Green and Vibrant, Travel

Food Festivals, Foraging and Fun to be had in Sligo!

May 31, 2014

One of the drawbacks of being a vegetable grower is that since we began growing our own food, we rarely get to take breaks away together. Partly perhaps, because we don’t want to leave the vegetables we’ve carefully natured over the past few months, but also finding minders for our chickens, pigs, dogs and cats for more than one night can be difficult.

Strandhill, Sligo

Photo Credit: Val Rubus – Strandhill, Sligo

Thankfully, living on an island means that’s not too much of a problem. In four hours we can be standing at the water’s edge of Donegal or in under an hour walking in the Wicklow mountains. We may not be guaranteed weeks of blue skies, but we’ve fantastic scenery, superb food, wildlife, big seas, star filled skies, friendship, fun, faeries and festivals every weekend, all on hand to entertain, unwind and help us relax.

Holidays in Ireland

My first trip to Ireland and the one that sowed the seed to up anchor and move all my worldly goods here, was spent as a pillion passenger on a large motorbike. I shared my perch with the driver (naturally) a tent, sleeping bags and enough camping gear to make sure we stayed dry and comfortable. We travelled across the southern half of the country from Tipperary to Cork, Kerry and back to Dublin again. We found caves and mountains, hot warm dinners and wet windy roads and I spent hours on the back of the bike in a world of my own, lost with desire to spend more time here.

My second trip many years later involved landing at Dublin airport with a friend and a backpack, climbing onto a bus destined to Galway, and spending most of the week sleeping in hostels and exploring all the lively pubs that we were able to find in the vibrant city that inspired many a tune.

Jump forward several more years and my next trip over the Irish sea was with the man who was to become Mr G. We took the time to tour around, visiting the peninsulas and wild Atlantic coast, falling in love with Beara and dreaming of owning a campsite and surf shop, somewhere we could grow old, living a self-sufficient beach life by the ocean’s edge.

Sligo Surfing

Sligo Surf – Photo Credit: Val Robus

Settling Down

It’s now 16 years since we finally made the move over, choosing instead a small holding life on a hilltop rather than the wilder one we’d envisaged. Over the years we’ve taken several short breaks to various parts of this beautiful island that we now call our home, almost always under canvas, and not nearly as many as we should have given how close we live to all the places we still want to see!

Unlike Mr G, the one place I’ve yet to visit, the place that everyone talks about with a slightly wistful air, is Sligo. But that’s about to change.

So Sligo 2014 Food Festival

so sligo imageWith thanks to the So Sligo 2014 Food Festival team, a few bloggers that include Vibrant Ireland, Irish Food Guide, Sligo Secrets, A Taste of Ireland and Isle Magazine among others, have been invited to Sligo to experience a fabulous sounding couple days that will be showcasing everything Sligo has to offer.

The festival starts on Wednesday 11th June and continues until Sunday evening with things happening all over the county. Starting with Sligo town, the Só Sligo Food Trail has over 30 tapas sized house specialities available for €5 each.

I’m particularly looking forward to the seaweed walk and hope to share some of the tips I learn with you. There will also be urban foraging, fermentation and cheese making workshops as well as lots of food demonstrations and talks by local and celebrity chefs.

During the festival JP McMahon will be bringing a pop up version of his award-winning Aniar Restaurant in Galway to The Model on Friday and there will be a Yeats Nobel Dinner by Alan Fitzmaurice on Thursday 12th (the eve of Yeats Day which is also being celebrated in Sligo).

Other events include the World Irish Stew Championship, something that everybody is encouraged to enter by bringing along two portions of stew (they have facilities to heat & serve), as well as several events for children too. A food village will be setting up from 1pm on Friday to Sunday evening, and before wrapping it up, there’ll be a Street Feast where people can bring their own food – or buy it from the stalls and food outlets, enjoying together!

I’ll be reporting back how my trip goes and am particularly looking forward to horse riding on the Sligo beaches and the eco-tourism side of things, something that Ireland can offer in abundance.

Sligo Horseriding

Photo Credit: Val Rubus

If you think the festival sounds interesting and would like to head along, check out the So Sligo website for full details and be sure to find me on any of the social media channels and say hello if you’re in Sligo.

Photo’s for this post have been reproduced with kind permission from Val of Magnumlady.com, a Sligo photographer who captures life there so well.

 

8 Comments

  • Reply Pat Murphy May 31, 2014 at 8:44 pm

    You will fall in love all over again!

    • Reply greensideupveg June 2, 2014 at 11:37 pm

      Really looking forward to it Pat and perhaps it will be the first of many visits there 🙂

  • Reply Naomi June 2, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Sounds fab, might even try to pop up there myself 🙂

    • Reply greensideupveg June 2, 2014 at 11:32 pm

      I’m guessing it’s not too far away from you Naomi? Lots of fun by the sounds of it, for singles and families.

  • Reply Lorna June 2, 2014 at 10:52 pm

    It sounds wonderful, it is years since I have been to Sligo. Like you, it is hard to get away, 90 cows tend to need a minder which can get expensive. Val’s photos are always wonderful and the whole trip sound idyllic. Good to see these businesses reaching out to travel bloggers as well as eco/green bloggers like yourself (emphasis used to be on foodie bloggers I think). Hope you all have an amazing time.

    • Reply greensideupveg June 2, 2014 at 11:31 pm

      Thanks Lorna and yes, it’s good to see a mix of bloggers covering various activities and angles. Life on the land is idyllic in many ways but it is 365 days of the year pretty much.

  • Reply Kat - The Purple Page June 4, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I love Sligo it is one of my favourite counties. The restaurants up there are amazing and it so close to coast as well. I have never been up to the food festival but will get around to it one of these years!

    • Reply greensideupveg June 4, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      That’s great to hear Kat! I’m hearing so many good things about it can’t wait to get there now! Hope you make it back soon too 🙂

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