Wild Camping
Imagine escaping to a private island with nothing but your tent and an ocean vista? Wild Camping on Long Island is just the place for you! Arrive to the privately owned island where Tracy and Peter Collins will welcome you, take you to your pitch site, and help you settle in.
Open year-round, subject to the weather – particularly regarding the ferry crossing.
But some of the most beautifully crisp days of the year are in autumn, so if you are savvy, you could bag yourself a unique seasonal experience.
Self-sufficiency is the ethos of the island, but you won’t have to forage for it yourself! Opt to add a Breakfast or Picnic Basket to your booking, with access to refreshments, well water and in-season organic produce.
Pitch fees from €10 to 25 per night. Optional extras at your discretion. Find out more at www.wildislandcamping.com
Titanic Afternoon Tea
There is always so much to see and do in Cobh, one visit is never enough; and this autumn I am making plans to finally visit the Titanic Experience housed in the former White Star Line ticket office, and to follow this up with a refreshing afternoon tea of homemade scones, cakes, and freshly brewed tea at the Cobh Heritage Centre.
Titanic Experience is open every day, tickets €11pp. Cobh Heritage Centre Café is open year-round Tuesday to Sunday.
Autumn is when we are most likely to try something new. From fish smokery to mixology, there is plenty to keep you occupied!
Cooking is Fun!
Ballymaloe Cookery School went digital during lockdown but are delighted to be back with in-person classes – while still mixing things up with live streams too. Half day, full day, and week-long experiences are on the schedule right up to Christmas and places are still available. Check out the schedule and book online at www.cookingisfun.ie
Fish Smokery Masterclasses
One of Cork’s original artisans, Sally Barnes, is running a series of masterclasses at The Keep, the purpose-built workshop space adjacent to the smokery near Castletownshend, West Cork.
A variety of courses such as Coastal Harvest, half and full-day smoking courses, or the simple pleasures of tasting the fruits of Sally’s skill and labour are available.
The chance to learn from a true master of her craft will give you a whole new perspective of the importance of this food tradition and culture.
Prices from €45 to €240, more details and booking online www.woodcocksmokery.com
Mix It Up!
MTU’s The Art of Mixology course promises to be ‘An introduction to the world of cocktails’.
Learn about the history of cocktails, the structure of cocktails and the methods in making the perfect one; how to master your mixology equipment, how to use garnishes, developing a cocktail menu and even an introduction to Molecular Mixology!
This course doesn’t start until February, 2022, which means you’ll be able to find uses for all those left-over bits of Christmas spirits! One three-hour class a week for one semester.
Cost: €450pp. Full information and to apply online, visit www.cit.ie/course/CRFTCXXD6
Retreat for Wellness
Transformation expert, Grainne Bagnall, and nutritional therapist, Michelle Ryan, have joined forces to create a one-day retreat in nature that aims to be an exciting dose of fresh thinking.
The Future of Work Retreat in Nature combines a forest bathing experience with wellness, nutrition, and design thinking for those looking to ready themselves for the transforming nature of the work sector.
Grainne says: “The future of the work sector will be transformed in the coming years, with vast opportunities in the digital and eHealth space.
“In this one-day programme, we’ll equip you with a toolkit and with methods to evaluate the impact which this will have on your work and life, and we will discuss the impact of digitisation.
"We will integrate these new techniques and tools into your standard workflow to create harmony and wellness in the New Future of Work.”
Following the success of their first retreat day, two more dates have been added: Saturday, November 6 (full day), and Saturday, December 11, (half day).
Full info and booking www.bwellhive.ie/menu/human-growth-and-digital-transformation- programme