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In Ireland for Thanksgiving?

Here are tips for finding your favourite Thanksgiving foods in Ireland, where to eat a Thanksgiving dinner out, and more.

Updated with more places to eat Thanksgiving dinner in Ireland  for 2015, some recipe ideas, and a Thanksgiving reenactment. If YOU’VE tips, a fab recipe, Thanksgiving event or fun Thanksgiving in Ireland themed photo you’d like to share, contact me. @vibrantireland on Twitter or email Cheers!

Essential for Thanksgiving in Ireland? Libby's classic canned pumpkin.

Essential for Thanksgiving in Ireland? Libby’s classic canned pumpkin.

Thanksgiving food most missed in Ireland? Pumpkin Pie!

But wait, help is at hand! You can now buy that pumpkin pie classic, pumpkin in a can, in Ireland! How many of us grew up with this rather rubbery mass of surprising deliciousness? Often the brand of choice was Libby’s; You may enjoy the blast from the past Libby’s commercial below!

Note: I should say that while I didn’t conduct a rigorous scientific survey, in chatting to other North Americans over the years, Pumpkin Pie seems to top the list of what we miss most when we spend Thanksgiving in Ireland 🙂



[youtube_sc url=”” title=”vintage%20Libby%27s%20Libby%27s%20Libby%27s%20ad%20″]

Fallon & Byrne in Dublin carry Libby’s canned pumpkin in their shop; I know that  supplies sell out fairly sharpish in many places, and F & B is no exception. Perhaps just give Fallon & Byrne a buzz to check stock levels before you make a special trip. Of course just eating there in their tasty restaurant is a grand consolation if you find the pumpkin pie cans are all gone! Tel. 01 4721010 (choose 1 for the office) Open Mon to Fri 8am- 9pm,  Sat 9am- 9pm, Sun 11am- 7pm Location: 11-17 Exchequer St, Dublin 2

I’ve seen canned pumpkin occasionally in Aldi or Lidl– it must have been during one of their special ‘American’ promotions (Hotdogs in liquid stuffed a jar, anyone? Umm, how is that even a thing? Did I miss this during my 30 years in the States?) If I were you, I’d keep my eyes peeled over the coming weeks in case these guys put canned pumpkin on their shelves again.

You can order Libby’s canned pumpkin online at where it costs €3.45 a can. They also have some shop stocklists; here’s the list from their website:

Call before you go to make sure they have what you are looking for!

The Food Centre (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

Unit 1

Cleveragh Business Park (beside Doorly Park)


Ph: 071-91-74077



The Food Centre (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

Unit 12

Hills Industrial Estate


Ph: 01-601-0952



FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

1-4 Lower Camden Street

Dublin 2

Ph: 01-475-8033/8036



FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery, Drinks, Sweets, Snacks)

Unit 4, Block 1

Grand Canal Square (near the Bord Gais Energy Theatre)

Dublin 2

Ph: 01-671-8004



FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery,Drinks, Sweets, Snacks)


Unit 2

Mayor Street

Dublin 2


Ph: 01-672-0977


FRESH, The Good Food Market (Grocery,Drinks, Sweets, Snacks)


Dublin 7




Gleesons of Booterstown (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

44 Booterstown Avenue (accross from the Booterstown Church)

Blackrock, Co. Dublin

Ph: 01-288-0236



Londis (Drinks, Sweets)

Foxrock Avenue

Foxrock, Dublin 18

Ph: 01-289-4777


McAteers, The Food House (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

15 Clanbrassil Street

Dundalk, Co. Louth

Ph: 042-932-6420



Super Valu (Rushe’s) (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

37 Castle Street

Dalkey, Co. Dublin

Ph: 01-285-9477


Sweeties (Grocery, Drinks, Snacks, Sweets)

56 Henry Street


Co. Clare

Ph: 085-732-8759

Fun! And how to make your own pumpkin pie- can or no can

A fun read with a great recipe for pumpkin pie is US expat Imen McDonald’s account of her first Thanksgiving in Ireland. Well! I find some of those reactions to the pumpkin pie almost sacrilegious 😉

Mouthwatering Recipes from ex-pats in Ireland

Thanksgiving can be a bit of a puzzle in regards to vegetarian eating; what main dish can you serve that is special, filling, and delicious? I think this gorgeous dish from Canadian ex-pat Janine may even tempt the meat eaters away from the turkey. (Note: Canadian’s have their Thanksgiving the second Monday in October.) Butternut Squash, Sage, and Buffalo Mozzarella, let’s be having you! The recipe is here on Cooking With Craic; do check it out & her other recipes too!

MY TIP: you can now get Irish made buffalo mozzarella. As well as online and at cheesemongers’, I’ve also purchased it at Aldi, for €1.99. Yum! 

Irish Buffalo Mozzerella - I got this at Aldi for 1.99

Irish Buffalo Mozzarella – I got this at Aldi for 1.99

Janine says:

Here’s a vegetarian lasagna recipe made with béchamel, butternut squash, sage and buffalo mozzarella. It’s not entirely diet-friendly, but we’re thinking of it as one of our final, creamy indulgences before our diet begins on Monday. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

I’m sure we will!

If you’d like to add a classic Irish flair to your Thanksgiving spread, why not try some easy Irish soda bread? Dee has added a few nutty bits to this, and pumpkin seed (sensing a theme?) but you can omit them if you’d like. Dee says:

Irish Soda Bread Recipe -GreensideUp

Irish Soda Bread Recipe -GreensideUp

I don’t recall eating soda bread in the UK, but soon discovered how tasty it is with a chunk of cheese or a bowl of soup when we moved to Ireland; as a result of Colette’s recipe I also learnt that it’s incredibly easy to make. There’s no kneading or waiting for the bread to rise, just throw all the ingredients in a bowl, transfer to a loaf tin, pop in the oven and it’s done. The traditional Irish bread soda recipe contains just four ingredients – flour, salt, buttermilk and bread soda but a few more bits and pieces have been added to this Irish Soda Bread recipe.

Dee grows masses of vegetables in her Irish garden as well as teaching others about vegetable gardening, and she’s great recipes for pumpkin rice and for pumpkin soup.

I also enjoyed this Instagram photo shared on Twitter by @Alanazdinak 😀 Now that’s a quick and easy Thanksgiving dinner!

No need to go home for Thanksgiving. All sorted now! #Merica #dublin2015

A photo posted by AlanaZ (@alanazdinak) on

For something more substantial, why not try Thanksgiving Dinner in Waterford’s wonderful La Boheme? They tell me that:

Our chefs have created a sumptuous feast of traditional Thanksgiving fare. Eric and Christine lived in the States when they met, and when they moved to Europe, they missed this traditional feast and therefore decided to offer the menu in La Boheme every Thanksgiving. Its a hugely popular day and menu in La Boheme, with many patrons traveling from far and wide to participate in the day, so reservations are appreciated. 

Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in Ireland at La Boheme

Enjoy Thanksgiving dinner in Ireland at La Boheme

A tasty and easy way to celebrate Thanksgiving in Ireland! La Boheme’s Thanksgiving dinner is €29.95 pp, and runs Thanksgiving evening only. You can check out their Turkey Day menu here.


Where else can you eat Thanksgiving dinner out in Ireland?

Well, I’ve gotten some tips via social media. — Over on the Vibrant Ireland Facebook page, Linda Fulton Burke says:  Gleneagle Hotel in Killarney has a nice Thanksgiving dinner. Their website is here:   Twitter supplied an idea for the Eastern side of the country, in Drogheda, county Louth:   

@Eseaboard is Eastern Seafood Bar & Grill, and they have served Thanksgiving dinner for the past 7 years. Give them a shout on their Facebook Page to find out the details for this Thanksgiving. You can get their Brown Hound Bakery pumpkin pie in Dublin, too:  

PIE LOVERS UNITE! #pumpkinpie Brown Hound Bakery Ireland for #Thanksgiving 26.11.15 also available for collection in DUBLIN from The Garden Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, D2 (1pm – 3pm) pre-orders only!

Posted by Brown Hound Bakery Ireland on Thursday, 12 November 2015

Thanksgiving at the Ulster American Folk Park

It could be very interesting for North American visitors to see what they think of the Thanksgiving reenactment at the Ulster American Folk park in Northern Ireland. I’d be quite curious to see this myself, especially as it is based around a family in western Pennsylvania; where the majority of my own family immigrated to from Ireland. You’ll also get to sample some of the Thanksgiving food, including pumpkin pie. I wonder will it be as good as my granny’s? 😀

At the Ulster American Folk Park you can join the Partridge family for Thanksgiving as they prepare the turkey and anxiously await the return of their only son Joseph, an infantryman in the Union Army.

Costumed guides re-enacting a 1800s Thanksgiving at the Ulster American Folk ParkThe American Thanksgiving is an occasion for Americans to remember those from the Old World who first settled on its shores, consider the uncertain future of the pilgrims who faced many a hardship and to pay tribute to the Native Americans who greeted the first European newcomers.

At the Ulster American Folk Park you will be able to immerse yourself in living history to experience this grand tradition first hand. You will have the opportunity to sample the flavour of a Western Pennsylvania rural Thanksgiving in November of 1863, which was the year of the first national day of Thanksgiving.

Costumed guides from the museum will re-enact a Thanksgiving Day from the 1800s. You will have the opportunity to sample some seasonal dishes such as Succotash, Pumpkin Pie and Butternut Squash.

Happy Thanksgiving 2015 – in Ireland or elsewhere!

October is a terrific month to be in Ireland! SO many festivals!

And I don’t just mean the fantastic Halloween festivals, there are many, many others. I made a podcast to tell you about some of my Top Picks for October in Ireland, but in the few days after I became aware of a few more I’d like to mention. So, read on & then have a listen to the others on the podcast. Enjoy your October in Ireland 😀

Cloughtoberfest Gypsy Jazz & Swing

Gypsy Jazz Cloughtoberfest by Eoin Campbell at justmultimedia

Gypsy Jazz Cloughtoberfest by Eoin Campbell at justmultimedia 

Cloughtoberfest is Ireland’s annual festival of “Hot Club” Gypsy Jazz and Swing celebrating the legacy of Django Reinhardt. It takes place in Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary, and the combination of the cosy village setting with a host of lively international musicians makes for quite a unique atmosphere!
This year, the festival is celebrating its 5th anniversary by extending the festival for an extra day… which means even more amazing, uplifting music, workshops and free fringe events right through the October Bank Holiday weekend. Concerts are all held in the intimate setting of Cloughjordan House, bringing together some of the world’s finest guitarists… and if you play yourself, you might just be invited onto the stage! After the concerts there are legendary jam sessions going on into the wee small hours, where you get to play right alongside the festival stars.
All-Stars invite the audience onto the stage at Cloughtoberfest 2013 (c) by Patrick Bridgeman at Best Self

All-Stars invite the audience onto the stage at Cloughtoberfest 2013 (c) by Patrick Bridgeman at Best Self

There’s lots more music to enjoy at “Trad Manouche” sessions all around town where Gypsy Jazz meets local Trad, “Devlesa”, a gypsy campfire BBQ, or you can brush up your guitar or violin skills at a music masterclass with one of the headline performers. The fringe programme also includes swing dance, film shows and much more to keep you busy. With a great selection of fine Irish foods and craft beers to keep up your strength, this weekend is the perfect autumn pick-you-up to keep you swingin’ right through the winter!

This will be the final outing for this quirky festival, so make sure you don’t miss out.  Full details, ticket bookings etc. can be found

My podcast is below, and underneath that is a quick listing of even more October festivals in Ireland

Top Tips for October Events in Ireland

The Belfast International Arts Festival 9 October to 1 November 2015

Cuisle: Limerick City International Poetry Festival 14 October to 18 October 2015

The Waterford Festival of Architecture  13- 18 October 2015 (check out the interesting guided walks!)

The Imagine Arts Festival in Waterford, 15 October to 25 October 2015

The Cork Jazz Festival 22 October to 26 October 2015

Links for festivals mentioned in the podcast:

Savour Kilkenny

The Burren Winterage Weekend

Wexford Fringe Festival

Many Halloween Festivals can be found here

Spirits of Meath

What will you do this October in Ireland?


Waterford served up on a plate at Waterford Harvest Festival

Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Paul Power, Head Chef, Bellissimo and Emma Lye (11) getting ready for the “EAT Waterford” Marquee on the Mall event, which will take place during the Waterford Harvest Festival, which runs from September 11th to 13th. EAT Waterford, an exciting collective of Waterford restaurants, will offer diners a five course tasting menu, prepared by the participating restaurants using fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from local producers. Pic Patrick Browne

Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Paul Power, Head Chef, Bellissimo, & Emma Lye (11) get ready for the “EAT Waterford” Marquee on the Mall event.
Pic: Patrick Browne

Waterford Harvest Festival 2015 promises a congruence of sights, sounds, tastes and aromas with cookery demonstrations, foodie films, tastings and workshops, all making Waterford City one big street party for Harvest weekend!

It’s that time again! I’ve been to this tasty food festival many times, and enjoyed every mouthful. Now I’ve been give the scoop on what’s planned for 2015. The Sea Gardener sounds especially interesting. I’ve made dishes with seaweed & done seaweed foraging myself & I recommend that you check out this stall and find out a bit more.

