West Waterford Festival of Food is the annual showcase of all that is on offer in Dungarvan and surrounding regions from our food producers, restaurateurs and hospitality providers.
West Waterford Festival of Food is a professionally run festival, which is driven by the community.
It takes over 680 people to enable the festival to run over a weekend in April, and every person in that community is vital. This group is comprised of our sponsors and local businesses who get behind the festival each year, our volunteers who join us year after year and are on-the-ground at events making sure each is a success and our community partners - all the schools, clubs and community groups who organise events, volunteer their time and provide facilities to the festival each year.
Since 2008 the festival has grown to be one of the most successful, best loved and well attended in the country, where foodies, foragers, farmers and families can explore the region, learn of its rich food heritage, get hands on learning from producers, chefs and growers, have amazing dining experiences and above all have a weekend of fun in West Waterford.
With a truly huge array of events on offer over the festival weekend there is truly something for everyone in West Waterford and we pride ourselves on our accessibility to chefs, events, producers and more over the weekend.
The festival culminates in our Farmer's and Country Market each Sunday of the festival weekend - the showcase of the best the region has to offer in terms of artisan food producers. This annual favourite is a must for both filling the shopping basket and taking in the sights, smells and sounds as you 'graze the square', and meet some amazing characters in the process!
west waterford festival of food over the years
10 years of fabulous food and famously fun times – West Waterford Festival of Food 2017 celebrated its tenth birthday in 2017.
A Michelin-starred OX popped up for lunch in The Tannery, renowned chef Stephen Harris of The Sportsman in Kent cooked dinner, there was Holy Smoke to be had and bespoke gin to create, the new Greenway was cycled and the launch of the exciting new Waterford Food Trail took place, there were superfoods and super chefs, old hands and emerging talents, tapas and trails, foraging and family fun, dramatic dinners and brilliant BBQs – in 2017 the West Waterford Festival of Food had the best birthday party ever!
The 10th annual West Waterford Festival of Food celebrations kicked off on Friday 21st, with a number of events during the day and the launch party in Dungarvan’s Grattan Square at 5 p.m. One of the perennial favourites, the Restaurant Trails, the ultimate movable feast, started on Friday night too, giving participants the chance to enjoy each course in a different restaurant. Three courses and three hundred per cent more craic, the Restaurant Trail was a delicious, sociable introduction to this most friendly of festivals.
Other Friday night events included the Showcase Waterford Dinner, which saw some of Waterford’s best chef talent joining forces to deliver a seven-course tasting menu demonstrating their skills and the bounty of exceptional ingredients available from the county. Chefs Shane McGrath (The Cliff House Hotel), Darren Collins (The Olive Tree) and Paula Hannigan (Waterford Castle) worked their magic with local produce they know and love. And Friday night was also fish night in Lawlor’s Hotel, a celebration of Dungarvan’s maritime heritage with a menu focused on the finest fresh local seafood.
On Saturday night, the Tannery continued the festival tradition of hosting an exceptional cooking talent from elsewhere – this year that role going to chef Stephen Harris of The Sportsman in Whitstable. This informal but brilliant seaside gastropub won Restaurant of the Year 2016 from Restaurant Magazine, and chef Harris’ sensational skills with local seafood were showcased to maximum effect in The Tannery on Saturday night.
There were more well-known names popping up in The Tannery the following day too, as OX came down from Belfast to cook a very special Sunday lunch. Fresh from their celebrated pop-up in partnership with the World’s Best Bar, The Dead Rabbit in New York, this was a unique opportunity for festival-goers to experience some of the finest cooking to be had anywhere on this island from the Michelin-star Belfast restaurant.
Every day of West Waterford Festival of Food saw a busy schedule of trails and tours, from seaweed foraging, taking one of the interesting Bus Bia tours with their three different itineraries full of fascinating visits to local farmers and producers, or dropping in to the Health Hub, a venue dedicated to the latest health and wellness trends in food, which had talks, panel discussions, films and demos running all weekend.
Once again during this year’s West Waterford Festival of Food the Saturday focus was down by the water, with Quayside Saturday, an opportunity to enjoy fun activities, gorgeous seafood whist browsing the stalls or simply the beautiful views along the water’s edge. Quayside Saturday showcased the waterside aspects of this seaside town, this year with boat trips from the jetty, all the fun of the RNLI Duck Race and 40 new stalls along the quay.
A key event at every West Waterford Festival of Food is the hugely popular Farmer’s Market, this year on Sunday April 23rd. One of the largest artisan food markets on the island, and it was the biggest yet with over 100 stalls showcasing the best producers and artisans of the region. Thousands of people met the producers, filled their basket and strolled the square taking in the sights and scents of the various stalls.
