Every year during the first weekend in October, Dingle becomes the food capital of Ireland. To help you make the most of your time at the Dingle Food Festival, we have picked our favourite activities in the rich and diverse programme.
Organised by a group of local people, the Dingle Food Festival has turned into a huge event drawing the attention of the whole country and, dare we say, the world to this beautiful fishing town in Kerry.
The most popular part of the festival, taking place from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th October, is the famous Taste Trail, with 70 venues around the town offering samples of the best food and drink the Peninsula has to offer. To take part, festival-goers need to purchase a €20 book, containing nine tickets. The Taste Trail Ticket books are available from the festival office during the whole weekend and also at various outlets in the town.
Highlights of the festival include cookery demonstrations, wine tastings, food trail, workshops, street entertainment, children’s events, and a food market. Here are our picks.
To kickstart the festivities, Neven Maguire and Brian McDermott will host a cookery demonstration on the eve of the Dingle Food Festival. The two chefs will be cooking with the very best of local produce and some of the wonderful Irish products that have made it to the final of Blás na hEireann. A raffle will be organised on the night in aid of Ladybird Children's Ward, CUH with wonderful prizes, including an overnight stay with dinner for 2 in Neven Maguire's MacNean House, or dinner for 4 in Solas from chef Nicky Foley.
Time: Friday, 4th October, 6:30pm
Venue: Orchard Lane Festival Marquee
Sing Along Social
Hosted at Dick Mack’s to celebrate the amazing food producers from all over Ireland who have made it to the finals of this year’s Blás na hEireann awards, the Sing Along Social will no doubt be a highlight of the Dingle Food Festival.
This year, to celebrate their double gold win in 2018, the guys at Dick Mack’s Brewhouse are inviting their fellow finalists along to enjoy Aoife McElwain’s feel-good, fun-filled, zero commitment choir. All festival attendees are welcome to enjoy the cheesy tunes, dancing and sheer craic.
Time: Friday, 4th October, 9pm
Venue: Dick Mack’s Yard, Green Street
Winter is coming and with it the load of seasonal sicknesses that everyone dreads. So it’s a good time to attend this workshop, which will be looking at ways to use herbs to stay healthy through the winter months. Christine Best BSc MNIMH will demonstrate how to make up a range of different herbs to help combat the ailments that can be so troublesome in winter. Guests will be able to taste and take home samples.
Time: Saturday, 5th October, 10:30am
Venue: The Courthouse, Dingle
Brenda Flannery and her crew from the Thyme Out Cafe & Deli create delicious, wholesome, plant-based dishes. To give you some inspiration if you want to introduce more fruits and vegs in your diet, the workshop will focus on preparing seasonal plant-based foods at home. Expect lots of tips and tricks on how to produce mouthwatering foods in autumn.
Time: Saturday, 5th October, 12pm
Venue: Thyme Out Cafe, Dykegate Lane
When wine and cheese are involved, we just cannot say no. This masterclass will allow attendees to taste three wines and different styles of cheese. Mark of The Little Cheese Shop will explain the mysteries of cheese making, and you will learn how to match wines and cheeses with Zeeshan from Wines Direct.
Time: Saturday, 5th October, 1pm
Venue: The Courthouse Pub
Children’s Bake Off
Dingle’s premier baking competition for girls and boys is back and this year, the young competitors will be challenged to bake a chocolate cake. The cake can be any shape or form, sponge, mousse cake, chocolate torte, Swiss roll, and decoration is always a plus. The entrants must register ahead of time and are asked to bring their cake to Dick Mack’s Yard, where the judging shall be carried out by a panel of award-winning chefs from Dingle. The competition results will be announced at 12.30pm on Sunday 6th October. To register, e-mail [email protected] or collect an entry form from West Kerry Live Office, Goat Street.
Time: Sunday, 6th October, 11:30am
Venue: Dick Mack’s Yard
On Sunday morning, get your caffeine fix and enjoy a tasting session of a variety of coffee brewing methods by Bean, one of Ireland’s top speciality coffee shops. This session will inform and delight both novice and long-time coffee lovers and will explore the delicate notes of speciality coffee.
Time: Sunday, 6th October, 10am
Venue: The Court House Pub
Martin Shanahan & Nicky Foley, Solas, Cookery Demonstration
Nicky has been cooking for 20 years in some of Spain and London’s top Restaurants, learning from the world’s best chefs. He returned home to Ireland three years ago and settled in Dingle to open Solas Tapas Bar on Strand Street. He will be showing visitors how to cook a seafood paella with chorizo alongside Martin Shanahan, owner of award-winning Fishy Fishy Restaurant and Café in Kinsale.
Time: Sunday, 6th October, 3:30pm
Venue: Orchard Lane Festival Marquee