A fixture since as far back as 1994, the Listowel Food Fair is the longest running food festival in Ireland and aims to showcase the food producers of Kerry, which it certainly does, very deliciously!
The week is packed with demonstrations, tastings, competitions and workshops. Competitions include ones for the public – the one for best home baker in Kerry is hotly contested – and commercial food producers. Literary and food Taste Trails take visitors around various venues to sample both the food and the culture of Listowel, while guided Wild Food Walks teach how to find and eat delicious foods freely available in the countryside, without poisoning yourself!
There are a number of awards presented during the fair, the big one being the Kerry Food Hero award, which is presented annually to a small-scale food producer, food retailer, farmer’s market stallholder, chef or restaurateur to recognise outstanding commitment to food and consistent excellence. It says a lot for food in the region that this award is so hotly contested and there are so many potential winners.
Listowel is not always on the itinerary of visitors to Kerry, who tend to stick to Killarney and the Ring, but it’s definitely worth a detour for the Food Fair.