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Devonshire day Lismore Castle waterford ireland

Enjoy afternoon tea in the Pugin Room at Lismore Castle and experience a unique preview of Lismore Castle Spring Gardens takes place on Sunday March 16 – served by the castles very own Butler Mr. Denis Nevin – Photograph Patrick Browne.

A unique opportunity!

Afternoon tea in Lismore Castle & tour of the Spring Gardens.

If you don’t already have plans for Sunday 16 March, do consider this, as these teas & tours are not normally offered; tis for the annual ‘Devonshire Day’ at Lismore Castle in county Waterford.

Don’t miss out! It’s an interesting way to  change the pace in addition to your traditional St. Patrick’s weekend festivities. 

Plus, Devonshire Day is a fundraiser for one of my favorite festivals, the Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. The festival itself will run from June 12 to 15, 2014, and will be extra good this year as it features the always entertaining Mark Graham launching his A Year Of Festivals In Ireland book. I had him speak back in 2012 at Graiguenamanagh’s Town of Books festival and he was a huge hit. Keep an eye out for his book & talk at Immrama.

Here’s a bit more about the day, why Devonshire Cream Tea is special, and more on the Lismore Castle gardens:

Commenting on the launch of Devonshire Day Mr Jan Rotte, Event Manager of Immrama said, “We are delighted to host Devonshire Day at Lismore Castle, it is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy Devonshire Cream Tea in the most picturesque surroundings. We understand that Devon have recently applied for Protected Geographical Status for Devonshire Cream Tea but we are sure it will always be available to be served at the Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire and for guests to the castle to enjoy each year at Devonshire Day. After enjoying tea visitors can experience a guided tour of Lismore Castle Gardens, given by the Head Gardener. The gardens are set in seven acres within the 17th century outer defensive walls and have spectacular views of the castle and the surrounding countryside.”

Serving Devon Cream Tea:

The Devon method is to split the scone in two, cover each half with clotted cream, and then add strawberry jam on top.

Traditionally it is important that the scones be warm ideally, freshly baked and that clotted (rather than whipped) cream and strawberry jam, rather than any other variety, are used. Butter is generally not included, and the tea should be served with milk. Last year the classic “Devon cream tea” was voted the Devon region’s favourite ‘food speciality’.

 About Lismore Castle Gardens

The Lower Garden was formerly known as the Pleasure Grounds and is spectacular in the Spring Time. A number of camellia, rhododendron and some particularly magnificent magnolias can be found here. There has been extensive planting over the last number of years and the gardens are being constantly refined and improved. The walls surrounding the garden date from the early 18th century and have been planted with roses such as Francis E, Lester, Bobbie James, Rambling Rector to name a few. The Lower Garden also boasts some spectacular sculptures by well-known artists Eilis O’Connell, [Note- one of my fav Irish artists; whenever you have a chance to see her work, do have a look] Anthony Gormley and Marzia Colonna.

The Upper Garden is one of the few Jacobean gardens to survive in anything like its original form. The first Earl of Cork helped by his gardener John built a high surrounding wall and a raised terrace terminated at either end by turrets. The Central Walk, which is between the herbaceous borders, is backed by yew hedges and was laid in dramatic alignment on the Pain spire of the Anglican Cathedral. The hedges provide a suitable background for the herbaceous borders as one walks towards the top terrace. Located here are some artistic works by Bridget McCrum, Simon Thomas, Emily Young and Edwin Whitney Smith.

The Immrama Travel Writing Festival Committee is hosting this event and proceeds will help fund the 2014 festival programme.

Tour Times:

11.30 a.m.,  12.40 p.m.,  1.50 p.m.,  3.00 p.m.  and 4.10 p.m.

Entrance is by ticket only, Children under 10 go free but must be pre-registered with the ticket office. Tickets are available from the Immrama office and Lismore Heritage Centre and cost €20.00.

For further enquiries and bookings contact 058-53803 or 058-54975 or see

Sounds like a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon! Enjoy!

Viking Longboat Delivers Santa to Winterval Waterford!

Santa winterval waterford

Santa will arrive with all sorts of vikings at Winterval. Pic: patrick Browne

This is SO exciting 😀

In true Waterford style a 40-foot Viking Longboat sailed up the River Suir in Waterford today (Friday, Nov 29) and delivered Santa Claus to the city to officially open the second annual Winterval Festival.

The much-anticipated Winterval, Ireland’s Christmas festival was officially declared open by Santa as he arrived on the Marina at the Plaza on the city’s quayside at 3.15pm.

