The old Viking town of Wexford is on the banks of the River Slaney at the estuary where this beautiful river meets the wild Irish Sea. It is known for its narrow streets and the tall buildings that line them. A perfect venue for the Buskers as the music travels along the street echoing off the walls in an almost acoustic perfect effect.
It is on this street that the food festival is held every year around the end of May. Sections of the street are closed to vehicles and marquee tents erected to accommodate the food stalls. South Main Street accommodated a contingent of farmers from “across the water” in Wales with their long horn beef products from Robert Vaughan (Farmer), confectionary and griddle pan cooked scones, fresh breads. Mixed in were Irish producers with the “Muffin Man” stall that had a variety of fresh muffins to meet any taste. Spanish Paella was served and the choice of olives and both marinated and roasted veg were available from “Tom and Ollie” (stands for tomatoes and olives!)
Further up the main street to the center of the town, is the Bull Ring, a small, open square in the town centre that gets its name from having been used as a venue for bull baiting in medieval times. Today, this square is used by traders as a weekend market venue and is overlooked by a lone Pikeman to commemorate the rebels of 1798 Rising. Clustered into the square, apart from the regular traders, were farmers and entertainers gathered in a cozy atmosphere with the emphasis on local food. One inspiring innovation in food exploration came from three brothers, David, Ivan and Tom Kiersey with their “Freezin Friesian” rolled ice cream and frozen yogurt. As dairy farmers they had the base dairy products and created this delicious ice cream treat based on a family recipe that was used in their home for many years. Face painting, farm yogurts and casual activities took place under the watchful eye of the “Pikeman”
Selskae Square, the north end of the main street, is dominated by the ruined twelfth-century Selskar Abbey. Selskar Square had been taken over with marquee tents and food stalls of all kinds. The “Bad Boys BBQ” were producing beef burgers as fast as they could, a taste of Italy from “Taste with Gusto” were showing off their olive oils and condiments all the way from Puglia on the tip of Italy, “Wicklow Rape Seed Oil” showing off some of their new healthy cooking oil products produced from “Rape Seed” on their own farm in the Wicklow hills. “Cool Swan”, a new generation of Irish Craft Spirits, a cream liqueur made from a unique blend of Single Malt Irish Whiskey, white Belgium Chocolate and fresh cream sourced from their family farm here in Ireland… had a sample of that, absolutely delicious! Wexford is renowned for its Strawberries and they were there in force; strawberries and cream, chocolate, syrups or wrapped in a hot “crêpes” with chocolate oozinf from it. The kids and the mammies loved them!
To end my walk around I visited Simon Lamberts Bar about mid-town on the main street. This is the home of “Yellow Belly” craft beer, made here in Wexford Town. So tasty and refreshing a cure for aching feet and a great atmosphere to distance any problems from your mind! The pub food is excellent and anything from tasty sandwiches to hot dinners are available. There was a bit of a session and Craic going on with squeeze box, whistles, guitars and an amazing sound.
Wexford Food Festival
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