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I’ve remarked before that one of the wonderfully unexpected side effects of having this food blog has been a growing sense of nationalistic food pride. I’ve had the good fortune of being able to travel around the country in search of some of the tastiest morsels being produced by passionate producers the country over.

The weekend before last, I found myself back in Inishowen for the second annual Inishfood Festival. The festival was founded last year in the most delightfully organic way, fed by newly found Twitter connections and encouraged by food enthusiasm, led by Donal Doherty from Harry’s Bar & Restaurant in Bridgend. No doubt we’ll find ourselves back at next year’s Inishfood to find it having grown again, as more and more foodies from the Inishowen peninsula and beyond get on board to share their knowledge and love of Irish food. Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday fog lifting from Dingle harbour

Dingle is a very special place. Magical, some might even say. I’d take any excuse to visit, and last weekend I had the wonderful opportunity of being a judge at the Blas na hEireann food awards at the Dingle Food Festival.

The Dingle Food Festival is easily the best food festival I’ve been to in Ireland, from the perspective of a punter going down to graze on local foods. It’s not just the locality’s natural beauty that helps, but it’s also the community present in the town that boosts the atmosphere at this festival. It’s as if you’re only allowed to live in Dingle if you’re a really lovely and inspiring person. Who also makes amazing cheese.

Myself and Niall stayed in the beautifully elegant Emlagh House. We ate our way around Dingle, taking in Out Of The Blue and An Canteen. We visited the Dingle Brewing Company and supped the delicious Tom Crean’s lager. We nibbled our way through the town by way of the often mouth-watering (and consistently excellent value) Taste Trail. We had a masterclass with Kieran Murphy of Murphy’s Ice-Cream and tried his outrageous Extreme Cocoa drink.

We met Sharon from Foodie Fancies and ate too many of her ah-mazing cupcakes. We went on a fishing trip out on the sea in the Sunday morning fog, caught heaps of mackerel and pollock, and then had it cooked for us two hours later in The Marina Inn. Niall finally got to meet his black pudding hero Jack McCarthy at the For Food’s Sake talks, which also featured the truly inspiring Gianna Ferguson among others.

Perhaps not so much a Dingle Invasion as a happy visit, a few bloggers made the trip all the more enjoyable. Thanks to Bill, Sharon, Lily and family, Ollie, Keith and family, Kelly and Geoff (and Liv, of course) for the wonderful company throughout the weekend.

And a huge thank you to the organisers who looked after our group of bloggers so very well.

Have a look over here for a full list of the Blas na hEireann winners and keep reading for a few pics from the weekend.

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