Setting sail from the North Pole earlier in the week Santa was assisted by a crew of friendly Waterford Vikings who rowed the boat to the city centre, where he was met by his hardworking Winterval elves and some wonderful yuletide Vikings. Once ashore Santa was guided to his Grotto at Winterval, and took up residence at the historic 13th century undercrofts of the Medieval Museum in the Viking Triangle. The Viking Longboat weighs over one ton and was built in Waterford; it is based on an 11th century Viking ship found in Denmark.  Similar ships timbers were discovered during the excavations of Waterford city, which took place between 1986 and 1992.


The Winterval festival hosts a full offering of over 30 Winterval trail events; 17 of which are free of charge. Festival goers will enjoy the wonderful 3D Lightshow commissioned especially for Winterval and the only one of its kind in Ireland. The 7-minute show is based on Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and will be projected on to the front of the Old Deanery building running every hour and half hour, Wednesday to Sunday from 5pm to 9pm until the festival concludes.

Commenting on the festival opening chairperson of Winterval Barry Monaghan said, “We are thrilled to be officially the second annual Winterval Festival today. It genuinely is the largest Christmas festival in the country, we are also open for an extra five days this year from December 27 to 31 and we have lots of new offerings during this period including linking up with SPRAOI. Last year we saw 250,000 people visit Winterval we have been working hard to increase this figure for 2013, this festival is lots of fun but it is also very important to the local economy and business community and we look forward to welcoming many visitors to the city over the festive period.”

Some of the highlights you  can enjoy at Winterval are a Helter Skelter, a Snow-Globe, the Hasbro Toy Museum, an Animal Farm, Viking Christmas, Polish Christmas, a free movie theatre showing ‘Arthur Christmas’, Storytelling at Reginald’s Tower, Craft making workshops, a giant Winterval Post Box and much more.

For visitors wishing to get their skates on, the huge Waterford on Ice is on the quayside again this year offering some ice-cold fun. For those wishing to journey through the City trail, the Winterval Express and the Horse Drawn Sleigh Stations are the place to head to for a trail trip.

For further details see

We LOVE Winterval– see you there!


Waterford Winterval 2013

The 2nd annual ‘Winterval’ Festival has been unveiled by RTE children’s TV presenter Megan Cassidy Photo: Patrick Browne

Winterval! Ireland’s Biggest Festive Festival

One of the highlights of last year was Winterval in Waterford. It was such good fun, and yes, for adults as well as kids!

Myself and four other women of a certain age went and had an absolute blast.

We watched the magical light show, saw the giant snow globe, rode the merry-go-round, and went down the giant slide. We also had a fantastic meal at Bodega & drank a bottle or two of wine. (This may have encouraged the giant-slide escapade…)

The next day was thankfully more sedate; a gentle ride on the Christmas train, a tempting shop in the Food Market & a great bit of fun & nostalgia at the Toy museum.

But now the organizers of Winterval tell me there’s even more on this year! well then, I may have to book two nights at Dooley’s Hotel… but will my head manage two nights at Bodega?  😉


So, here ya go– the scoop on this year’s Winterval:

Winterval Festival gets underway with the arrival of the ‘Man in Red’ via the River Suir aboard a Viking Longboat on Friday, November 29. The 3o day festival in Ireland’s oldest city and will host a variety of traditional family [and, ahem, any-age] fun activities until December 31. Once Santa alights from his Viking Long-ship he will be escorted by Viking helpers through the city’s medieval streets to the 13th century medieval undercrofts; where he will remain to meet boys and girls in his Elvish village and snow garden until December 23.


This largest celebration of the festive season in Ireland is offering families a trail of over 20 different events and activities with 13 of those events on offer free of charge.

Winterval Waterford merry go round

Once these kids were gone, the middle aged & up women took over; yup, there was a group of grannies there too!


Commenting at the launch of the Winterval Festival, Chairperson Barry Monaghan said, This is a festival which is on a comparable basis to the best continental festivals and is now filling what was a huge gap in the market in Ireland for an all-encompassing Christmas Festival.  Independent research was carried out during the 2012 festival and 92% of our visitors said they would return in 2013, we have also worked on improvements with more street entertainment, more evening events and we are extending the length of the festival by an additional five days on this entirely .


Free events at Winterval include a spectacular 3D sound and light show designed especially for Winterval, which will light up the Deanery in Cathedral Square each evening during the festival. A uniquely Irish take on Christmas see’s the Waterford Vikings Fado set up camp at Greyfriars Church where they will demonstrate the traditions of a Viking Christmas. Celebrating the Polish culture a ‘Traditional Polish Christmas’ will be hosted by Waterford’s Polish community and offers festivalgoers Gingerbread Man making class for children and lots more at ‘Swiety Mikolaj’.