For something a little different, renowned pit-master Holy Smoke’s John Relihan demoed his mastery of low and slow cooking with fire, and local favourites Mezze hosted a plant-based Middle-Eastern pop-up. The Irish Craft in a Glass series of talks offered a series of opportunities to taste and learn about the increasingly popular craft beer, gin, cider and whiskeys of Ireland, and there was a busy lineup of cookery demos in the Town Hall, curated by local legend Eunice Power, as well as a return of the hugely popular Bake Off.
Always key to the West Waterford Festival of Food, and an integral part of this year’s programme are the little cooks. With plenty of events perfect for all from toddlers to teens, West Waterford Festival of Food 2017 saw little chefs shine with events such as Busy with Biscuits, as well as workshops including one for little pizza chefs and some family fun at King John’s Castle.
Highlights of our 2018 Festival
Now in its 11th year, West Waterford Festival of Food 2018 is Celebrating Our Farmers, from the land and sea
Every year during the West Waterford Festival of Food the town and its hinterland come together in a true community spirit to deliver an extraordinary array of events in an interesting, event-packed schedule over a weekend of fascinating discussions and great food. This year the overarching theme is one of celebration – Celebrating Our Farmers, from the land and sea.
Now in its 11th year, this year’s festival runs from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd of April, officially kicking off on Friday 20th, with the Waterford Way Tapas Trail, the ultimate movable feast, starting on Friday night. Giving participants the chance to enjoy one hero dish in a selection of different restaurants, the Waterford Way Tapas Trail is a delicious, sociable introduction to this most friendly of festivals.
Other Friday night events include the Secret Suppers, a new festival element where four chefs – Eunice Power, Shane McGrath (The Cliff House Hotel), Arun Kapil (Green Saffron), and Chris McGowan (Wine & Brine) each cook for a small group of guests in a secret location. These will be four exclusive dinner parties created by four very different chefs set in four period homes in the area, with numbers of guests extremely limited – get your tickets early!
Mexican chef and co-owner of Picado Mexican Pantry, Lily Ramirez-Foran will be cooking up a Mexican-inspired storm with a pop-up in the unusual venue of the brewery of Dungarvan Brewing Company on Friday night also, with a tasting of a range of the brewery’s many fine beers. Living and cooking in Ireland for 15 years, Lily is the lady behind the popular food blog, A Mexican Cook, and a woman on a mission to showcase Mexican food beyond its clichés and stereotypes, so this is an opportunity to try a true taste of Mexico.
Saturday sees journalist Catherine Cleary bring back The Appetite Talks for a special one-off session at the festival. Taking place from 11am-4pm, these are talks with teeth, looking at a crossroads moment for food and farming, where experts take a long hard look at where Irish food is now and what the future holds.
For a supper with a difference, Saturday night sees a one-woman show – Charolais, written and performed by Noni Stapleton – in Dungarvan Mart. A 70-minute play which is a surreal, black comedy of love, longing and one woman’s intense rivalry with a Charolais heifer, appropriately, this is accompanied by a supper of beef stew by Eunice Power!
Every day of West Waterford Festival of Food sees a busy schedule of trails and tours, whether it’s seaweed or forest foraging, taking one of the interesting Bus Bia tours through the West Waterford countryside with their different itineraries full of fascinating visits to local farmers and producers, or simply dropping in to the many talks, tastings, panel discussions, films and demos running throughout the town all weekend.
Once again during this year’s West Waterford Festival of Food the Saturday focus is down by the water, with Quayside Saturday, an opportunity to enjoy fun activities like the RNLI Duck Race, gorgeous seafood as you browse the stalls or marvel at the talents in the Seafood Demo Marquee, or simply the beautiful views along the water’s edge. And another key event at every West Waterford Festival of Food is the hugely popular Farmer’s Market, this year on Sunday April 22nd. One of the largest artisan food markets on the island, this year is set to be the biggest yet with over 100 stalls showcasing the best producers and artisans of the region, along with a full schedule of live entertainment and a Meet the Makers chefs’ demo tent.
Always key to the West Waterford Festival of Food, and an integral part of this year’s programme are the little cooks. With plenty of events perfect for all from toddlers to teens, West Waterford Festival of Food 2018 will see little chefs shine with events and workshops so there’s plenty of options for a foodie day out for all the family.
Aon bhliain déag de bhia den scoth agus spraoi na féile atá á cheiliúradh ag Féile Bia Iarthar Phort Láirge i 2018, and this year has a special emphasis on being dá-teangach, with an ambition to be Ireland’s first food festival with a bi-lingual brochure, encouragement for the best use of Irish at one of the market stalls, and with many events and activities on offer both as Gaeilge and bilingually.
Some of Ireland’s finest chefs, producers, stall-holders and all round lovers of fine food come to the beautiful coastal town of Dungarvan from 20th-22nd April to celebrate this fantastic Irish food festival. Combining the best of food and drink, engaging events, pop-up restaurants, one of Ireland’s largest farmers’ markets, trails and tours, kids’ cookery, and much more, the 11th annual West Waterford Festival of food is a must visit for food lovers everywhere.