Every year, without fail, I will always be busy on the first weekend of October.
Because these are the dates that the food festival takes place in the small town of Dingle, in the south-west of Ireland.
Dingle (or an Daingean in Irish) is a tourist town that is well known for quite a few things. Most notably in 1917 the movie Ryan’s Daughter was filmed around the peninsula. While since 1983 a bottle nose dolphin name Fungie has lived in the bay, and has become quite the attraction; with tourists flocking to the town so they can take a boat out to see him. More recently, in 2016, scenes of the latest Star Wars movie were filmed in the surrounding areas of the town.
But aside from all that;
Dingle is also where I call home.
My town holds many festivals, concerts and parades throughout the year but by far my favourite time of year is the Dingle Food Festival.
For the entire weekend the streets are blocked off and the town is made pedestrianised. Food stalls fill the town and businesses, from art galleries, to pubs and restaurants partake in a food trail. Following a route, you can explore the town and enjoy a small dish of a product a business is offering. These dishes usually range from 2 to 4 euro.
This year my friend Emma accompanied me around the Food Festival. She has never been to the festival and her excitement was quite contagious.
Emma is vegan but finding her food to eat was extremely easy. On of our first stops was Murphy’s Ice Cream, for their raspberry and cherry sorbet. The cherries are infused with kirsch brandy. As part of the food festival, the ice cream parlour also created a black forest gateau special . using the cherry sorbet, homemade brownie pieces, chocolate sauce and fresh cream. It was heaven.
My first taste of what was being offered on the trail was Out of the Blue’s Seafood Restaurants squid accompanied with wine. Tacos and seafood seemed to be the popular food of choice this year. But the usual treats were found as well, such as kangaroo on skewers ( it tastes like steak for those wondering), raclette (melted cheese on bread) from the Little Cheese Shop (yes my town is adorable). And if you’re looking for Dingle Gin, it’s almost used in everything (an art gallery was doing Dingle Gin soup as part of the taste trail!)
Emma couldn’t hide her excitement when she found a stall selling vegan burger or a NutBurger as it was called. The family run business from Co. Cork called The Nut Case Food Company creates gourmet nut roasts and veggie burgers.
The Crinkle Store which is a sweet little shop that does coffee and sells artisan chocolate, sheep rugs, candles and other pretty things that you didn’t know you wanted. As part of the weekend, Crinkle were selling homemade meringues with a compote of your choice. I chose a raspberry, cherry and Dingle Gin infused compote and it was magnificent.
Though the Dingle Food Festival is a day to eat to your hearts content, it’s also a day sincerely full of community spirit. Everybody in the town comes together to make this day special. The creativity that goes into the day and the effort everyone puts in, is always something I notice. What I love most about the festival, is that it’s very much a community experience and I spend most of the day stuffing my face with food; while lifting my head to nod and greet someone who passes me because 97% of the time I know them.
I’m going to end this post with pictures of a puppy (because more things should include photos of puppies). We bumped into this little guy outside my local church. His owner told us he was two weeks into his training of becoming an assistant dog. He looks very calm in these pictures, but don’t be fooled, he was actually crazy.
I hope these pictures warm your heart as much as they did for me <3.