A gigantic Santa’s Postbox of over 10 feet tall will sit at the ‘heart’ of Winterval in the city’s John Robert’s Square where letters will be collected each Saturday and Sunday with a ‘song and dance’ showcase from Waterford Academy of Music and Arts.

Hasbro have joined forces with the festival and at City Hall they host a very special Toy Museum, which will include a wonderful array of toys that children around the world have enjoyed since the 1930’s! Further free events include an Animal Farm complete with Reindeer, Movie Screenings, Storytelling at Reginald’s Tower and Ireland’s only ‘Singing Christmas Tree’ a giant tree built at Palace Square over 40 feet tall, which will be filled with choirs on each of it’s branches entertaining the masses with festive song.

Winterval Waterford 2013

Here I am on the Winterval Sleigh. *May be a lie* Photo: Patrick Browne

Other highlights for festival-goers include a Georgian Christmas is on offer at Bishop’s Palace, a Winterval Express road-train, a Horse-drawn Sleigh and Waterford On Ice [ watch out for us ladies at this!!] a host of theatre productions, a Carousel, a Snowglobe and Helter Skelter. [Actually, watch out for us on all of these!]

In keeping with another tradition established in medieval times when end-of-year markets sprung up as social gatherings where people could enjoy a little excess before the onset of bitter weather. A festive ‘Winterval Market’ will take over the heart of the medieval city where 60 beautifully decorated traditional log cabins will host an offering of the very best quality and range of goods from Ireland’s food and craft producers.


Further details on Winterval events can be found at

 See you there!

Watch out for us 😉

Active Family Vacation in Ireland: swimming & on the beach Dunmore East

Active Family Vacation in Ireland: Fun on the beach Dunmore East

Looking for ideas for an active family vacation in Ireland?

Kristi @TheMountainSun was, & asked me for suggestions. So, like I did for Leah over on this post about eating in Kilkenny City, I’m going to give you all a few ideas, thanks to Kristi’s question. She and her family are coming in Summer and want to go south & west. Here are some ideas for her, and you, here in the sunniest part of Ireland 🙂

Sunny Southeast of Ireland

The sunny southeast of Ireland is a wonderful place to be, especially in summer. The mountains and river valleys are not filled with big tour buses, but are filled with beauty & outdoor activities! There are loads of clean beaches, several of which are quite magical– coves surrounded by cliffs, caves and rock pools, uncrowded. Our favorite is the stretch of coastline from the 13th century ruins of Tintern Abbey, Co. Wexford all the way to through the Copper Coast in Co. Waterford. Along with swimming, rock pooling, & enjoying the riverside/seaside in general, in the sunny southeast of Ireland there are family adventure activities, horse riding, cycling, mini farms, kids’ power kite-ing, and The Magic Road. (There’s a map with the places I mention at the end of the post.)

Diving in Graiguenamanagh: Active Family Vacation in Ireland

Diving in Graiguenamanagh

Enjoy the Barrow River Valley

The Barrow river valley of counties Kilkenny and Carlow, nestled under the Blackstairs Mountains is a hidden gem.  There, all in the vicinity of the non-touristy medieval village of Graiguenamanagh Co. Kilkenny & Tinnahinch Co Carlow, families can rent bikes and, as I did in, take an easy cycle along the river tow path

Or also in the same area, what about a family river canoe trip or some kayaking? You can also take a guided nature walk (minimum 5 for this) or swim & dive off the diving board in the river. Whew!

You could also take a half day or longer trip on the most gorgeous barge in the world, Larry’s Barge. You can see it moored on the river near beautiful St Mullins, Co. Carlow’. And of course, you can just walk along the paths & trails in the area, too. If you are in the area for the Graiguenamanagh Traditional Regatta on the August Bank Holiday Sunday you may want to try your hand at tub racing, diving for plates, climbing the rope across the river, & more!

Head out to the Coast

Continuing on down by the Barrow, you’ll come to the town of New Ross, Co Wexford. There you can tour on the old emigrant ship, Dunbrody. Ok, it isn’t an adventure activity, but children often find it cool to be on an old Tall Ship &  they really do seem to enjoy this bit of  history, as the tour is done as a live re-enactment. From New Ross if you’d like to take in a beautiful ruin you can head to Tintern Abbey & roam that 800 year old ruin and walk the wooded trail to find another hidden ruin or two on site. From there you can go to Hook Head Peninsula & Hook Lighthouse. At the far west of County Wexford is the lovely seaside village of Duncannon. Here Hooked Kitesurfing offers a power kite lesson to children, and there is a big sandy beach that hosts a Kitesurfing Festival- 17 August  2013, & Sand Sculpting competition 12-14 August 2013.  Historic Duncannon Fort is also there, and may be of interest if there are military fans in the family. I’ve not been, nor know anyone who has, so I can’t comment. (On to-do list!) Duncannon is also where off The Hook Whale watching goes out from in winter. ( Have done & is FAB!)

