When you think of the West of Ireland and particularly Co. Clare, there are probably 3 things that come to mind instantly, amazing Irish music, the Cliffs of Moher and the wild waves of the Atlantic Ocean. Clare is my spiritual home, my mother was from Lisdoonvarna and Fanore beach was where I spent every school holiday pretty much. It was also where, as a family, we tasted things like wild mushrooms foraged by my dad from the Burren, Mackrel & lobster straight off the boats in Doolin and believe it or not where I learnt what a MarieRose sauce was made from. (Chipper’s in caravan parks can be very informative given a chance). So when I heard that for the past 14 years there has been a Burren Slow Food Festival (https://www.slowfoodclare.com/festival/) not only in Clare but on the ancestral stomping ground I had to find out more.
The event will be kicking off on Friday the 15th May 2020 with the official opening taking place in the Pavillion Community Hall, Lisdoonvarna at 12:30pm by award-winning travel writer Pól Ó Conghaile. And what a lovely line up of treats and tastes there will be including artisan food, crafts, local pottery and drinks. Not to mention free cookery demonstrations by an impressive line up of chefs such as the award-winning Micheal Tweedie of Adare Manor (www.adaremanor.com) and Robbie McAuley from the lovely Gregans Castle in Ballyvaughan (www.Gregans.ie). Conor Spacey, Culinary Director of Food Space is also going to be doing his thing over this packed weekend of deliciousness. Your senses will be all go from start to finish. But fear not, if you want to slow it down a little and possibly my favourite thing I’ve heard about so far. The Mindful Farmer, Patrick Mulcahy will be giving a workshop “Winefulness”..yes that is what I said. I’m already considering booking my flights just for that. Mindful wine tasting. Sure where else would ya get it?
No doubt after pottering through exhibits of local cheeses, jams, cured meats, chocolates and had the odd beverage along the way. You will be in need of a feed. Two events within the festival which are shaping up to be a gastronomic sensation are the Seafood Super on Inish Oír and the Annual Slow Food Banquet at the Burren Storehouse. Both gorgeous settings where you can just sit back take a moment and marvel at the delights of all the locally sourced, sustainable food Clare has to offer as you nibble and sip your way through its bounty. What a wonderful way to spend a weekend.
The Burren is breathtaking on its own. There is so much to do in Clare. Long weekend, family holiday, adventure escape or romantic trip location is written all over it. But a Slow Food Festival in the Burren, well I think its the perfect combination, of artisan food, excellent local produce against a backdrop of stunning scenery, probably a bit of music and some of the nicest people you will meet along the wild Atlantic way. It’s really my perfect food festival concept. Of course, I’m not at all bias. Go for yourself and taste the west, be awed by its epic scenery, savour the delightful plates and embrace the welcome that is the Burren and North Clare.
Sheedy’s of Doolin ( http://sheedysdoolin.com/) voted Irelands best B&B 2020 is close by if your thinking of making a long weekend out of it. And the Cliffs of Moher Hotel is a great spot too (https://cliffsofmoherhotel.com/). I stayed there last year and it’s lovely. A couple of nice examples of local treasures to dine in are OAR (https://oardoolin.ie/) also in Doolin and Vaughans of Liscannor (https://www.vaughans.ie/). But there is no shortage of places to wine, dine, sing and slumber.
To find out more about the festival check out https:/www.slowfoodclare.com/festival. You can email the organisers on firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/slowfoodclare. I’ll be having updates on what’s happening here on the blog as well as on our Facebook page so keep a lookout.