With a tasty, jam – packed program of events scheduled for Waterford Harvest Festival 2015 September 11 to 13, an exciting collaboration of Waterford restaurants is flying the flag for local producers.

This food festival has an emphasis on all things fun, food and family.  The wide and eclectic programme of free events for all includes:

The Festival Market on the Mall

Farm to Fork, The Big Taste

Enterprising Food Market

Trad Craft Corner

Harvest Time in the Garden

The Ballybricken Festival Fair

Harvest Kitchen

Play ‘n’ Picnic in the Park.

The premise of this year’s Harvest Festival is Waterford Food Heroes and “EAT Waterford”, a collective of Waterford restaurants and hotels will champion the best of local produce.  Set in the Marquee on the Mall, in the heart of the Viking Triangle, diners will be able to enjoy a five course tasting menu, prepared by the participating restaurants using fresh, seasonal ingredients, sourced from local producers.

The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford are Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging with helpers Katie and Harry Earl on Garrarus beach Tramore Co. Waterford

The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford are Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging with helpers Katie and Harry Earl on Garrarus beach near Tramore in Co. Waterford.

The group’s food philosophy and how EAT Waterford is committed to shining the spotlight on Waterford as a burgeoning food tourism destination was explained by Paul Power, Head Chef with Waterford’s Bellissimo Restaurant, a member of EAT Waterford. “The last ten years have seen an exciting, passionate food movement in Waterford.  There has been the development of a food philosophy that values local and regional produce and from that ensures the best dining experience for customers.”

“Waterford and its surrounds are spoilt with a fantastic array of great growers and producers and, of course, natural resources, so there is no excuse for restaurants to provide sub-standard dining experiences.”

All of the EAT Waterford restaurants are ardent supporters of artisan producers and there is currently an exciting cohort of such producers in Waterford.  The home of the blaa, rashers and even the humble cream cracker has inspired a generation of local producers of great meat, seafood, breads, vegetables, beer and spirits.

“EAT Waterford was formed earlier this year to harness local restaurants that adhere to a similar food philosophy and those that recognise the value of working together to raise the profile of our vibrant restaurant scene.”

The EAT Waterford Marquee on the Mall takes place throughout Waterford Harvest Festival 2015 with sittings at 7pm on Friday, September 11th, 1pm, 5pm and 8.30pm on Saturday, September 12th and 2pm and 4.30pm on Sunday, September 13th.

Tickets, at €35pp, can be purchased from participating restaurants; Loko, La Boheme, L’Atmosphere, Bellissimo and Zak’s Restaurant (Athenaeum House Hotel).

Launched in Spring 2015, EAT Waterford offers locals and visitors alike a comprehensive insight into the world class dining experience available in Waterford city and surrounds.

An informative downloadable guide on provides details such as theme, price range, menu options, and accessibility.  The restaurants involved in the initiative range from classical French fine dining to traditional Asian cuisine and casual American style dining to time-honoured fresh Irish fayre.

According to Fiona McHardy, CEO of The Viking Triangle, Waterford’s cultural and heritage quarter, “This collaboration is an exciting example of the strength of co-working and what can be achieved by businesses who ordinarily compete with each other to attract visitors to our city.  In essence, the businesses, tourists and locals will all benefit.”

 The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford is Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging on Garrarus beach near Tramore in Co. Waterford. Pic: Patrick Browne

The Waterford Harvest Festival 2015. Harvesting the sea in Waterford is Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, foraging on Garrarus beach near Tramore in Co. Waterford. Pic: Patrick Browne

The Sea Gardener

One of the most interesting and original participants in this year’s Waterford Harvest Festival is Tramore woman Marie Power.

Marie Power, aka The Sea Gardener, is a Waterford-based seaweed forager, educator, food producer and author of a cookbook and foraging guide called “The Sea Garden.” Marie will be educating the public about the benefits of seaweed and showcasing her latest products as part of the Waterford Chamber Skillnet Big Taste tent in the city centre.

Research shows that seaweeds are rich in such compounds and, by virtue of their abundant availability in the marine ecosystem, they have the potential to become an excellent source of properties such as polysaccharides, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, vitamins and minerals.

The Sea Gardener launched a range of healthy protein snack bars in 2014, and soon after, a savoury caponata, all containing her own special blend of seaweeds. These innovative and tasty foods are broadening the appeal of seaweeds and are now stocked in stores in Waterford, Cork, Wexford, Kilkenny and Dublin.

Marie has always been interested in wildlife and she now combines her passion for food and ecology in The Sea Gardener business. “We are interested in the source of our food and in making the link between the origin and consumption of food as short and simple as possible.” The business is growing rapidly, with interest in foraging, cookery, healthy eating and food provenance appearing to be the main drivers. Seaweed has always been part of Co. Waterford and Ireland’s food heritage and is undergoing a revival of interest – The Sea Gardener has now made it look and taste good for a wider public!

All roads lead to Waterford from September 11th to 13th, 2015  If you want to know more, the Waterford Harvest Festival full programme of events is available on

Be sure to keep up to date on all things Harvest Fest by checking it out on Facebook and Twitter #WaterfoodHeroes and #WhattheFork

If you’d like to see posts on past Waterford Harvest Festivals, here are Waterford Harvest Festival 2011, Waterford Harvest Festival 2012  & here & here and  here is Waterford Harvest Festival 2014 

Summer festivals in Ireland -- Sunflower Fest in Lisburn & More!

Summer festivals in Ireland — Sunflower Fest in Lisburn & More!

Summer festivals in Ireland are an excitingly varied bunch. From motorcycles to plein air painting, family fun, bluegrass or beer, here are eight epic Irish events.

PS, if you are seriously missing the scorching sun, I’ve thrown in two interesting festivals in Spain 😀 Enjoy!

Plein Air Painting Festival in Wexford Ireland 2015

Plein Air Painting Festival in Wexford

Europe’s largest ‘Art in the Open’ Festival commences in Wexford

Many scenic vistas in the Southeast will be captured by some of the world’s finest ‘Plein Air’ artists this week as Europe’s largest outdoor painting festival Art in the Open runs now til August 3 2015.

A large number of high profile international artists have descended on County Wexford coming from thirteen countries including Australia, Canada, Norway, Sweden and of course the US, UK and Ireland to compete for up to €5,000 in awards. The paint-out Artists can enter two paintings for the Gala Exhibition and these will be on display at in the Old Library in Wellington Place, Wexford town centre Sunday 2nd August at 3pm.

The Art in the Open festival is based on the concept that all work is created outdoors at a daily paint-out location.  Artists must register at each paint-out with a blank canvas which is stamped daily and over the next few hours must capture their own image of the beautiful surroundings.