Hook whalewatching trip

On our Hook whalewatching trip

Oh, Where’s This Go?

From Duncannon the quickest way over to county Waterford is by the little ferry that leaves from Arthurstown/Ballyhack. It goes every few minutes, & the first time we encountered it was by accident on one of our  ‘exploring’ drives. We asked where it was going, in case it was headed off to Wales, but it only goes 5 minutes across the bay over to Passage East 🙂 That’s another gorgeous little fishing village.

 Full of Fun

From there you can go to one of our absolute favorite seaside villages, Dunmore East. It is a great place for families. There on the main strand you can swim, high tide or low, and there are lifeguards.  There’s not a huge amount of beach left at high tide just at the jetty, but you can always get a drink at The Strand Inn just above the beach and watch the boats go by 🙂  There are more beaches in the area, too. Tip: the fish n chips, and the chicken n chips from O’Shea’s take-away (up the road inland from The Strand, 2 minutes walk) are very good. The village is rather large, and down by the fishing harbour is Dunmore East Adventure Centre, where all sorts of activities are available. My husband, who had been very nervous of the sea, did a day’s mini sail boat course with them and loved every minute.

sea stacks & sunshine Copper Coast, Waterford

Along the Copper Coast, Waterford

From Dunmore East, you may want to head farther west along Waterford’s unspoilt Copper Coast. The next town is Tramore, home to sandy beaches,  & with a busy family seaside holiday feel. Here is  Tramore Surf Shop & School, where in the Summer kids can have a surf lesson at either 10am or 2pm. There are also family lessons & more. If you need a break from getting wet,  in the Tramore area are Lake Tour Stables, where you can do a horse trek suitable for the family. You can go several times a day, all year, and is suitable for beginners & up. (There’s an all day Copper Coast trek, too–I’d love to do that!) The Copper Coast is full of magical wee beaches, and it is well worth taking a leisurely drive along it & investigating the strands & coves (and if the younger children need a visit to something  just for them, Copper Coast Mini Farm may fit the bill) before reaching Dungarvan Town & heading inland a bit to the The Magic Road (great fun!)

Helpful Apps & Sites

Knowing the high/low tide times is quite helpful, as some beaches (like Bannow Bay, a wild, pebbly stony beach good for birdwatching) will nearly disappear at high tide. If you have a smartphone, a tide app is useful. I have Tides Near Me – Free  (Android,) & there’s also a version for iphones.  A good website to visit is Irish Water Safety, it will also list beaches which have lifeguard cover. If you enjoy nature identification, there are free apps on Android for Irish Butterflies, plus bees, and mammals. Another good app is Ireland Green Travel, for Android and on itunes.  As well as outdoor activities, it has info on green places to stay and so on. It isn’t free, but is certainly worth the couple of euros. Specifically for families is Are We There Yet Ireland, very handy for just over €2!! Android  and itunes. Also, feel free use the search function to search my site, as I’ve  posts on other things to do, eat, etc, particularly in Kilkenny and Graiguenamanagh.

Here’s a map I made of the places mentioned, move it around to see ’em all. Click on the pins for more info on each.

View Sunny Southeast Active Holiday (family friendly) in a larger map  

Hope you’ve gotten some ideas you’d like to pursue. Have fun! 


Homemade ice cream at Camphire Horse Trials & Festival

Homemade ice cream at Camphire Horse Trials & Festival. Photo: Patrick Browne

Hold up your hand if you loved horses as a child. Yep, that’s lots of you- and me, too. There’s something about children & horses, and the equine bug often lasts right through adulthood as well– but even if horse madness didn’t  continue for you, this event in Camphire may tempt you in other ways. Like: ICE CREAM! HANDMADE ice cream! I bet you didn’t grow out of that, did you? 🙂 

There are things to enjoy here for horse lovers, food lovers, dog lovers, & craft lovers of ALL ages. So have a look  at the info I got, & save a date for a fun time for that horse lover and the whole family. 

Farmer’s Market,

Camphire Horse Trials & Festival, 26-28 July

Local food and craft producers from across the region are set to feature at the Camphire International Horse Trials which will take place in west Waterford on July 26 to 28.

For those with a sweet tooth Maurice Butler from the Dungarvan based Butler’s Traditional Ice Cream will be on hand to ensure visitors enjoy some of Ireland’s finest handmade Ice-cream, Baldwin’s Farmhouse Ice-cream from Knockanore and Candy Rock Lane from Cork will also be on hand with sweet treats.

