It’s the final countdown to the highly anticipated West Waterford Festival of Food, one of Ireland’s largest and longest running community festivals, which takes place from 14th to 16th April 2023.
The 3-day festival, which shines a spotlight on locally produced, wholesome food and chefs from the county.
The festival will feature more than 70 events in the scenic harbour town of Dungarvan, along with nearby Lismore and throughout the West Waterford region, making it a truly local celebration with huge community heart behind it.
The exciting programme features an eclectic mix of events including a Gala Dinner at Lismore Castle to food trails, a fantastic family programme, workshops, a food stage, pop-up experiences in unusual locations, foraging trails, bus tours, cooking demos and camps, top chefs, masterclasses plus one of Ireland’s largest outdoor markets.
However, with many ticketed events close to selling out, it’s best to book now to avoid disappointment!
There’s so much to choose from but here’s a selection of our favourites.
- Bia not Bluster: Thought Provoking Talks about the future of the food industry Dungarvan Town Hall, Saturday 11am-3.45pm, FREE
If you’re interested in hearing about change in the Irish food industry, this entertaining and thought -provoking event curated by conversation starte
r Richard Jacob is not to be missed.
Some of the most influential food and hospitality figures from the food and agri business sector will deep dive into topics from sustainability and farming to the shifting nature of restaurants themselves.
A hotly contested “Toast off” will also see six well known chefs from Cork and Waterford battle to see who can make the best toastie in 15 minutes, armed with local ingredients and a domestic sandwich toaster.
- Table-scaping: Learn the art of how to dress your table followed by dinner.
Old Market House Art Centre, Saturday 6.30pm, €125
Learn the art of dressing your table for a dinner party or special occasion in this creative workshop with Sinead Connigle Palmer of Lovenest.ie followed by sumptuous dinner cooked duo Eamon and Ro and served on beautifully curated tables. You’ll leave feeling inspired, with lots of insider know
n- how, tips and tricks.
- Gather at the Mart for ham sandwiches and crisps, music, laughter, and family stories
Dungarvan Mart, Friday and Saturday evening, €30
Popping up at the unusual location of Dungarvan Mart will be two charming events with a musical theme.
You are invited to ‘gather around the table of Clancy’s Kitchen’ on Friday night as the 2nd generation of the famed Waterford musical family will regale with songs, stories, and music from the household of the Clancy Brothers in what promises to be a spine tingling night.
Then on Saturday night, renowned singer songwriters Mike Hanrahan and Eleanor Shanley will bring an exciting evening of songs and stories fusing food and music and drawing on their personal passions for both.
In true mart tradition a simple supper of ham sandwiches, crisps and mulled apple juice will be provided at both events.
- Family Fun: Teddy Bears Picnic, Junior Bake off, Sensory cooking and more
There’s so much to do all weekend for kids, that will inspire a true love of food, including a ‘Junior Bake Off’ contest, sensory cooking classes to learn useful skills in the kitchen, a teenager and young adult food workshop, an adorable Teddy Bear’s Picnic, a gigantic RNLI duck race down the quays, the Agri Aware Mobile Farm, Wobbly Circus stilt walkers, and even a Family Fun Dog Show!
There is also a free dedicated family fun zone sponsored by Tírlán in Walton Park Dungarvan with a host of free events from 11am to 3pm on the Saturday 15th and Sunday16th April.
- Sustainability Bus Tour: A true farm to fork experience in West Waterford
Saturday 10am, buses depart from Shandon Car Park, €30
A number of fun Bus Bia tours are running for the weekend, with some availability still left on the gorgeous sustainability tour.
Embark on a fun filled and informative adventure through the wonderful countryside of West Waterford where you’ll spend the morning with food producers, learn about organic vegetable growing, sustainable farming and bees, before enjoying a delicious lunch.
- Inclusive Thinking with a mobile sensory room
Walton Park, Free
Ensuring the festival is as accessible as possible, a mobile sensory unit for people on the autism spectrum will be available at the festival in partnership with Autism Ireland.
This will give the option of taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the event if needed. The padded unit is complete with a bubble wall, projector and dark den staffed by autism trained volunteers.
A Lámh signed cookery demonstration with Chef Aisling Larking will be another fun event for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and communication needs and their families, with a song or two from Nollaig Hennessy!
- Surplus to Spectacular Supper: Combating Food Waste
Sisters Restaurant Dungarvan, Saturday 7.30pm, €55
Combating food waste is a strong theme at the festival and organisers have partnered with Food Cloud who will host a ‘Surplus to Spectacular Supper’.
Zero-waste chef, Ralph Utto, will prepare a delicious five course feast (including tea or coffee) from surplus food, and will share his thoughts on farm to fork eating, food waste and the climate.
- Afternoon Tea at a historic private house
Saturday and Sunday, €40
Indulge your tastebuds and at one of Waterford’s historic private houses.
Choose from the picturesque garden room at Woodhouse Estate in Stradbally prepared by pâtissier Judit McNally from Ormond Café or Ballyin House in Lismore, a beautiful Georgian home serving their own signature treats.
In addition to ‘popping up’ at Woodhouse Estate, Judit Mc Nally will also offer a Chocolate Masterclass at Ormond
e Café in Dungarvan where she will demonstrate how to work with chocolate and make chocolate truffles.
There will be recipes and some chocolates to take home afterwards. This masterclass takes place on Friday 14th April from 7pm-8.30pm and costs €30.
- The Park after Dark
Walton Park, Friday 7-10pm, €15
Bringing Walton Park to light by night, a street party style celebration will take place from 7pm-10pm
only on Friday April 15th with bars, bia and bands for over 18s.
Get a taste of the region with hog roast from Siobhan and Ross at Newbard Farm, Little Catch Seafood, Blackwater Gin, Dungarvan Brewing Company, Legacy Cider, Dungarvan Wine Buff and more, while you listen to bands Presto, Saoirse and Seascapes.
- The Gigantic Festival Market
Festival markets will run all weekend but the big highlight every year is the town-centre festival market on Sunday, one of Ireland’s largest outdoor markets.
It features dozens of colourful stalls inviting festival goers to graze their way around the bustling town square, along the quayside and in Walton Park.
This is the perfect excuse to stock up on fresh, local produce, artisan baking, Irish and international cuisine or to eat out while soaking up the music and atmosphere.
Part of the charm of the West Waterford Festival of Food is how bespoke the festival experience can be. Whether you wander the stalls, dip into a food trail, or pop to an event, there is plenty to whet your appetite. A more dedicated festival goer may want to pour over the programme in advance and book a dining experience, masterclass or any of the other ticketed workshop or tasting events.
The West Waterford Festival of Food is funded by Waterford Council, Waterford Leader Partnership, Fáilte Ireland, and Waterford LEO and would not be possible without the support of sponsors, friends circle and the community.
Pre-booking is highly recommended to avoid disappointment. For the full programme, more information, and tickets, see www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com/