SE­LECT

ALITERARY FEAST

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - SEVEN DAYS | EATING OUT - – Rachel Collins

There’s a lit­er­ary feast await­ing the coun­try in the com­ing week, with three fes­ti­vals tak­ing place. We’ve rounded up some places to fill your belly while you fill your brain. This week­end, the Fes­ti­val of Writ­ing and Ideas (fes­ti­val­ofwritin­gan­dideas.com ) re­turns to Bor­ris House, Co Car­low. The three-day fes­ti­val be­gins to­day and runs un­til Sun­day, and will host speak­ers in­clud­ing direc­tor Neil Jor­dan, au­thors Anne En­right, Ian McEwan, Kevin Barry and Belinda McKeon, Ca­tri­ona Crowe of the Na­tional Ar­chive and chil­dren’s au­thor Shane He­garty (for­merly of this parish).

There will be work­shops for as­pir­ing au­thors, com­edy from Tommy Tiernan and an “un­plugged” per­for­mance of Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half Formed Thing by actress Aoife Duf­fin.

On the food front, there will be a talk from the ubiq­ui­tous Happy Pear twins David and Stephen Flynn, along with a dis­cus­sion on food pro­duc­tion on Satur­day af­ter­noon at 3pm. On Sun­day morn­ing, brunch is served in Bor­ris House, with a talk from bi­ol­o­gist Jeremy Cher­fas and Rosie Boy­cott of Lon­don Food on fu­ture ways to feed our­selves. And while that’s go­ing on, your ¤12.50 ticket will let you feed your­self with brunch treats – in­clud­ing a break­fast em­panada – from three sur­prise chefs.

Just out­side the walls of Bor­ris House, the Step House Ho­tel (step­house­ho­tel.ie) serves good food in both its 1808 bar and Cel­lar restau­rant. In the bar, there’s free-range chicken (¤18) with white bean stew, Gubbeen chorizo and or­ganic cab­bage, plus a good cheese­burger with smokey ba­con for ¤14. In the Cel­lar, din­ner costs ¤36 for two cour­ses, ¤40 for three; the menu in­cludes starters of open ravi­oli of lo­cal ox­tail with horse­rad­ish and onion con­fit, or rab­bit with herb risotto and black gar­lic. Mains in­clude Tom Sal­ter’s free-range pork with sweet potato puree and crack­ling, or Mary Walsh’s free-range duck with arancini, pear and duck sauce.

To es­cape the hus­tle of Bor­ris, take a quick drive south to St Mullins, where Mul­licháin Café (old­grain­store­cot­tages.ie/cafe-car­low.htm ) sits in a re­stored grain­store on the banks of the River Barrow. You can sit in­side the stone walled café, or on the plen­ti­ful river­side benches. There’s lots of home bak­ing – Emer’s pavlova (¤4.20) is mor­eish – and a cheese board (¤9, in­clud­ing five Ir­ish cheeses). There’s a good Dun­can­non prawn and crab salad with the café’s brown bread (¤11) and you can stroll down the river bank be­fore head­ing back to the fes­ti­val.

Next week sees a host of events lead­ing up to Yeats Day (yeats­day.com), a cel­e­bra­tion of the 150th an­niver­sary of WB Yeats’ birth on June 13th.

The heart of the ac­tion is in Slivot, where a No­bel Din­ner cooked by Joe Shan­non at the

Radisson Blu ho­tel Sligo will cel­e­brate the meal served in Stock­holm when Yeats col­lected his No­bel Prize for Lit­er­a­ture in 1923. The event is on Thurs­day June 11th at 7.30pm, with guest of hon­our Edna O’Brien.

There will be read­ings and mu­sic from Sligo Or­pheus Choir and the five-course menu will in­clude Lis­sadell mussels with lo­cal smoked salmon and At­lantic prawns, a poitin sor­bet, 17-hour slow roasted Yeats Coun­try beef and a lemon and rasp­berry pos­set. Tick­ets (¤45) in­clude a drinks re­cep­tion, meal and wine. Book on 071-919 2414 or email berni. cham­bers@radis­son­blu.com. Tick­ets must be booked by to­day.

On Yeats Day (June 13th) there are boat trips with af­ter­noon tea around Lough Gill – rather fit­tingly to the Lake Isle of In­n­is­free. Sail­ing from Doorly Park Pier in Sligo, the Rose of In­n­is­free will sail around the lake with a recital of Yeats’ po­etry by the boat’s cap­tain, Ge­orge McGoldrick. There’s a full Ir­ish on the 8am sail­ing (sold out) but you can get af­ter­noon tea on the 12.30pm and 3.30pm sail­ings. Tick­ets ¤15 from info@rose­ofinn­is­free.com or 087-2598869. There’s a Wine and Sausage trail, a nod to the yarn that when Yeats re­ceived a call telling him of his No­bel Prize victory he went to the cel­lar to fetch a bot­tle of wine, only to find there was none. In­stead, he and his wife Ge­or­giana cel­e­brated with a din­ner of sausages. You can have your wine, and eat your sausage too, on this trail, where eater­ies will serve ¤5 small plates such as Har­gadon’s Pub (5 O’Con­nell St), spicy chorizo and chick pea in spicy tomato and basil sauce from 4pm-7pm, June 10th- 13th; Cafe Fleur (18 O’Con­nell St) is serv­ing a Maude Gonne sausage-and-wine baguette from noon to 5pm, June 10th-14th; or McGar­rigles (11 O’Con­nell St ) will have Yeats sausage with mash and gravy from noon to 8pm, June 10th-14th. See sosligo.com

In Co Water­ford, Imm­rama, the Lis­more Fes­ti­val of Travel Writ­ing (lis­mor­eimm­rama.com) takes place from Thurs­day June 11th to Sun­day, June 14th. This year’s theme is “Jour­neys of His­toric Pro­por­tions” and there will be talks from ad­ven­turer Char­lie Boor­man, lec­turer and guide Jonathan Shack­le­ton (cousin of Antarc­tic ex­plorer Ernest Shack­le­ton) and Beiruit-based jour­nal­ist Robert Fisk, along with travel writ­ing work­shops with Paul Cle­ments. On Sun­day morn­ing Bal­lyrafter

House Ho­tel will host a lit­er­ary break­fast at 8.30am with An­to­nia Bol­ing­broke-Kent, au­thor of A Short Ride in the Jun­gle, an ac­count of her jour­ney along the Ho Chi Minh Trail on a bat­tered old Honda Cub. Break­fast will in­clude a full Ir­ish fry, with lo­cal pro­duce (apart from Clon­akilty pud­ding from across the bor­der) and teas and cof­fees fol­lowed by An­to­nia’s talk. Tick­ets are ¤25 from lis­mor­eimm­rama.com On Sun­day, Lis­more Farm­ers Mar­ket takes place on Cas­tle Av­enue, lead­ing up to Lis­more Cas­tle from 9.30am to 4pm. There’s fresh fruit and veg from Tal­low farmer Tony O’Ke­effe, lots of baked goods from Homely Bakes and Granny Mad­docks Pantry (who do gluten- and wheat-free treats such as honey and almond slices and choco­late cake), cof­fees from the Mar­ket Café, and chut­neys and some un­usual home­made cor­dials from Aure­lia – such as lemon and parsnip or or­ange and car­rot. There’s a play­ground and park to have a pic­nic if the weather al­lows.

Kings of the cas­tle

Lis­more Farm­ers Mar­ket

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