The Summerhouse Café from Lismore will be onsite with their popular local produce along with Helen Murphy’s Catering whilst Volcano Wood Fired Pizza will serve up delicious artisan pizza from their mobile wood fired pizza oven. [My note: we had coffee & several (!) cakes at Summerhouse when in Lismore for the travel writing festival, Immrama. Very nice! ]

Summerhouse cafe Lismore

Summerhouse Cafe in their Lismore premises

According to Festival Organiser, Billy Garvey, “Visitors to Camphire will be able to sample some wonderful local food produce whilst enjoying all the equestrian action of the Trials.  Furthermore, the wonderful views of the Blackwater valley provide a truly unique setting to enjoy what will be a great weekend in our outdoor Village.”

O’Flynn the masters of gourmet sausages will also be at Camphire with their popular gourmet selection. Food lovers will also enjoy the selection of seasonal produce from the award winning Country Choice from Nenagh in Tipperary. Country Choice offer the finest Irish artisan produce, plus a smaller selection of specialist products from further afield. Baristas from Coffee Express will also be at Camphire with their range of fresh coffee.

In the Craft Village, Lismore Heritage Centre, Tom Murphy Bog Oak, Felix Faulker Jewellery and H&S Basketware will have a variety of Irish handcrafted products. The Shopping Village will also host some outdoor clothing brands with wares available from O’Brien Saddlery, CWD Saddlery, Dinin Equestrian, Bucus Rugs and animal supplements available from Super Fix Waterford.

The annual festival is also set to host a stylish competition on the Festival weekend, with scouts on the look out for equestrian chic for the Dubarry Most Appropriately dressed Lady or Gentleman Competition.

Lismore, Waterford. Jack Russell Dog with yarn bombed bike

This cute Jack Russell from nearby Lismore would win any dog show!


Festival goers can also participate in and enjoy a host of outdoor pursuits and family activities including Birds of Prey displays, Archery, a Climbing Wall, Garden Games including Giant Jenga and a free Childrens’ Arts & Craft Tent. A Dog Show will take place on Sunday 28 with prizes for best Large, Medium, Small breeds and a special category for puppies!

Competitors in the Horse Trials will participate in one, two and three star classes on a course designed by Olympic Equestrian Course Designer Mike Etherington Smith.

For further information on Camphire  Horse Trials & Festival 2013, see

West Waterford is a lovely area, well worth a spin out. After the festival, you could stroll on one of the many beaches along the Copper Coast while the sun sets. Or maybe book dinner at Tannery in Dungarvan, one of my favorite places to eat (and drink salted caramel martinis, yum!) Ok, I better stop writing, all this talk of ice cream & martinis has me salivating 🙂 Enjoy west Waterford!

Author Charlie Connolly will be at Lismore Immrama

Author Charlie Connolly will be at Lismore Immrama

I’m going to wake up to the writer Charlie Connelly on the morning of 16 June; would you like to, too?  Not like that, you rude thingI mean we’re going to have a lovely breakfast with him at Lismore Immrama–and I never wake up properly until I’ve had my breakfast, how about you?

We’ll want to be fully awake, because this is going to be a very interesting breakfast with a very interesting writer. I’m currently re-reading Charlie’s book And Did Those Feet, and as well as it being full of history, walking & humour, the book is inspiring me to plan and write a journey of my own. That’s what good writers do– they bring you with them/their characters, and inspire you in some way. They inspire you to ponder an idea, imagine something in a different way, or sometimes even to take an action. Or maybe just to get up early enough to go to a Literary Breakfast. 🙂

Here’s the whole scoop from the Lismore Immrama Festival Of Travel Writing:

Awarding Winning Broadcaster Charlie Connelly to Host Literary Breakfast at Immrama

Bestselling writer and award-winning broadcaster Charlie Connelly will host the prize spot of the Literary Breakfast at the 2013 Lismore Immrama Festival on Travel Writing on June 16.

Some of Charlie’s best selling books include Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round The Shipping Forecast; In Search of Elvis and Our Man in Hibernia: Ireland, the Irish and Me. His most recent work Bring Me Sunshine deals with the perennial conversation topic of weather. His presenting experience includes the BBC Holiday programme and co-hosting BBC Radio 4′s Traveller’s Tree with Fi Glover.

Charlie is no stranger to literary audiences having hosted sell out talks for the Royal Geographical Society the Edinburgh International Book Festival and many more. Commenting on his upcoming performance at Immrama Charlie says:

“I’ll be talking through some of the more humorous stories from my literary travels around the shipping forecast map, my journey around the globe chasing the spiritual legacy of Elvis Presley and my walks recreating some of the great journeys from British andIrish history.”