The public are encouraged to watch this creative process at any of the six paint-out locations, including the infamous Hook Head, the fishing village of Kilmore Quay, the historic Wells House near Gorey and the Viking town of Wexford or enjoy the Charity Quick Draw which will take place at Wexford’s Bullring on Sunday 2nd August at 1pm. The public are welcome to join in this fun event for a €5 registration fee.  Proceeds will go to the Windmill Therapeutic Centre.

Other highlights of the festival include a free lecture by Sinead Rice of the National Gallery of Ireland at the National Opera House on Bank Holiday Monday, August 3rd.  Several workshops and demonstrations take place throughout the week by well-known international artists, including Leon Holmes from Australia, Vincent Crotty from the USA, Antti Rautiola from Finland and Rachel Personett from the USA.

See more at


Summer festival fun in Lisburn

Summer festival fun in Lisburn

Birr Vintage Week

“Turn back time in the beautiful Georgian heritage town of Birr! Revel in its contemporary culture with a dynamic range of vintage and modern events for all ages during the Annual Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival 31 July – 7 August 2015.

The all-inclusive programme includes the fantastic opening parade with its display of vintage, equestrian and community entries; artisan and craft market; the Ormand Flying Club’s Annual Fly-In and display; the Olde Time Traditional Fair; busking competition; free children’s events; antiques and fine art fair; a donkey derby; live music; sporting and literary events; nightly pub entertainment; and a spectacular fireworks display which will illuminate the skies above the town.

The Arts play a central role with a visually stunning and exciting visual arts trail, theatre performances, contemporary dance classes, film screenings and workshops in various mediums taking place across the town. With annual favourites and new events, vintage flavour and modern entertainment throughout, Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival promises to be an exciting and vibrant event celebrating this charming town’s heritage and culture.”


Feakle Traditional Music Festival

5 – 10 August, 2015

In the little village of Feakle, County Clare, a traditional music festival started almost 30 years ago. It tapped into the area’s amazing wealth of local talent, and Feakle is now recognized internationally by those in-the-know as a centre of traditional music in Ireland. The festival is packed with workshops for musicians, and sessions all week for those of us who just love to listen. 🙂 East Clare is a beautiful area full of quiet lakes, gorgeous green hills, charming boreens lined with hedgerows & stonewalls, and traditionally cut bogs — yet it is off the beaten tourist track; perfect for getting into the heart of ‘authentic Ireland.’ Come explore!

See more at:

Music in Lisburn ©Brian Thompson Photography

Music at Festivals Lisburn ©Brian Thompson Photography

Summer in Lisburn

Don’t forget Northern Ireland on your quest to experience summer festivals in Ireland! There’s a jam-packed end of summer festival season in Lisburn, starting on 3 August 2015.

If it’s action you’re after, why not head to Lisburn from Monday 3rd August to Saturday 8th August for a week of exhilarating motorcycle race events at Dundrod, culminating in the international Grand Prix, the world’s fastest road race. With vantage points both inside and outside the circuit, the Ulster Grand Prix is fun for all the family.

Lisburn also plays host to incredible local and international music talent this summer.  This year’s Sunflowerfest brings British band Dreadzone, rap rock band Senser and a host of other artists and performers to Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough.

Hilden Beer & Music Festival

Enjoy a tipple at Hilden Beer & Music Festival

The Hilden Beer and Music Festival is not to be missed. Hosting three stages and stocking over thirty ales, stouts, lagers and ciders sourced from the UK and Ireland, the three-day open air festival is held on the grounds of Hilden Brewery in Lisburn, the oldest independent brewery on the island of Ireland. Interesting- I must check this out myself!

Music at Hilden Beer & Music Festival

Music at Hilden Beer & Music Festival

Are you more of a foodie than a groupie? Well, Lisburn tells me they have it all and it’s the best around. From the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival (Tuesday 1st – Sunday 6th September) to a family day at Ballance House’s Raspberry and Tea Day, there are all kinds of delicious, beloved and brand new foods to taste. If you are just out and about in Lisburn, there are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants, or if you’re feeling like splurging pop into one of the city’s many trendy boutiques.

Contact Lisburn Visitor Information Centre on 028 9266 0038 for details on events, attractions, activities, shopping and hospitality in the area. Visit the Lisburn & Castlereagh website, Like on Facebook or follow on Twitter

Terryglass Arts Festival

12 – 15 August 2015

Terryglass Arts Festival is known for its innovative arts programme, and they’ve a huge amount of workshops available- over 70! Definitely book early, as these fascinating & fun workshops will fill up quickly (see a few below.)

Other highlights include: Paddy Casey, Blood Red Mountain Band and Molly Sterling. For theatre fans there is ‘Back Seat’ and for Art lovers this years festival features Michal Ray’s ‘Nest’ and Paraic Leahy’s ‘Creatures of Costume’ exhibitions. Family entertainment includes Fidget Feet, Jack Wise, Niall de Burca, Dabbledoo and a Fireworks finale.

Here is a sampling of the fab workshops:

Science Soup – Stir up some trouble with alien mixes! Prepare things that go bang, and some other strange fixes! Measure things that go fizz and some more that go slop, and finish it off with some things that just pop! (Wear old clothes)

Alien Slime – A fun science workshop that investigates alien life. Make the slime and the aliens that would live in it!

Shadow Play with Joanna Williams from Little Bigtop–  Join Joanna Williams to explore and play with shadow. Participants will learn how to make a shadow grow and shrink, explore the shadow effects of different materials and find out how to make simple shadow puppets using coloured gels.

Pallet Furniture & Sign Design– Work with local carpenter, Dave Corboy from Revived and Retro, to design something creative and useful which will be displayed in the village during the remainder of the festival. Materials supplied.

Head over to the county Tipperary side of lovely Lough Derg and experience one of the most creative summer festivals in Ireland!

See more at www.


The Claire Lynch band will play Dunmore East Bluegrass summer festival in Ireland

The Claire Lynch band will play Dunmore East Bluegrass summer festival in Ireland

Bluegrass in Dunmore East – 21 years and going strong; Guinness International Bluegrass Festival returns to its roots for 2015

 The 21st Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival kicks off on Thursday, August 27th and heralds the start of three days of dozens of bands, playing over 50 gigs in the villages’ pubs, restaurants and hotels.

Fans of bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, country, and rhythm ‘n’ roots are in for a musical treat as the Guinness International Bluegrass Festival returns for the 21st year this summer!

The picturesque Co. Waterford seaside village Dunmore East hosts the Bluegrass Festival from the 27th to  the 30th of August, and the 2015 line-up is as impressive as ever.

