Two-day event to feature vintage machinery and lost and forgotten skills

The North Wexford community of Kilanerin is calling on lovers of food, heritage, and vintage machinery from around the south-east and beyond to visit their inaugural ‘Food and Heritage Festival’ next month.

Taking place over the weekend of Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th September, the festival – a first of its kind in the county – will feature everything from old-style bread making to modern-day cookery demonstrations, and from food trucks to steam engines.

Organised by, and in aid of Kilanerin Tidy Towns and Kilanerin Ballyfad Community Development Association, the two-day event is suitable for all ages and will feature plenty of kids’ activities, including facepainting, a Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and plant pot painting.

The ‘star’ attraction of the weekend is bestselling cookery writer, and celebrity chef, Rachel Allen, who is making the trip from Ballymaloe Cookery School in East Cork for a special cookery demonstration on the Saturday evening at Kilanerin Community Centre.

There will also be other cookery demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday from Praba Sankaran, the head chef from Gorey’s ‘100 Degrees’; and Andrew Duncan, the award-winning head chef from another of the town’s renowned restaurants, ‘Table Forty One’.

The food element of the two-day show will also include a food market, featuring the best of local produce in baked goods, breads, farmhouse cheeses, honey, chutneys and relishes; food trucks offering everything from slow smoked beef brisket to the ultimate breakfast burgers; and visitors can enjoy a series of free talks and demonstrations on beekeeping, butter-making and fermentation.

With the festival organisers fortunate to have several renowned authorities on all things vintage and heritage living in the community, including Mick Higgins, Pat Kelly and Peadar Mordaunt, the heritage part of the festival promises to attract people keen to see some feature pieces as well as those eager to learn more about the old trades.

Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of vintage threshing, steam engines and other antique machinery, while exhibitions and demonstrations over the two days will include woodturning, blacksmithing, old-style flower arranging, flour grinding and a demonstration of old tools and how and why they were used. Other heritage activities will include opportunities to play some of the old-style traditional games such as horseshoes and skittles.

Roz O’Shaughnessy, who is chairing the organising committee, said she is delighted that so many of her fellow parishioners have come together in recent months to make the event a reality. “It is a true sign of a strong and vibrant community here in Kilanerin that people young and old are pulling out all the stops to make this new festival the very best it can be. We’ve had great support from local residents, businesses and clubs and we’re very thankful for that as the festival will ultimately benefit us all in the long run by raising funds for two very hardworking local groups.

“We are delighted that Rachel Allen is coming to Kilanerin, but we are just as happy that so many of our local chefs and food producers are demonstrating their skills and wares also and I know they will also attract huge interest.”

The Chairperson of Kilanerin Tidy Towns, Damien Meaney, said that the heritage part of the festival will complement the food element and he expects both to work extremely well together. “There is very much and ‘old’ and a ‘new’ element to the festival. For example, visitors will have the opportunity to see how food was made in their great-grandparent’s time and how people are making, packaging, and selling the very best of local produce today. We’re looking forward to showcasing some of the best vintage collections in the country and encourage anyone with an interest to come along for what promises to be a great day out.”

Entrance to the Kilanerin Food and Heritage Festival (which will run from 11am to 4pm on both days) is €10, with kids going free and complimentary car parking.

The Rachel Allen evening is a special ticketed event and includes a glass of ‘bubbles’ on arrival and a chance to win some special prizes. Doors open from 6.30pm, with the demonstration starting at 7pm. Tickets costing €25 can be purchased in advance on or by calling Kilanerin Community Centre on 0402 44555.

People are also asked to follow @kilanerin_tidy_towns on Facebook or Instagram for festival updates and demonstration timetables.

Kilanerin Food and Heritage Festival
Kilanerin Food and Heritage Festival