When Charlie set off ‘In Search of Elvis’ there were 185,000 Elvis impersonators globally, when Elvis died in 1977 there were 185 Elvis impersonators. At this rate, by 2050, one in four people in the world will be an Elvis impersonator. Charlie Connelly set off to explore the be-sequinned and be-quiffed world ruled by the King, travelling to outposts of Elvism from Tashkent to Porthcawl, and making his own pilgrimages to Graceland and other sites held sacred by the faithful.

Commenting on his invitation to speak at Immrama Charlie said, “I’ve long hankered after an invitation to Immrama as to my mind it is the premier event on the travel writing calendar. I’m as honoured as I am delighted to be appearing this year as part of such a varied and prestigious line-up and am looking forward very much to a memorable weekend.”


Here’s more about what is on at the Lismore Immrama Festival of Travel Writing. 14- 16 June 2013.

Get your ticket soon– see you there!

Waterford Writer’s Weekend is for all ages!  Picture: Patrick Browne

Keep an eye on  their website & Twitter acct for the 2014 festival!

Even though I live in county Kilkenny, and we are- ahem- the festival capital of Ireland, I must say Waterford is brilliant for festivals too!

March brings us another Waterford festival; and you don’t actually need to be a writer- just a reader or listener- to enjoy it!

The Waterford Writer’s Weekend
runs from 21-24 March 2013, and
there will be readings, debates, discussions, workshops, & more- for all ages. The organizers have told me ”Lots of fun activities and events have been organized for young readers and writers with Teens Write Workshops, story-telling for younger children and a fun science event for schools with Paul O’Dwyer and Humphrey Jones, co-authors of A Neutron Walks into a Bar.

  I’m going to go to loads of events, and one talk I think many readers of Vibrant Ireland will be interested in Tarquin Blake’s, whose site Abandoned Ireland & book Abandoned Mansions of Ireland are full of haunting photographs.
Here’s a sampling of what’s on: 
Opening the festival on Thursday March 21 are the Seán Dunne Young Writers’ Awards. The Awards are a tribute to the work of the late poet, and continue to promote the work of aspiring young authors.
On Friday, a discussion on the uses of social media to promote anything from a book to a small business will be followed by a session hosted by three successful self-published authors offering practical advice to those wishing to pursue the independent publishing route. 
 On Friday evening ex-Alternative Miss Ireland Joanna Ryde will host an event called “The Edge of Glory,” a talk about her books, blogging and making it big.
Greyfriars Art Gallery hosts  the very topical symposium“Ireland in Europe, where now?” with Dr. Elaine Byrne, Sunday Independent columnist and Irish expert to the European Commission on corruption.
I’ve heard Mark speak before; he’s very entertaining!
Is this ^ why he gave up festival drink for Lent?
(I took this when he spoke at our Town Of Books Festival 2012)
On Saturday, 23 March novelist and dramatist Dave Duggan will talk about his theatre work which has been seen in Ireland, New York, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Afghanistan, & about having his work aired by the BBC and RTE. 
Award winning blogger & journalist Mona Wise, Mark Graham of ‘A Year of Festivals’ fame, and Anna Carey of fashion blog will discuss whether“To Blog or Not to Blog.” 
Brian Kennedy and Billy Costine will be “Talking Sport,” while poet K. S. Moore will read poetry from her collections. 
 Best-selling author Kate Kerrigan will discuss her Ellis Island trilogy of novels and protagonist Ellie Hogan’s emigration to New York and return to Ireland.

At the “Inspiring Lives” talk, Debbie Deegan, founder of the ‘To Russia With Love’ charity which has helped over 5,000 Russian orphans improve their lives, will tell the story of her experiences in Russia, from the intricacies of soviet-style bureaucracy, to the threat of violence from international criminals.

Those are just a few of the events! Click here for the full programme.

A series of free events will take place throughout too, from a ‘Tell Your Own Story’ session encouraging everyone to get writing, to a wonderful genealogy workshop with leading Irish family history expert John Grehnam.
I’ll be there for lots of the festival- hope you will be too!  See you in Waterford!