Credited by Dolly Parton as being “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today,”  Claire Lynch will be at the festival for the first time. Having won a host of music awards, along with two Grammy nominations, Claire developed her love of  bluegrass  and country music when she moved from New York to Alabama at the age of 12.

In the 1970’s Claire fronted the Front Porch String Band, until forming her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005.  Since then Claire and her band have consistently been in demand with festival audiences across the US.

“Claire is a pioneer of bluegrass and country music and we are delighted that she will be playing at the International Bluegrass Festival in Dunmore East,” Festival founder and organiser, Mick Daly said. “Not only has she a couple of Grammy nominations, Digital Journal placed her in the Top Ten of “Most Angelic voices of our time”, putting her on an equal footing with music legends such as Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan, Emmylou Harris and Alison Krauss.”

Big name Irish, European and American bluegrass acts playing free gigs include Demolition String Band (USA), New Section (Cze), Cup O’ Joe (Northern Ireland), The Mons Wheeler Band (NI), the Down and Out Bluegrass Band (NI), Land’s End (UK / Ire) and Irish bands Jigjam and Barefoot.

Another American band making their Dunmore East debut is Whiskey Deaf, made up by Annie Staninec and John Kael.  Born and bred on bluegrass music, Staninec has toured the world, featured on countless albums with renowned country, Cajun and blues artists. Kael, an established songwriter, has been playing bluegrass guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass for over twenty years.  His award winning song “Handmade Cross”, features on Grammy nominated album, Hard Love, by Doyle Lawson.

Whilst the Claire Lynch Band will play a ticketed intimate gig on Sunday, August 30th, all the other events throughout the village are free.

For more information about the 21st Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival line-up in Co. Waterford visit

For ticket information and bookings for The Claire Lynch band, email or Discover Dunmore on Facebook and Twitter.


BUT… I need heat and tons of sun, I hear some of you cry! Ok then, what about these 2 unusual summer festivals in Spain?

The Viking invasion festival in Spain

The Viking invasion festival in Spain

Some of the most fascinating festivals that are celebrated in Spain are re-enactments. Every year, on the first Sunday of August (this year on the 2nd of August), the residents of Catoira (Pontevedra, Galicia) stage a spectacular re-enactment of the Viking invasions that occurred a thousand years ago.
The climax of the Viking Festival from Catoira is marked by the arrival of the “invaders” on board a replica 11th-century Viking vessel with the goal of capturing Torres del Oeste Castle, a fortified structure from the 11th century that is one of the most important archaeological and historical legacies in Galicia. Local residents try to resist and attack in festive atmosphere, where the participants end up completely soaked with wine. Folk groups, a picnic with octopus, grilled sardines, pies… and the pleasant sound of typical bagpipes in the background add charm to this fiesta.

A different kind of battle, although not exactly a re-enactment, takes places every year in Buñol (Valencia). “The Tomatina” tomato festival originated from a children’s fight in 1945 and has been celebrated ever since on the last Wednesday of August (this year on the 26th of August). Participants have a wonderful time throwing tomatoes at anything that moves. Save the date, if you want to paint the town red in your next visit to Spain.

So, which summer festivals in Ireland will YOU go to? Are you tempted to also top up on your sunshine in Spain? Hope you can enjoy the best of both 🙂

Waterford Country Fair at Mount congreve gardens

Fun for all the family at Waterford Country Fair this June!

Waterford Country Fair shines the spotlight on Ireland’s country life!

Inaugural Country Fair destined for Waterford’s Mount Congreve Gardens

On June 14th Mount Congreve Gardens will host the first Waterford Country Fair, a festival celebrating the very best of country life & living.

This one day event will feature a host of field sports and country pursuits including dressage, side saddle displays and sheep dog trials, along with falconry, beekeeping, artisan craft producers and local food producers.

In this video, I’ll tell you a bit more about Mount Congreve and the Waterford Country Fair, plus share some flower photos taken there in Summer:

Jo Breheny, Chair of the Waterford Country Fair is delighted with the reaction to the festival so far.  “A few months ago, some friends and I discussed the idea of a festival that showcases the best of country pursuits, but we also wanted to ensure it was a festival that would have a wide appeal to all ages.”

“The day itself will have something for everyone, not just those with an interest in equestrian and country pursuits.  There will be pony club games, sheep dog trials, and dressage.  There will be an exciting falconry display as visitors can learn more about these majestic birds, hot-shoeing farrier demonstrations, carriage driving displays, beekeepers will give a fascinating insight into the busy life of bees, traditional artisan crafts such as basket weaving and some of the county’s finest food producers will have stalls at the event.”

Horses! At Waterford Country fair, 14 June 2015 at Mount Congreve

Horses! At Waterford Country Fair, 14 June 2015 at Mount Congreve

The event setting is stunning. Mount Congreve Gardens are regarded as “one of the great gardens of the world.”   Situated just outside Kilmeaden in Co. Waterford, the gardens consist of seventy acres of planted woodland gardens and a four acre walled garden.

Ray Sinnott, Mount Congreve Estate Manager, is looking forward to hosting the Waterford Country Fair.  “The festival and the gardens complement each other very well.  The Fair will put the focus on country living and we believe that Mount Congreve Estate is the perfect example of country living at its best.  We have wide open spaces to accommodate the myriad of events on the day with plenty of room for country pursuits’ enthusiasts, families and tourists.  Visitors will also have the chance to explore the largest collection of plants in Ireland and thousands of trees and shrubs.”

The Waterford Country Fair will also work with the charity CRY, Cardiac Risk in the Young.  According to Ms. Breheny, “We chose CRY as our charity partner in order to raise awareness of the crucial work this organization does tirelessly.  It raises awareness of Sudden Cardiac Death Syndrome, provides free counselling and support for families affected by sudden cardiac death and supports the Centre for Cardiovascular Risk in Younger Persons.  We hope the day will help spread the message about sudden cardiac death syndrome and raise funds for this remarkable charity.”

Birds of prey & falconry at Waterford Country fair, 14 June 2015 at Mount Congreve

Birds of prey & falconry at Waterford Country fair, 14 June 2015 at Mount Congreve

To find out more about Waterford Country Fair, which takes place at Mount Congreve Gardens on Sunday, June 14th, visit or keep up to date with Facebook and Twitter.

Santa arrives at Waterford Winterval 2014and greets child

Santa arrives at Waterford Winterval 2014 and greets the children

Santa Arrives on an ICEBERG to Open Waterford Winterval 2014!

Ireland’s Waterford City puts on a magical Winterval festival. I’ve been lucky enough to attend each one, & I highly recommend you take a trip to Waterford Winterval 2014!

So fun! Santa Claus arrived via a giant iceberg on November 21 to open Winterval, and Ireland’s biggest Christmas festival will run right through to the 23 of December 2014. Santa switched on the city’s Christmas lights and greeted the boys and girls excited waiting to see their favorite jolly ol’ elf.

