Top Ten Irish Food Festivals 2016

Kim Carroll

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Abergavenny Food Festival by David Owen, Flickr
Abergavenny Food Festival by David Owen, Flickr

This summer record numbers of tourists are set to come to Ireland to experience the food, beer and craic. Food festivals have become increasingly popular in recent times with new events popping up all over the country every year. With a busy summer season approaching, The Circular outlines the top ten events showcasing the best of Irish produce and culture.

Kerrygold Ballymaloe LitFest 2016

Since 2013, The Ballymaloe Literary Festival of Food and Wine has brought people in their thousands to the grounds of Ballymaloe House and Cookery school in West County Cork. Drawing journalists, authors, chefs, sommeliers, bloggers and publishers internationally, it has become one of Ireland’s most important calendar events for food enthusiasts worldwide to meet and share ideas. Speakers at this years festival include famed chefs Francis Mallman and Yotam Ottelenghi.

20-22 May, 1 day ticket €90, full ticket €170

Check out the planned events here.

The All-Ireland Chowder Cook-Off

Seafood chowder, yum! #Dublin #Ireland #holiday #food #foodblog #seafood

A photo posted by Sophie Mitchell (@flickie105) on


The Kinsale Good Food Circle hosts the 6th chowder cook-off which will see over 30 popular restaurants compete to win the title for Ireland’s Best Chowder.

April 23-24, €15 per person

Connemara Mussel Festival

Originally established to promote the excellence of the mussels of Killary Harbour, the festival has grown to become a celebration of local people, food, culture and heritage, and is recognised as the premier food event for Connemara attracting visitors from near and far. One of the first festivals each year on the Wild Atlantic Way, its hosts 3 days of food tasting, demonstrating, talks and workshops. Check out planned events in this handy guide.

April 29- May 1, various prices

Wexford Food and Wine Festival

The Wexford Food and Wine Festival is having its 8th Birthday, and following the huge success of the last seven festivals, the festival has established itself as a must attend premier food and drink event in the South East. Most of the events are family-friendly and free of charge and any profits that are made go to local Wexford charities. Hungry carnivores should call into Bad Boy’s BBQ for a mouthwatering feast or pick up some home-made free-range blood pudding at The Pig’s Tale, while coffee lovers can try some unbelievable Irish roast coffee at Brunel’s.

May 27-29, free entry.

Burren Slow Food Festival

This years’ Slow Food Festival will take place on the last weekend of May 2016 in Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare. All the talks and events on the weekend will focus on the delicious edibles that the sea and the land around us produce for us to enjoy, kicking off with an amazing champagne picnic underneath the Cliffs of Mohir. Featured also will be one of Ireland’s biggest farmer’s markets to date. The events culminate in a slow-cooked banquet featuring some of the best produce in the area.

May 28-29, free entry to market, events to be decided.

Westport Food Festival

The Westport Food Festival is in its 6th Year running with each year bringing new and exciting events. This year’s festival will be packed with events and activities for all ages, from the educational to the downright delicious. Each year the Festival promises a host of all-things-culinary, with foraging excursions, demonstrations for kids, food tours and more to be confirmed.

Check out the event guide here.

June 24-26, prices here.

Dunmore East Festival of Food, Fish & Fun

Dunmore East by Barry Lennon Photography, Flickr
Dunmore East by Barry Lennon Photography, Flickr

The Dunmore East Festival of Food, Fish & Fun, now in its eighth year, is a boutique festival held in the beautiful fishing village of Dunmore East. This is an unusual food festival with a real difference. It also celebrates music and the arts, with events including an open air cinema, Feast in The Forest, live music in the park overlooking Hook Head, Saturday Night Market, yoga on the beach, seaweed foraging, beekeeping and more.

July 1-3, prices to be decided.

A Taste of Donegal Food Festival


A three day celebration of great food and drink with exhibitor stands, celebrity chef demonstrations, tutored wine and beer tastings, entertainment and much more. This festival brings together top restaurants, hotels and food, drink and lifestyle product providers in a beautiful tented village on the Pier. With the backdrop of the Bluestack Mountains and Donegal Bay, this is the perfect venue in which exhibitors can showcase and sell their products to customers who are passionate about food and drink. With over 120 exhibitors participating throughout the weekend, you can taste and purchase some of the finest food and drink available from all over the country. A highlight of the festival will be the high profile demonstrations by celebrity chefs Neven Maguire, Kevin Dundon, and Catherine Fulvio.

August 26-28, Adults €5, Children €1, Weekend Concession €12.

Waterford Harvest Festival

Waterford Harvest Festival returns to the streets of Waterford City for a 3 day festival that celebrates all that is good about the region’s food, heritage and culture. Come along for what is a continued collaboration of producers, makers, food enthusiasts and families. Harvest is a time to celebrate the crop, to savour the tastes of the region and for family and friends to enjoy the fruits of their labours. With events to suit all tastes and ages, the weekend will showcase the best of local foods and cooking and will include cookery demonstrations, the ever popular Picnic & Play in the Park, and Farm to Fork in the city and the yearly pop-up EAT restaurant.

Sept 9-11, free entry with various entry costs for events to be decided.

Food on the Edge

Technically not a summer festival, but so important it couldn’t be left out. Food on the Edge is a global food symposium that takes place annually in Galway, Ireland. It is for chefs and food enthusiasts all around the world who want to create a better global network. It’s a coming together for stakeholders to listen, talk and debate about the future of food in our industry and on our planet. With 15 impressive global guest speakers such as Massimo Bottura of Chef’s Table fame confirmed so far, this year is set to be one of Ireland’s most important food events.

Massimo Bottura by Indra Galbo, Flickr
Massimo Bottura by Indra Galbo, Flickr

If you know of any new food festivals that are upcoming, please let us now by using the comment box below.

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Kim Carroll