Friday is the end of the world? Right so, better go to Winterval while you can! 
 In 2014 Winterval is going to run  through to January- so keep an eye out for more info closer to the time.
 Taking my own advice, I’m gathering up some friends to go have a bang-up time in Waterford. The Irish home of Winterval puts on fantastic, award winning festivals, & if you’re tempted, I’ve a few tips for your visit.
Dooley’s hotel, Waterford City, Ireland. Big rooms, & big info binder 🙂

To really enjoy the festivities, consider staying overnight. In September Waterford puts on the Harvest Festival, and for 2012 I was invited to be part of its blogger’s tour. I was kindly put up in Dooley’s hotel, and now I’m returning (on my own money) to take advantage of their large double-twin rooms.
Why I’m returning to Dooley’s:
 Location:  Easy to find. On the quay; a handy base for walking anywhere in the city centre.
 Value: I’m sharing the large double-twin room, with full Irish breakfast for under 40€ pp for 2.
Helpfulness: Staff cheerful and eager to assist. Binder full of local info in the room.
It is, of course, very clean- so important!
Update: when I checked in, Dooley’s said that the room would be comp. (That wasn’t pre-arranged, & not why I went back to Dooley’s.) 
That was fab, & it allowed us some extra funds to spend in Waterford- which we did! 😀
Bodega in Waterford City, Ireland. Great fun, food, & drink!
 I can’t comment on Dooley’s breakfast, as I was a bit, ahem, unhungry after a wonderful evening of delicious local-food tasting platters and wine, craft beer & cider at Bodega resuaurant. (I know, I know- my sampling of all those types of drink was not well thought out!) We’re back at Bodega this visit, but I’ll be smarter. There’s too much to enjoy at Winterval to have a sore head! (PS another place I’ve loved eating in in Waterford is Emiliano’s.)
A  Sample Winterval to-see list 
  • The Waterford Illuminates light show  Free. At Cathedral Square, til 23 Dec. Shows each hour on the hour from 5-10pm (Thurs & Sun last show 9pm) 
  • The Viking Christmas Experience Free, Greyfriars Chruch.  Fri-Sun noon-4pm, Tues-Thurs 11am-2pm ”The settlement will be filled with the sights and sounds (and some smells) of Viking society. From authentic cooking utensils, to swords and shields to work and craft tools,it’s the closest you’ll ever get to life as a Viking!”


  • The Toy Museum Free, City Hall. 11am-6pm Toys old & new since the 1930s. Nostalgia!
  • A Georgian Christmas  €5, Bishop’s Place. Mon- Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm 


On the day of the ‘End of The World’ 😉 go out in style with music, tea & mince pies at:
The Early Byrds
Renaissance music in costume
Friday 21st December 8pm
”The Early Byrds are a group of musicians from Dublin and the South-East who have a love of early music and play and sing music from the Renaissance era in period costumes. Come and experience a taste of the 17th Century in the historic St Patrick’s Church in Waterford.”
Tickets available on the door €10, €5 conc.
Tea and mince pies included.
The Georgian experience tour at Bishops Palace, Waterford City, Ireland- tis very good
Yep,you guessed it; these folks from The (non Christmas version) Georgian Experience tour are looking quite concerned about the end of the world!

Seriously, I did the tour in September, and tis entertaining & interesting. The house is full of treasures, and with the tour you learn the back-story from the characters who lived at the time.

During Winterval the cafe at Bishop’s Palace will be offering authentic Georgian food as well as its normal fare. I’ve eaten here twice and it has been quite tasty- I’m looking forward to seeing what’s on the menu now.

I’ve not mentioned the craft workshops, markets, Santa’s Grotto and more for children & adults– go browse what all is on! Winterval runs until 23 December 2012- click    

Have a great time at Winterval-  don’t worry, the Earth will still be around on Saturday 🙂 

Dan Fraher, Dungarvan, Ireland in his G.A.A athletic outfit c1880

Do you enjoy fascinating, & fun, historic photos? If you do, then Waterford County Museum has some treats in store for you. 1st  follow their photo-filled twitter account @WaterfordMuseum  (photos in this post are from it)  and 2ndly, have a gander at their new book: Dungarvan: A Historic Guide & Town Trail. I’ll put the video of the book at the bottom of this post. The book looks like it will be of interest to lots of folk- here’s the scoop:

”Waterford County Museum will launch their new 80 page guide book about Dungarvan on Wednesday 28th November. The guide book content includes a history of Dungarvan, articles on notable local personalities, historic sites in the locality, a town walking trail, numerous full page photos and maps. The book is produced to a very high standard and the museum will arrange shipping worldwide. All profits from the book go the upkeep of the museum.