Santa’s iceberg floated down to Ireland from the North Pole, and when he set sail on his iceberg earlier in the week, he specially selected a crew of friendly Viking elves to steer him to Waterford, Ireland’s oldest Viking city. (Founded in 914!) Santa also brought a gift to Waterford; a half ton block of ice towed from the North Pole to present to the House of Waterford Crystal!  The team there along with some professional Ice-Sculptors are creating ice and crystal Sculptures which will be unveiled at the Winterval Ice Rink on Saturday 29 November. They will form the centerpiece of the Ice Rink for the duration of the festival, so check it out and maybe go have an ice skate, too!

Santa said, “I am delighted to meet all of the boys and girls at Winterval today, it is my favourite place to be in preparation for our busiest time of the year and I am very excited to see this wonderful North Pole Ice-Sculpture set to be created with the wonderful Waterford Crystal.”

santa arrives at Waterford Winterval from Hi-Lite TV on Vimeo.

House of Waterford Crystal’s David McCoy  said, “We are delighted to be working with the Winterval Festival. It is a great opportunity to create a new piece of artwork using Ice and Crystal for the first time, the sculptures will be wonderfully unique and will capture the festive season and the heritage of Waterford.”

The Winterval festival has over 32 trail events; 18 of which are free!

A 3D Lightshow commissioned especially for Winterval has the Grinch’s plot to ruin Winterval; but fear not, Santa arrives just in time to save the day ;-D The 3D show will be projected on to the front of the Old Deanery building, and runs every half hour during the festival open days ’til December 23.

Some other highlights include a Helter Skelter, Snow-Globe, the Hasbro Toy Museum, Penguins at The Palace, a free movie theatre showing ‘Frozen’, Storytelling at Reginald’s Tower, Craft Making Workshops, a giant Winterval Post Box, a South Pole Enchanted Garden, and -whew!- even more! Visitors wishing to journey through the City Trail, the Winterval Express Train as well as the Horse Drawn Sleigh Stations are the place to head to for a trip. A group our friends and I go every year, and I reckon Waterford Winterval truly is full of magical enjoyment for all ages.

Have a look at Santa’s arrival at Waterford Winterval 2014, and get a feel for what you’ll be enjoying there. Christmas cheer for sure!

For further details see

To read  & see photos of last year’s Waterford Winterval 2013, click.

For a listing of  all Waterford Winterval posts, click


Waterford Harvest Festival 2014

Waterford Harvest Festival 2014

It’s Harvest Time!

Waterford Harvest Festival is back for  12-14 September 2014 with tons to tempt your tastebuds!

I find that Waterford City always throws a good festival, and this year’s Harvest should be no different. Two years ago I had the good fortune to be invited along on a Harvest tour which showcased some of Waterford’s local food producers, and I was mighty impressed with both the taste of the products and the passion of the producers.

Waterford Harvest Festival local food producers Picture: Patrick Browne

Waterford Harvest Festival local food producers Picture: Patrick Browne

One of them is pictured below; Grainne Walsh, owner of Irish craft beer brewery, Metalman. Even if you are like me & aren’t the biggest beer fan, see can you try a sample or two. Craft beer is miles away from mass produced beer, and there are many fantastic flavour combinations. Alternator was my favorite, with a slight hint of banana. Yum, really!

We also met Dermot of M&D Bakery, had a tour of the bakery, and Dermot cooked us up some breakfast baps! Some welcome! M & D Bakery was founded in 1985 by brothers Dermot and Michael Walsh. Continuing on three generations of bakers in the Walsh family the two brothers made the decision to continue on this legacy by combining their decades of personal experience in baking and so securing the centuries old tradition of “the blaa”, and what has now become a trademark taste of Waterford and known the world over.

The Waterford Blaa is an indigenous food here, one of Ireland’s most traditional baked items. The blaa recently won a prestigious Eurotoque “Taste” award for uniqueness and quality. M &D are rightfully proud of their own unique version, and I can promise you it is very tasty with a nice rasher in the middle 😀

looking forward to Waterford Harvest Festival 2014 are little Bee Keepers

looking forward to Waterford Harvest Festival 2014 are little Bee Keepers

This year’s Harvest Festival will showcase the best of what Waterford and the South East food producers have to offer, from the smallest food businesses working from home kitchens to international market leaders of the food industry.Visitors can expect a variety of succulent street food from festival favourites, and a smorgasbord of celebrity chefs such as Darina Allen in the Grow HQ Kitchen event.

Since pagan times, the harvest festival has been a time to celebrate the crop, where family and community to relax and enjoy the fruits of their labour, and this year’s festival intends to do just that. New events to the programme include The Big Taste in John Robert’s Square, The New Street Garden Party and Wyse Weekend, along with the welcome return of the Enterprising Food Village, Picnic & Play in the Park and The Viking Rocks Craft Beerfest.

Chair, Paul Nolan looks forward to this year’s Festival, “We want to make it a city wide festival that encompasses city centre retail, the historic Viking triangle and amenities such as New Street Gardens, Wyse Park and the People’s Park. We hope everyone supports their local food producers and enjoys what will be a wonderful weekend.”

A Taster of Waterford Harvest Festival Events

In New Street Gardens there will be cookery demonstrations, bee-keeping classes, GIY workshops, puppet making, live music and plenty of family fun!

Wyse Park kicks off with a Hoedown on Friday thanks to St Brigid’s Family & Community Centre and Inner City Youth Project, so don’t forget to swing your ‘pardner do-si so’.

There will also be herbal remedy stalls, storytelling, food craft, not to mention Building -a- Bed led by Waterford Civic Trust St John Priory Project and the GROW Project.

Keep an eye out for The Grow Project’s latest creative outdoor installation- a colourful makeover for the gardener’s humble friend, the wheelbarrow!

Follow the ‘Green Trail’ and discover guerrilla gardens and pop up planting, all adding a Harvest feel to the Waterford landscape. The ‘Green Team’- GIY Waterford, Ballybeg Greens and Ucasadh – has been busy planting and plotting to lay a living carpet under the Viking Long Boat

People’s Park is all about Picnics and Play with giant Jenga, boules and chess, not to mention the muddy mayhem, games, science and foodie fun activities all Saturday afternoon proudly brought to you by Caulfield’s SuperValu.

Let the kids’ creativity and imaginations run wild as they make their own cupcakes, pasta art, noodle doodles or paper gardens in the City Square Shopping Centre.

