Hurrah! Food Festival season is upon us and we've got a run down of all the great culinary gatherings being held around Ireland this autumn.

A gourmet weekend is the perfect recipe for a tasty break in Ireland with family and friends. As well as sampling lots of tasty treats you’ll meet the food producers, experience the culinary skills of top chefs and celebrate Ireland’s rich food heritage.

You can watch a taster of what to expect here

Donegal Delights
You can complement the fireworks on your palate with fireworks in the sky if you head north for the fourth Taste of Donegal, (August 24th – 26th), a serious foodie’s event centred around a tented village on the Pier in Donegal town.
This year’s mouth-watering festival features a tasty series of demos from celebrity chefs including Neven Maguire, Catherine Fulvio and Kevin Dundon. On the final night, foodies get to dress up as their favourite chef and dance the night away at the Wacky Cooks Ball.

Waterford’s Harvest Heritage
Pack up the car with the entire family and head to the Waterford Harvest Festival (September 10th - 16th) for a celebration of food heritage and culture. This festival is unique in that it recreates a modern version of the traditional harvest feasting period.
The festival centrepiece will be the food village on the spectacular Waterford City Quays with a stellar line up of celebrity chefs including Neven Maguire, Darina Allen, Martin Dorey and ‘Druid chef’ Rory Morahan. Fun filled foodie events are promised with cookery demonstrations, food tours, foodie films, tastings, restaurant trails, street performances and big outdoor music gigs.

Oysters Galore in Galway
September is oyster season and if you have a love for these slippery delicacies Galway is the place to be with two great festivals celebrating this shellfish. The pretty seaside village of Clarenbridge has been harvesting oysters since Roman times and has put itself firmly on the gastronomic map with its Clarenbridge Oyster Festival (September 15th and 16th).
This year’s festival incorporates a traditional market day, golf outings, art exhibitions, yacht races, fine wine and gourmet evenings.
The Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival, (September 28th - 30th), is the world’s longest running international oyster festival, and a great place to go oyster slurping! Events that include a Seafood Trail of some of the city’s finest restaurants, a Taste of the Sea showcase of local seafood producers, and the National and World Oyster Opening Championships.

Wine ‘n' Dine in Westport
Make a date to meet Mayo Food Heroes at the Westport Food Festival (September 21 – 23rd). After a successful inaugural festival last year it is no surprise to see it return with a scrumptious programme of events. The family friendly festival programme will incorporate day and evening events at different venues across Westport Town. You can enjoy the food village on The Mall, wine and cheese tasting events, young chef competition, celebrity chef competition and don’t miss the festival dinner, Come Dine With Me.

Award Winning Dingle
If you want to combine a weekend of great food with rousing traditional Irish music grab a few friends and head for the Dingle Peninsula Food and Wine Festival (October 4th -7th). Festival goers will feast their way through the streets with over 45 venues taking part in the Taste Trail. Using the unique Dingle festival currency you can sample local and national foods in shops, pubs, galleries, restaurants and cafes. The Festival hosts the Blas na hEireann National Irish Food Awards, and there will also be farmers markets, on-street entertainment and face painting fun for kids. And keep your eye open for Pop Up restaurants in some unusual locations.

Gourmet Kinsale
Kinsale in Co. Cork is known as Ireland’s gourmet capital, and foodies will be flocking there from October 12th – 14th for the annual Kinsale Gourmet Festival. The festival opens with A Taste of West Cork Dining Experience and don’t miss the Festival Ball, at which guests will be treated to an eight course feast of local delicacies, followed by dancing till late.
The next day join Alice, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare and Dormouse for the Mad Hatter’s Taste of Kinsale, an escorted food tour around the 10 members of Kinsale’s Good Food Circle. On Sunday it’s Fruits de Mer, an afternoon of fishy delights including lobster, prawns and crabs, over our course lunch washed down by delicious wines and another evening’s dancing.

Foraging for Mushrooms in Leitrim!
Have you ever walked through fields and woodlands and wondered which mushrooms growing were safe to eat, and which were best avoided? You might get your answers at The International Mushroom Festival Ireland (13th and 14th October) at Killegar in Co. Leitrim. This is one of the only mushroom festivals in the world where professional mushroom growers and foragers meet to exchange scientific knowledge and information handed down through generations.
Cookery demonstrations and tastings will be presented by TV celebrity chefs Neven Maguire and Brian McDermott. A family event, there will be treasure hunts, storytelling and educational games for children inside a giant mushroom!

Savour Kilkenny!
Kilkenny is well known as a hurling county but it has made great strides in recent years in putting itself on Ireland’s culinary map. Fifty Shades of Flavour at Savour are promised at the 6th annual Savour Kilkenny Food Festival which takes place over the October Bank Holiday weekend (October 25th -29th). Kilkenny Castle will once again provide the magnificent backdrop for the gourmet event, with a tented food village on the Parade Plaza.
The emphasis this year is on home grown and wholesome, with award winning artisan food producers showcasing their delicious product. Some of Irelands leading chefs, including Rozanne Stevens, will be doing some inspiring food demonstrations

More Food Dates for your diary!
All Ireland Craft Beer Festival, Doolin, Co. Clare (24th – 26th August) and RDS Dublin (7th -9th September)
Mitchelstown Artisan Food Festival and Food Awards, Co. Cork (26th August)
Middleton Food & Drink Festival, Co. Cork (8th September)
A Taste of West Cork Food Festival, Skibbereen, Co. Cork, (10th – 16th September

For more info check out www.discoverireland.ie

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