From punk Cornish chefs to cutting-edge comedians, fascinating conversations between home-grown food heroes and their international counterparts, cooking and demos from the hottest names in Irish food and exceptional things to eat and drink over four days, Me Auld Flower has just gone live, alive-oh with some of the events leading the brand new and exciting Irish food and drinks festival this St. Patrick’s weekend in Dublin, and with tickets now on sale and selling fast.
Talks and demos include two-star Aimsir’s Jordan Bailey, ex-Marcus Wareing alum Shauna Froydenlund, everyday equality champion Ben Quinn of Canteen in Cornwall, Dungarvan’s own Paul Flynn, Goldie in Cork’s Aishling Moore and, due to open soon in Dublin on College Green, Hawksmoor’s Will Beckett.
There are in-depth conversations about markets, past, present and future with Jane Gleeson of Kerb & Guzzle, historian Donal Fallon and fruit & veg growers and sellers, along with the (literal) opportunities for growth with Catherine Cleary of Pocket Forests.
There are demos, conversations and contributions featuring JP McMahon, Jessica Kelly of The Village Butcher, Lily Ramirez-Foran, Nico Reynolds, Seaneen Sullivan of L Mulligan Grocer, Crossy (Thomas Crosse), Erica Drum, Finbar Deery of Sheridans, Graham Herterich, Gubbeen’s Fingal Ferguson and Holly Dalton.
The country’s diverse and intriguing modern food stories are reflected in the restaurants cooking across all four days of Me Auld Flower, from AA’s Caribbean Irish-Trinidadian menu to Bahay’s Filipino-Irish street food, Bites by Kwanghi’s cross-cultural bacon & cabbage dumplings to Bullet’s Chinese-style Irish duck, African-inspired Irish food from Our Table, tacos from Los Chincanos and award-winning Chinese from Big Fan Bao.
Victory Nwabu-Ekeoma, Ngozi Elobuike & Anita Nwalo interrogate A Taste of Black Culture in Dublin with Bia! Zine, Eva Pau of Asia Market looks at the trajectory of Irish Chinese food, and Blanca Valencia considers Irish tapas — the good, the bad and the brilliant.
In the old yard of the historic wholesale fruit, vegetable and flower market in the heart of the city’s northside, Big Grill will be heating things up with a live fire cooking area featuring Dublin-born chef and barbecue expert Mark O’Brien (ex-Birch, Smokestak, Counter Culture at The Dairy and now of Samphire in Whitstable) who will join forces with Ben Quinn (Canteen, Cornwall) manning a cauldron of Irish stew with slow cooked local lamb hanging over the fire.
Baste BBQ & Rama Basilio from Argentina are hooking up to produce Irish choripán and asado throughout the festival, alongside Dublin’s Pitt Bros and John Relihan lighting up their famous smokers and the city’s preeminent Turkish-Irish grill masters from Reyna.
Eat the Head off Ya at Me Auld Flower is a trip down the city’s food memory lane that sees chef Eric Matthews cooking a unique Dublin-focused tasting menu for just 24 guests per sitting, up on the private mezzanine floor overlooking the entire market on Saturday & Sunday at 2pm.
A ticketed event, Eat the Head off Ya is an inventive take on familiar flavours from coddle, cheese and onion crisps, smokies and bacon & cabbage to a gur cake-inspired dessert, and is €45 per ticket including drinks pairings from Neighbourhood Wine.
And Cáis na hÉireann is another ticketed event, happening during each session on the mezzanine floor — a 45-minute whistle-stop tour and tasting of great Irish cheese along with paired Irish drinks for €25 per ticket.
There’s a Coddle Cook-Off competition with judges including Ciaran Kavanagh of The Gravediggers and Gwen McGrath & Ken Doherty of Assassination Custard, and an equally demanding (and dangerously entertaining) Onion Eating Challenge hosted by comedian Fiona Frawley.
Twice daily Me Auld Flower Walking Tours are designed and led by Three Castles Burning’s Donal Fallon, a fringe event open to all, with the proceeds going to the Capuchin Day Centre.
Irish fish swim through the weekend with an oyster bar from Dublin classic King Sitric and The Salty Buoy’s beloved hake Kiev.
With Irish blaisíní from The Salt Project, Happy’s delivers global street food, and The Saucy Cow takes those world flavours vegan.
Inside the Market Hall at Me Auld Flower will be almost 50 different vendors, producers and growers providing hot and cold food, including Camerino Bakery, Ciao Cannoli, Corleggy Cheese, Cream of The Crop Gelato, Grá Chocolates, Maggie Bakes, The Drunken Cookie, The Village Butcher, The Wooded Pig, Stollen Weihs and Toons Bridge Dairy.
As for drinks, there are guest pouring bars, spirits makers and craft beer brewers including Dan Kelly’s Cider, Fire & 5th, Galway Bay Brewery, Neighbourhood Wine, Off The Cuffe Bitters, O’Hara’s, White Hag and Zingibeer.
Gillian Boyle will host Brewcamp chatting with movers and shakers of the Irish drinks world including Dave Mulligan (Bar 1661), Bhagya Barrett (Rebel City Distillery), whiskey writer Fionnán O’Connor and many more.
A modern take on Irish food & drink culture, Me Auld Flower showcases a curated selection of Irish and visiting restaurants and chefs, growers, producers, distillers, brewers and makers, where everyone brings their best to genuinely celebrate the Irish food & drink scene as it is now.
Listen and learn from Ireland’s finest and some of our diaspora of chefs and cooks making a name for themselves abroad, through demos, classes, tastings, signature dishes and workshops on the Bastecamp and Brewcamp stages and get stuck in with a host of live acts and DJs.
Me Auld Flower is offering something new and different for St. Patrick’s Day that’s profoundly authentic and rooted in the very real day-to-day contemporary world of Irish food and drink, designed as much for our home audience as for our visitors from abroad.
For locals, this is a showcase and celebration of what is great about this very specific aspect of our culture, and for visitors looking for a real way into what makes Dublin a great place to spend our national holiday, this is an event with heart and soul, smarts and flavour.
With bookable seated areas and bespoke arrangements for larger groups and corporate guests, the expertise that has successfully delivered Big Grill events over the past decade is on standby to provide another exceptional festival on Thursday 16th March from 4pm-10pm, Friday 17th March from 11am-4pm and 5pm-10pm, Saturday 18th March from 11am-4pm and 5pm-10pm, and Sunday 19th March from 12pm-8pm.
Celebrate the vibrant food culture of our island in the best way possible, by eating all around it, and raise a glass — or a knife and fork, a spoon, or a pair of chopsticks — to our national holiday at Me Auld Flower.
Visit: meauldflower.com for more information and tickets.