Kilkenny Wins

I love where I live. I have the city and the shore and the mountains on my doorstep and a great town full of family and friends around me but, last weekend, I was seriously tempted up sticks to relocate to the sunny South East!


I spent two  fantastic days in Co. Kilkenny where I attended the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival and visited Thomastown for The Night of 1000 Feasts and a food and craft trail. The experience gave me enough material for about 1000 blog-posts. In fact, I could write at length about each and every event, meal, food producer and craftsperson I met, but then I'd probably have to re-name the blog 'I Love Kilkenny' and then what would I do with all the unicorns and fairies?

The Savour Food Festival in Kilkenny City
What I will do, though is tell you all about the highlights of my trip and all about the best places to source locally produced food and hand crafted wonderfulness, so that you can get ready for the upcoming night of several million feasts (aka Christmas). It's ok to talk about that now, right?

There are amazing, passionate producers all over Ireland, but there seems to be a glut of them packed into a few square miles around Kilkenny city and county. Check out the TASTE food trail and the MADE craft trail to see what I mean. You could do a lot worse than heading to Kilkenny for a shopping trip in the run up to Christmas. Or even for no reason at all.

FOOD

Goatsbridge Trout
This rainbow trout is farmed in natural earthen ponds, fed constantly by the clear waters of the Little Arrigle River. I tried both the cold smoked trout, the barbequed trout and the caviar. All were absolutely delicious and would make a fantastic addition to any festive meal.



Knockdrinna Cheese
This business started at Helen Finnegan's kitchen table and has developed and grown over 8 years to produce a wide range of goats, sheep and cows milk cheeses. I tried the goats cheese and a fabulous new soft cheese product with a pesto topping. Any of their cheeses would be a fabulous addition to a cheeseboard.

Lavistown Sausages
I was served these tasty pork sausages by my lovely hostess Mag at the Night of 1000 Feasts. They are made with 100% pork, contain no bread or rusk, and so are suitable for people with a wheat intolerance. You would do well to track these down and give them a try.

Joan & Bob's Juicy Jams
If you like your Jam with a bit of a twist, these really fit the bill. With flavours such as Wild Blackberry, Elderberry and Pino Noir and Strawberry, Peach and Prosecco these are certainly juicy jams! I am a bit of a traditionalist at heart and chose Wild Blackberry to take home with me. It's divine and almost completely demolished already.

Goatsbridge Trout served at Café Sol in Thomastown
While you're in Kilkenny you might like to treat yourself to lunch or dinner out. There are myriad options but, speaking from experience, I would head for the quirky Búla Bus at the back of Billy Byrne's pub in Kilkenny city to eat seriously delicious street food aboard a broken down double decker. If you're near Thomastown, Café Sol, serving lots of the local produce listed above, is a fantastic choice too. Both have completely different vibes, but both seem to have nabbed  the friendliest staff in the county and both have a great buzz about them.

CRAFT


Karen Morgan Ceramics
I fell in love with Karen Morgan's simple, clean-lined, porcelain ware and treated myself to a few small pieces from her studio-cum-shop. I could have spent all day there and not been able to decide on my favourite pieces they were all so beautiful! I love how her fluid designs would suit so many different styles of interiors. You wouldn't go wrong buying a piece of hers as a gift for just about anyone.


Jerpoint Glass
My Mum is a big fan of coloured glass and I have already promised her I'll take her back here soon. The studio is well worth a visit and I love how the ethos behind the designs are for each piece to be beautiful AND functional. No need to keep these under lock and key they are to made to be used and enjoyed.

Zwartbles
This can kind of come under both Food and Craft actually as the inimitable Suzanna gave us gifts of rare Zwartbles lamb chops, apples and pears from her orchard and even Irish grown GRAPES (!!) when we visited her late last Monday evening. Her rare-breed sheep are also the providers of the grey-black wool that is used to create rugs, blankets and yarn. Check them out HERE.


There's also another big reason to visit Kilkenny coming soon. I got a chance to visit the site of the new School of Food in Thomastown and it looks like it will be an amazing facility when it's complete. There will be a community garden, chef training courses, cookery demonstrations and a community kitchen in which up and coming foodie entrepreneurs can prepare their products in a fully licensed and fully equipped environment. It is definitely something for Kilkenny residents to be proud of and if their Night of 1000 Feasts event is anything to go by, I'm sure it will be a great success.

I'm lucky to have a cousin living in Kilkenny and get to go stay with her from time to time. I've already told her I'll be down to visit her again soon. I swear it's not just an excuse to go and stuff my face again...

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Massive thanks to Dee Sewell and to Mag Kirwan for organising an amazing Blogger Tour for us and a big shout out to my fellow bloggers: Cooking With Craic, The Art of Exploring, Foodborn and Bred, Cork Billy, Greenside Up and My Busy Farm Life - it was great to meet you all!

Disclosure: I was invited on a Blogger Tour of Kilkenny by Green and Vibrant. I stayed in the gorgeous Abbey House Bed and Breakfast in Jerpoint, was treated to all kinds of delicious food and got to meet some truly inspirational creatives. All opinions above are my own, however, and I was not paid to give them.

10 comments

  1. What a great round up. I had to cancel at the last minute and was really disappointed. Kilkenny really is a fabulous place to go.

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    1. Thanks Tric! It's such a pity you couldn't make it I would have loved to have had a chance to chat to you again!

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  2. I love Kilkenny and definitely feel like heading back soon after reading this! Sounds great, glad I didn't read this before my dinner! I love the idea of Búla Bus, I'll definitely check it out for my next trip.

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    1. Oh, the bus is FAB. Such a cool idea and a great story behind it. Let me know when you're going and I'll tag along ;)

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful festival.

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    1. It is indeed. If you are ever over this side of the pond, Kilkenny is definitely worth a visit!

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  4. It was lovely to meet you Sadhbh and so glad you enjoyed your time in Kilkenny. The Bula bus was a first for me too and I've been telling everyone since! I'll also be returning to the ceramic and glass studios for gifts.

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    1. It was lovely to meet you too, Dee! Thanks so much for organising such a fantastic trip. My friend Miriam and I are still talking about it and can't wait to get back.

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  5. Definitely lots to see and do in Kilkenny! great article :)

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