Weekly shopping trip to Dungarvan, Waterford, Ireland for Josephine Glavin, Carriglea & her cart c1940
One of the book’s authors William Fraher said that “I am delighted with the finish and appearance of the book. The larger scale landscape format allows the wonderful photographs from the museum archive to be seen to best advantage. I think it would make an ideal Christmas gift for anyone with relatives or friends living abroad”.
Co-author Willie Whelan stated that “We think this book will be attractive to local history enthusiasts, tourists, locals and school children. It also provides an authoritative basic historical guide to the Dungarvan area.”Dungarvan: A Historic Guide & Town Trail (printed by local company Printmaster) is available to buy in the museum at St. Augustine Street, Dungarvan for €10 or  bought on-line via
Support from Waterford Leader Partnership has enabled the price of the book to be kept at €10 allowing as wide a range of people as possible access to their local history.
Personally, I’ve had wonderful visits to Dungarvan! If you go, both places we’ve eaten at are very good- Nude Food, & my very favorite restaurant food in Ireland is from The Tannery. I’m sorry to say I’ve not done a post on Dungarvan town yet, but to further whet your Dungarvan appetite, the town is coastal, & here is a post on the area that includes Dungarvan- the Copper Coast
Here’s the video on the book 🙂
For more information about buying the book contact:
Phone: 058 45960

Get Ready To Drool (& Eat!) 


From 2011’s fest- the Viking’s table


 Waterford Harvest Festival is returning on 10-16 September, and it is going to be another tummy-tempting event! We went last year and nearly had to be rolled home after the enormous Sunday food market. So have a read of what’s on this year, & mark your calendar, because you definitely should be there!
Here’s some info from the festival as to what is on:
A host of top Chefs are lined-up to feature at the Waterford Harvest Festival from Sept 10 to 16.
Neven Maguire, Kevin Dundon and Darina Allen will all be out in force to showcase their culinary skills in addition to BBC’s Martin Dorey, the presenter of the hit TV series ‘One Man and his Campervan’ and author of the Camper Van Cookbook.
Taking to the streets of Waterford City this week the city’s top restaurant Chefs unveiled the festivals restaurant trail which features, a Curry War, Meet the Chef Cookery Demo’s, Bambina Pizzini, an afternoon of Funky Irish Food, a Restaurant Masterclass and more.
Chef Kevin Dundon will launch the festivities at the brand new Medieval Museum on Monday, September 10 at 1pm with the Super Valu Mobile kitchen for an afternoon of food, fun and freebies!
Waterford Harvest Fest Chefs!
Also on September 10 join food critic and wine connoisseur Paolo Tullio and take a journey through Waterford’s Wine history and tour the wonderfully atmospheric 13th century Mayors Wine Vault.
Throughout the week from Tuesday, September 11 to 14 a daily ‘Meet the Chefs’ open-air free cookery demonstration will take place.
Wednesday afternoon, September 12 renowned chef Neven Maguire will take to the stage at the Tourism & Leisure building at WIT and chat about his favourite recipes.
On Wednesday evening, September 12, a very special event will take place with all proceeds raised going to Waterford Hospice. Neven Maguire will showcase his recipes featuring local produce. Guests will be treated to wine and canapés at 7.30pm at the House of Waterford Crystal.
A highlight of Harvest festivities, the Harvest Dinner take place on Thursday, September 13 at 7.30pm at Waterford Castle. Enjoy a seven course tasting menu – featuring dishes that relate to the ‘History of Food in Waterford’ where Head Chef Michael Quinn will introduce each course.
On Friday, September 14 The Artisan Beer Festival takes place at 6pm and will feature BBC’s Martin Dorey, the presenter of the hit TV series ‘One Man and his Campervan’ and author of the Camper Van Cookbook will cook up a storm. Martin will showcase his expertise on outdoor cooking and takes the helm at 7.30pm.
Also on Friday 14 The Big Barbeque’ takes place at the Viking Triangle. This is the perfect opportunity for everyone to enjoy free access to Waterford’s exciting new heritage developments within the Viking triangle, including the Medieval Museum and the Bishops palace.
Martin Dorey will also host a free cookery demonstration on the Quayside at ‘Feastival’ on Sunday, September 16 where the quayside will be taken over by food producers from across the country creating Ireland’s longest food market. This cookery demo will take place at 2pm.
Lebanese food from 2011 Harvest fest- soo tasty!
The 2012 GIY Gathering will take place in the city during the Harvest festival and sees BBC’s Alys Fowler and Mark Diacono of River Cottage join a host of Irish stars on September 15 and 16.  The GIY Gathering will also include guest speaker Roger Doiron from the US, the inspiration behind Michelle Obama’s White House vegetable garden and founder of Kitchen Gardeners International.
The city will be in festival mode from September 10 to 16 with events on offer for all foodies and the family. For a full programme of events see

   MORE on the Harvest Festival HERE and even MORE here 🙂
from 2011- this delicious ice cream was made on a small Wicklow farm
I’m happy to say that I will be visiting the Harvest Festival on the 13th &14th, on the Blogger’s tour, and I’ll also be there on the Sunday 16th for the fantastic Feastival. Hope you will get a chance to come, or all the tweets I’ll do of the food will just leave you drooling!
 Happy Feasting!