The City Library will be transformed by the mad cap antics of clowns, acrobats and all things circus! City POP is brought to Harvest by an eclectic mix of skilled local people and artistic innovators. It aims to bring an exciting and eye-catching visual element to the streets of Waterford

Stroll along Scarecrow Street, watch out for frying pans and watering cans overhead and check out the giant veg patch in John Roberts Square, or spot the amazing signposts built with skill and care from Traditional Craft by Waterford.

Art on the Railings is another colourful addition to the festival on Saturday, September 13th from 11am to 4pm. With over 35 artists showcasing their talents on the railings around Bishop’s Palace and Christ Church Cathedral you can be sure to pick up a quirky, affordable and original piece of work.

The Harvest Festival’s full programme of events is available on


  Posts from the 2012 Harvest festival are here and here.

Boxcar Preachers will be at Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival 2014

Boxcar Preachers will be at Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival 2014

Get Groovin to the Bluegrass in Dunmore East, Ireland!

20th Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival is 21-24 August 2014

If you’ve ever visited the charming fishing town of Dunmore East in county Waterford, you’ll know why it is such a fun location for a festival. Great pubs, delish fish n chips at O’Shea’s by the fire station, swimming coves, kids playground, outdoor adventure centre, and beautiful views are just some of the reasons to visit, even without a festival. But this weekend there’s the famous (and free!) BlueGrass Festival on as well! I’ve been sent the info on the festival and musicians, so here ya go:

The 20th Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival takes on August 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th 2014 and American quartet, Boxcar Preachers, is set to headline one of Europe’s biggest free bluegrass festivals.

The Boxcar Preachers from Austin, Texas first played at the Bluegrass Festival back in 2006 and festival founder Mick Daly is delighted that the old time outlaw country band is back for the 20th festival.

“The Boxcar Preachers created a great buzz in Dunmore East back in 2006 so we felt it would be apt to have them back as the Bluegrass Festival celebrates 20 great years.”

Their music is reminiscent of the era of Bonnie and Clyde or John Dillinger, but their outlaw connection goes back to the romantic days of the Wild West when train robberies began to spread like an epidemic.

The Down and Out Bluegrass Band, another band of international stature, brings its driving banjo sound and three part vocal harmonies to Ireland’s largest free bluegrass festival.

Down and Out bluegrass bandwill be at Dunmore east Bluegrass festival 2014

Down and Out bluegrass band will be at Dunmore east Bluegrass festival 2014 pic via

It was a coup to secure the Northern Irish group for the 20th year of bluegrass in Dunmore East.  “The Down and Out Bluegrass band is a great group of talented musicians and have built up a massive following in Ireland and the UK.   Their music is perfectly suited to the Dunmore East Bluegrass festival as their sound is heavily influenced by classic artists such as Bill Monroe and the Stanley Brothers.”Mick says.

“They have been touring extensively this year and the committee was delighted that they will be making their inaugural appearance during our twentieth year.  With members hailing from counties Armagh, Antrim, Down and Dublin, the band plays traditional bluegrass straight out of the foothills of Tennessee and North Carolina, so visitors to Dunmore East are in for a real musical treat.”

Richard Leeman, vocalist and guitar player with The Down and Out Bluegrass band added, “We’ve had a really busy schedule over the last few months, but we really wanted to play in Dunmore East.  The festival draws a fantastic crowd of bluegrass and country music lovers and it has endured so well.  It’s particularly significant that we are making our debut in its twentieth year.  We’ve only heard great things about the festival and are looking forward to a warm Waterford welcome.”

The line – up of international and lrish bands at the free festival includes great names such as Land’s End, The Mons Wheeler Band, The Black Bottle String Band and Barefoot Jenny to name but a few.

There will also be some family fun entertainment on offer including face painting, a bouncy castle and food stalls in the village.

The 20th Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival kicks off on Thursday, August 21st at Azzurro Restaurant and heralds the start of three days of bands, playing almost 50 gigs in the villages’ pubs, restaurants and hotels.

This year’s line – up for the 20th Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival includes:

Boxcar Preachers

Down and Out Bluegrass Band

Land’s End

The Mons Wheeler Band

Southern Welfare

Black Bottle String Band


Greasy Coat String Band

Dublin City Rounders

Barefoot Jenny

Molly Hicks Band


TomCat and the Zodiacs

For more information about all free events at the 20th Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival in Co. Waterford visit

Check this out for a taste of the Dunmore East area beaches, and click this for outdoor adventure & fun ideas for all ages.

Enjoy your visit to Dunmore East!

Art In The Open.Paint Out!

Europe’s largest Art in the Open Festival to take place in the Southeast of Ireland

Go see! Folk from all around the world are coming to Ireland for this unique art festival. I’m quite excited that one of the paint out locations will be here in medieval Graiguenamanagh! If you haven’t visited Graig yet, here’s what Art In The open have to say:

Graiguenamanagh or Graignamanagh (Irish: Gráig na Manach, meaning “village of the monks”) is a town in County Kilkenny, Ireland. It is located on the R705 regional road by the border with County Carlow on the River Barrow at the foot of Brandon Hill. It is home to Duiske Abbey, the largest and perhaps the finest of the thirty-four medieval Cistercian abbeys in Ireland.
This pretty medieval village nestles in the beautiful river Barrow valley about 6 miles north of the Coachouse. It has been called Ireland’s best kept secret and is a veritable treasure trove of varied scenery, ancient buildings, canal boating, river and hill walks, crafts, traditional pubs restaurants.

dog waiting outside Coffee on High cafe, Graiguenamanagh Ireland

Will you bring me out a treat? Waiting patiently at Coffee On High, Graiguenamanagh.

The Graig Paint Out will be Tuesday, 29 July, 2014 and be sure to pop into some of Graig’s treasures like Cushendale traditional woollen mill. You can get local & Irish made products there, in Duiske Glass, and scrummy local food products & local craft in Coffee On High cafe. Be sure to look for Graiguenamanagh man Edward Hayden’s fab cookbook on sale there; Edward’s one of Ireland’s top celebrity chefs as well as being a genuinely nice guy!

TIP:  Cushendale closes for lunch 1230-130, and sometimes Duiske Glass, too, so that maybe a good time to go to Coffee On High 😀

If you’d like to check out other posts on Graiguenamanagh, they are here.

Here’s the scoop on the Art in the Open festival:

Thousands of pieces of art will be created at paint out locations across the Southeast of Ireland next week as Europe’s largest outdoor Art Festival ‘Art in the Open’ takes place from Monday, July 28 until Monday, August 4.

 A huge number of well known international artists will descend on the Irish countryside next week, with artists attending from twelve different countries including Russia, Sweden, Jamaica, Israel and many parts of the U.S, Europe and all across Ireland to participate.

