I am delighted that I was asked to be one of the Judges for the Burren Master Chef competition during the winterage weekend. I will be joining with Sile Nic Chonaonaigh , the presenter of Garrai Glas on TG4, a lovely Irish language show in which Sile travels around Ireland visiting Organic Farmers. The cookery competition judging will take place on Saturday 27 October between 2 and 5 in the Lisdoonvarna pavillion. Participants must produce a delicacy of local, seasonal, homegrown or foraged produce. Yum! I love this job!
Besides the Food Fayre, the weekend is packed with a full schedule of over 30 events, including a sacred stone walk, traditional music sessions, storytelling, and an outdoor concert in a natural stone ampitheatre.
Before I moved to the Burren, I remember driving through it, at this time of year, when the hedgerows are brown from ground frost, the skies are dull and the roads in all the villages seemed empty. I thought, what a barren place, who would live here?! But, then, several years later I was offered a job here and my opinions of the different environments on this relatively small island changed dramatically.
The Burren is a magical place that holds life all year. In the spring, the gentians and bloody cranesbill peek up from the grikes in the rocks. In the summer the swallows make their trek from Africa to my stone shed, emerging with their young in July and sadly,leaving again in September. The cows, sheep, goats, donkeys and horses give birth and color to the meadows year round. The hedgerows are full of edible weeds and fruits for much of the year. My garden produces year round, admittedly leaner and slower in winter but still full of greens! I spotted a gorgeous falcon on the post the other day and a mother and baby fox on the road. The Aran Islands glimmer in the autumn sunlight and most days I can see the 12 peaks of Connemara.
And, in winter, there’s always a pub to escape from the rain and sit by the fire, often listening to a traditional tune. And, when the gale force winds come, there’s a community of friends planning something, a class, a session, a hike, a communal dinner and a festival! Hope you will join us. check out the website for a calendar of events www.burrenwinterage.com