Food heaven is where you have a choice of wonderful cafés, chippers, cookery schools, and fab family hotels that’ll give the kids the familiar chicken nuggets and cereals you’ve to shovel into them when they’re worn out from three or four action-packed days at the seaside.
You’ll find all of that in a weekend break in Dungarvan, a seaside town on the south coast of Ireland that kicks off its tourist season with a celebration of food in all its guises every year in April with the West Waterford Festival of Food.
There are food trails for cake lovers, seaweed fans, flash barbecue beasties (like seafood or veg-based instead of just prime meat skewers); there are craft beer and burger joints; chippers for the bag in your hand (s’worth two in the bush, I’m told) and as home to Flahavans porridge oats, even the cereals round here are ‘slow-food, eco-friendly, locally-sourced’ ingredients for your delectation. For instance, I stayed at the family-run Lawlor’s Hotel that’s a couple minutes’ walk from the harbor with its ethnic-themed restaurants (Indian, Chinese), public park, tennis club, a marina for pleasure boats and SuperValu grocery store for daytime self-caterers, and its kitchen caters for everything from grand banquets to bar food. Dungarvan has bric à brac stores for bargain hunters of vintage homewares, an Irish institution in its Shaws (almost nationwide) department store, and novelty shops with cute, lightweight and cheap mementoes for the people back home who expect more than a postcard. It’s also got an arts centre, a lovely cookery school and charity tea dances from now till the autumn every Saturday afternoon. But an experience you shouldn’t miss is anything from snacks to dinner at Nude Food.
Its proprietor is a dynamo called Louise Clarke whose wit and warmth is part of every element of her café, deli and bakery just off the town square. I gush. It’s an expected part of my persona now when I come across something delightful. But her coffee and carrot cake were reason enough to leave Dublin. Then there’s the outdoor dining room where she grows her herbs. Then there’s a proper kitchen garden for salad leaves and other greens, her polytunnel for stage one of her other summer ‘fork to fork’ ingredients. Then there’s the treats (coffee and walnut and carrot cakes, in-house ice-cream) she dreams up like magic and a selection of teas she carries to help you do the ‘healthy, mindful, refreshing, and low-calorie’ thing we all do when we’ve travelled two and a half hours just to get to her luscious cakes.
There are farmers markets on Thursday mornings in the square, and a country market on Friday morning in the tennis club, but there’s also a feast for the eyes in the physical shape of the town from its mediaeval castles and fortifications, to its streets and lane ways to the sea, and it’s also on the map because of its gaelteacht connections – next year’s Celtic Media Festival will be held here because of Dungarvan’s position in a Gaelic-speaking community.
Tá orm rud éigin a rá anois as gaeilge mar duirt mé sa ‘tags’ go mbeidh cupla focail agam ar an tábhair a thabhairt díobh mar baoite nó bréige go dtí an baile cois farraige i gCo Phóirt Láirge. An oíche a chuaigh mé ag ithe sa dteach Louise bhí barbecue mór ar cúl an ostán agus deirtear go bhfuil siad beile a dheanamh uair eile bfheidir, mar tá ceoil agus craic ar fáil ann. Teastaigh mé freisin go raibh an ostán Lawlors ach nóiméad ag súil ón buníochtaí eile mar bialannaí ag glacadh sa fleadh.
J’espère que ces mots vous donnerez un goût 🙂 de la ville Dungarvan, la fête Celtique serait ici l’année prochaine pendant la mois d’avril aussi, donc vous pouvez trouver deux chances de la voir pendant le printemps: la fête de la nourriture tombe pendant le weekend deuxième normalement, et le rendez-vous pour les travailleurs du monde film et music Celtique un peu plus tard.