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Savouring Kilkenny….

We had the great pleasure of spending the October bank holiday weekend in Kilkenny for the 13th annual Savour Kilkenny food festival. Upwards of 50,000 people descended on Ireland’s medieval city last weekend to celebrate Kilkenny’s finest local artisan producers and their produce. Joining them was a host of Ireland and the world’s most innovative celebrities and opinion makers in the world of food.

 

 

International visitors for this year’s festival included best-selling Australian author and national TV star, Kim McCosker who brought her 4 Ingredients thinking to the Savour stage. Kim is pictured below taking some time out of her busy schedule to chat to host Edward Hayden on KCLR FM.

 

 

Other familiar faces included homegrown Irish stars Paul Flynn of The Tannery, Dungarvan, Clodagh McKenna, Catherine Fulvio, Rory O’ Connell, Roz Purcell, Darren Kennedy and Mount Juliet’s Ken Harker and John Kelly.

 

 

As well as the KBC Wellness Stage and food and fitness bootcamp with Kathryn Thomas, other festival highlights included tented food and beverage stands, a Medieval Banquet at the Medieval Mile Museum, cooking demonstrations and talks, and kids fun and dining events.

 

 

Roz Purcell hosted a vegan night and also demonstrated how to cook vegan to a packed marquee. This year also saw the introduction of the new Food Provenance award in partnership with Kilkenny LEO and KCLR where local eateries were recognised for the focus they place on local and regional producers and seasonal cooking.

 

 

It was wonderful to experience the very best of Kilkenny’s vibrant food culture and to witness the city and county’s core commitment to supporting local growers and producers and local cafes and restaurants. See savourkilkenny.com for details of next year’s festival.

 

 

Oakfest at Oakfield Park

One of the best things about this job is getting to see ideas which started out on a Powerpoint slide come to life. After suggesting it in our initial pitch to Oakfield Park in 2018, we were thrilled to see #Oakfest rock the park in the summer of 2018 and 2019. Headline acts Hermitage Green and The 4 of Us took to the stage in 2018, supported by Ryan Sheridan, Little Hours, Mark Black & The Trips, ROE, Chelsey Chambers, In Their Thousands, Katie Laffan and Cronin.

 

 

As well as a top-class musical billing, Oakfest at Oakfield Park had plenty for the whole family to enjoy, including a mini disco for little music lovers, arts and crafts, face-painting, puppetry, nature walks, train heritage, folklore and storytelling. Oakfest 2019 included a stellar line-up of artists with world-renowned Alabama 3 Acoustic headlining on Saturday 1st June and chart toppers The Academic (pictured below) headlining Sunday 2nd June.

 

 

Away from the main stage, festival goers could experience jazz in the garden, music in the maze, folk music in the marquee and Trad on the Train. The event also has a strong food offering with some of the northwest’s finest artisan food producers in attendance over the weekend.

 

Earagail Arts Festival

This year’s Earagail Arts Festival has something for everyone. It’s the perfect time for visitors to experience the best of Donegal, on the best part of the Wild Atlantic Way. But get booking because tickets are selling out fast…

 

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Tim Johnson - Hills of Donegal (2)  Annjo Carr- Gingko (2)

Jim Osborne - Swans (2)  Seamus Kennedy - Tusk (2)  Ewan Berry - A Horse in the Rain (2)

Ten Reasons to Visit Donegal this Summer

Having worked in Dublin for years, we’re now spending a lot of our time in the northwest and it has occurred to us that a lot of people never consider Donegal as a place to visit. After a quick over-the-phone survey of our ‘down-the-country’ friends, the general consensus is that we’re very far away. But that argument should have gone out the window with the Slane, Ardee and Monaghan bypasses. They shortened the journey from Dublin to approx three hours, which is pretty much on par with other destinations on the western seaboard.

Here’s our top ten reasons to head northwest this summer (it’s worth pointing out that some of those included in this list are clients, while others are featured because we admire what they do)…

1. Wild Atlantic Way – get away from it all with breathtaking views, rugged beaches and stunning scenery. We have it all, and more…

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2. Earagail Arts Festival – there’s no doubt that these two weeks in July (12 – 26) are a brilliant time to visit the county. It’s a two week celebration of music, theatre, visual arts, film, literature, circus and carnival. It’s also one of the flagship Donegal events along the Wild Atlantic Way and there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.

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3. Donegal is one of the best places in the world to experience the traditional authentic Irish pub. We’re absolutely spoilt for choice from Conways in Ramelton to Nora’s in Kilmacrennan and The Traveller’s Inn in Milford. Sip a pint by the fireside, meet the local characters and listen to traditional music sessions you’ll never forget

4. Sample our home brew – Kinnegar Brewing produces a delicious range of farmhouse beers, including Baxters 1867, which is exclusive to The Traveller’s Inn, Milford. Visit the brewery to get the inside track on the brewing process and sample some of the range

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5. We have accommodation to suit all styles at really affordable rates, from period homes like Rathmullan HouseCastle Grove and  Frewin (pictured below), to alternatives like the wonderfully luxurious Donegal Glamping in Portsalon

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6. We live outdoors so come and enjoy our beautiful landscape. Go hill walking or surfing, climb our mountains and swim in our lakes. We’re also reliably told that Donegal has some of the best golf links courses in the country – Rosapenna, Portsalon and Ballyliffin 

7. Cliffs of Moher eat your heart out, because we have the highest sea cliffs in Europe at Slieve League. Take a boat trip to appreciate the sheer size of the cliff face.

8. We’re brimming with creative types, from artists to designers and everything in between – you never know what or whom you might discover… like Ramelton artist Zara McDaid, who recently won the opportunity to have this piece displayed in Times Square

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 9. Visit our islands – when’s the last time you had an island picnic off the west coast of Ireland? What’s stopping you? Check out the ferry timetables and make it happen. And why not schedule your visit to coincide with Arranmore’s inaugural Swell Festival?

10. Finally, don’t just take our word for it, take a leaf out of Hollywood star Paul Rudd’s little black book – after all, (to paraphrase his Anchorman character) ‘60% of the time, he’s right every time!’. Here he is telling David Letterman about his recent trip to Donegal…

Enjoy your summer, wherever it takes you and feel free to send us your suggestions for future posts… email [email protected] 

Condé Nast Traveller

Great to see three Irish cities on the Condé Nast Traveller list of 20 friendliest cities in the world: Dublin, Kilkenny and Cork

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