The concept of an Art in the Open festival is that all of the work is created outdoors, on location. Artists arrive at a ‘paint-out’ site with blank canvases, these canvases are stamped on the back acknowledging the artist is starting from scratch and over the next couple of hours at the ‘paint-out’ location the artists attempt to capture the light and the atmosphere of the Irish countryside.  At the end of the festival, the best 250 paintings are selected for a massive exhibition with artists competing for over €5000 in awards.

The public can watch the creative painting process at any of the six Art in The Open paint-out locations across the Southeast:

Courtown, north Wexford: 28 July
Graiguenamanagh, county Kilkenny: 29 July
Enniscorthy in Wexford: 30 July
the village of Ballyhack, county Wexford: 31 July
Clonegal in county Wicklow: 1 Aug
and Wexford town,: 2 & 3 Aug, and where on Saturday 2nd the registered artists and the public will compete in a Charity Quick Draw at1pm in the Selskar area, with the funds going to Wexford Hospice HomeCare.

Some of the festival highlights include a free lecture at the world renowned Wexford Opera House by Spanish artist, Paloma Pelaez Bravo on Bank Holiday Monday, August 4th. Painting workshops and demonstrations with well-known international artists, including Dot Courson (Mississippi), Valerie Craig (Philadelphia), Billyo O’Donnell (Missouri), Aaron Schuerr (Montana) and Antti Rautiola from Finland to name just a few.

Commenting on the upcoming festival Chairperson, Neil O’Keeffe says,

“We are overwhelmed with the level of interest that the festival has received from artists and the public who love to watch the creative process and who look forward to the exhibition. Up to 180 artists will take part and all of these artists will create numerous pieces of art ‘live’ during the festival, they will then choose their best pieces to exhibit at the end of the festival, culminating in an art exhibition of 250 pieces which will be open to the public to view at Whites of Wexford.”

The Art in the Open festival runs from July 28 to August 4

I’ve included their Art in the Open video from 2013 below, and  for further details see

PS: there’s LOADS on this end July & start August in Ireland. Click here to see some more events you may enjoy.

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Bookworms Charlotte Southgate, 4yrs and Beth Southgate, 5yrs from Lismore help launch the programme for the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing which will take place in Lismore, Co. Waterford from June 12 to 15

Bookworms Charlotte and Beth Southgate 5yrs help launch the programme for the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing

Another of Ireland’s special festivals!

Feed your wanderlust or your armchair travel desires at the Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing, 12-15 June 2014.

Lismore is a serene and charming town complete with resident castle; a perfect haven in which to spend a few days or hours dreamily listening to tales of places & adventures far and near.

I try to go to Immrama every year, and this year is extra special;  in 2013 I attended the Literary Breakfast together with my pal Mark Graham– and now he is hosting it! 😀

Mark has had his first book published, A Year of Festivals In Ireland, and I’m thrilled for him! When you read his writing, it isn’t like like reading, it is like you are swept up into conversation with him. You’ve just bumped into him at the pub and he’s said to you “C’mere till I tell ya,” and starts sharing his latest adventure. Sure, I can almost hear the two of you laughing together now!

Hearing Mark speak live is brilliant; he’s not shy and is always up for a laugh- I’m confident he’ll be the same even at the early hour of  8.30 am for the Literary Breakfast! See you there 🙂

Here is the full line-up of Lismore Immrama 2014 events:

Global Travel Writers and Broadcasters Lined up for Immrama, The Lismore Festival of Travel Writing

Global travel writer Tim Butcher and broadcaster Charlie Bird are among those due in County Waterford in June for the 12th annual Immrama Lismore Festival of Travel Writing, which takes place from June 12 to 15,2014.

As the only travel writing festival in Ireland, Immrama is unique. It is also fitting that this festival takes place in the hometown of Dervla Murphy, and the Book of Lismore which recounts tales of Marco Polo’s travels.

Charlie Bird who has had a long and distinguished career in Irish Journalism will take to the stage at the festival at 3pm on Saturday, June 14. Charlie will discuss his travelling adventures of late which have been documented in a series of highly successful programmes for RTE including Charlie Bird Travel’s to the Arctic and the North Pole, Charlie Bird Travel’s the Amazon River, and the Ganges River in India. He also documents tracing the journey of the famous Irish Antarctic explorer Tom Crean and travels to the South Pole.

Having worked in the RTE Newsroom for 38 years where he held the titles of Chief Reporter, Special Correspondent, Chief News Correspondent and Washington Correspondent, he left the Newsroom in 2012 to face even greater challenges travelling the globe to far-flung places.

Multi award winning author Tim Butcher will take to the stage at Immrama on Saturday, June 14 at 8pm.Tim worked at the Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009 serving as chief war correspondent, covering all major conflicts across the Balkans, Middle East and Africa. His first book, Blood River, an account of his 2004 journey through DR Congo overland from Lake Tanganyika and down the Congo River, reached Number 1 in the Sunday Times bestseller list and was the only non-fiction title in the Richard and Judy Book Club 2008. It was also shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Dolman Best Travel Book Award and the Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Best Book award. Tim’s second book, Chasing the Devil, describes a 350 mile trek through Sierra Leone and Liberia following a trail blazed by Graham Greene and recounted in Greene’s Journey Without Maps. His latest book ‘The Trigger’ – Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War is set for release May 1.

Opening the festival on Thursday, June 12 for a book launch are authors Diana Gleadhill, Alan Murphy, Michael McMonagle and Paul Clements.

On Friday, June 13 a panel discussion will be lead by Paul Clements focusing on the Richard Hayward, a popular travel writer, singer and actor from the middle years of the twentieth century. Hayward wrote twelve travel books about Ireland, including Munster and the City of Cork, In Praise of Ulster and Where the River Shannon Flows. On the 50th anniversary of his death his legacy is being retrieved. The talk will be followed by a panel discussion looking at the reasons why some of Ireland’s best-known writers have been forgotten. Those taking part in the discussion are Alannah Hopkin, Manchan Magan, Michael Fewer and Paul Clements, author of the Richard Hayward biography.

Writer and documentary-maker Manchán Magan will host a workshop on the morning of Saturday June 14  and historian Donald Brady will host a talk, and  international expedition leader and mountaineer Michael Whelan will host a lunchtime reading.

Irish festival-man Mark Graham will get the show on the road on Sunday morning June 15, hosting a literary breakfast.

Family Fun Sunday will take place at the Millennium Park where Smokin Doves and Avi McGourty will entertain.

Bringing the festival to a close on Sunday eveningJune 15 author Mícheál de Barra will discuss his first book ‘An Bóthar go Santiago’ his diary of the 900km walk.


Full details of the schedule and Saturday Special tickets for the Immrama Lismore Festival of Travel Writing 2014 see or call (058) 53803.

If you’d like to see what was on at the festival last year, or other past events in the Lismore area, there are posts here.