Sunshine and the best food in the west attracts record vistors over Easter

Isaac and his father Andrew meet farmer Joe’s rooster at at The Woodquay Market as part of The Galway Food Festival. Photo: Boyd Challenger

Isaac and his father Andrew meet farmer Joe’s rooster at at The Woodquay Market as part of The Galway Food Festival. Photo: Boyd Challenger

A record 70,000 visitors attended the third Galway Food Festival during the Easter weekend to delight in food tastes from the west.

The warm April sunshine played its part as up to 15,000 people a day visited the festival village at Spanish Arch, while an additional 10,000 visitors walked through the Woodquay Country Market on Saturday. The Moycullen and Galway markets drew large crowds, while in-house citywide events attracted up to 15,000 visitors.

The five-day festival resulted in some traders running out of stock at the end of busy days.

The Woodquay Country Market on Saturday, featuring a large number of quality food producers and farmers from Galway and further afield, was a hit with the youngsters, particularly the twin baby buffalos from The Green Olive Company and the Agri Aware Mobile Farm. And the Teddy Bears Picnic at Woodquay Park was awash with children and their teddy bears dancing to DJ tunes, and mask making.

Soaking up the sunny atmosphere at the festival village in the Spanish Arch, visitors enjoyed an array of food tastes including curry and spices, gourmet sausages, seafood, jams and preserves, organic juices and vegetables, homemade fudge from the Aran Islands, chocolate cupcakes, Thai food, and sushi.

The hourly cookery demos and the citywide Taste Trail proved a huge success with visitors savouring the finest foods, wines and craft beers Galway has to offer.

Breda Fox from the Local Enterprise Board commented: “The local enterprise office stand at the festival village gave opportunities to start-up producers to sell their foods and get direct feedback from customers.

“Large crowds over the three days added to the event and the sunshine ensured everyone was smiling. We met lots of local food producers and hope to work closely with them over the next few months.”

Jacinta Dalton, lecturer at the College of Tourism and Arts at GMIT and Fáilte Ireland Food Ambassador, said: “Cookery demonstrations were hugely successful and well attended. We had visitors of all nationalities getting to taste samples of food from all of our local producers and local restaurants. It was a real showcase of the best of the west.”

Padraig Fahy from Beechlawn Organic Farm added: Each year we need dedicated locavores [people who eat locallyproduced food] as they are the backbone of our business and are there for us the other 51 weeks of the year. The festival enabled us to exchange information with other businesses and support agencies, and was a great way to spend an Easter weekend.”

The 2014 Festival was funded by Galway City Council, Fáilte Ireland, Galway County Council and the Local Enterprise Board. Supporting sponsors include Pallas Foods, Bunzl McLaughlin, Western Hygiene, Galway Bay Coffee Company, Thomas Woodberrys, Made in Galway, La Rousse Foods and The City Bin Company. Friends of the Festival include Cases Wine Warehouse, Heaney Meats, Redmond Fine Foods, Curleys, Wines Direct, Febvre, Heery Refrigeration, Total Produce, Gannet Fish, Sanserv, Agriaware, Tom Fahy Oils, Friendly Farmer, Castlemine Farm, Whiriskey Refrigeration and Galway Hooker.

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