If you’re coming to Ireland in April you made a good decision. Although there aren’t as many festivals as there would be compared to Summer, there is still a lot to do. In addition, the weather usually begins to pick up a lot in April and accommodation prices are a little lower.
Some things to do in Ireland during April include:
● The West Waterford Festival of Food
● The Kinsale Food Festivals
● Visiting West Cork
Go to the West Waterford Festival of Food
Usually at some point in April, the West Waterford Festival of Food is held drawing in huge crowds from around Ireland. Lasting a couple of days, the mouth-watering festival takes place in the southern county of Waterford. Since 2008 the festival has been running mainly in the town of Dungarvan and the surrounding area.
The festival showcases food from around the region and hosts a range of events. Some of the events include dining experiences and cooking demos. On the last day of the event there is usually a Festival Market, where dozens of stalls are set up in Dungarvan. Here you can buy a range of high-quality local food and produce from a little further afield.
In addition to all these events there are bus tours, seaweed forging and business discussions. The festival is one of the most popular food festivals in the country so is worth the visit if you’re keen on cooking or you just like watching the Food Network.
Dungarvan is a beautiful seaside town that has a wide range of pubs and restaurants, so if you’re looking for a good place to dine you should have no issue here. It also has a strong Irish language presence, with a percentage of the town being daily Irish speakers. The Gaeltacht (Irish speaking region) of Ring is located just outside of the town. It really is a beautiful area and is well worth the visit. I attended Irish college one summer there when I was a teen and would highly recommend visiting the area just for the scenic beauty. You might also get lucky and here some native Irish being spoken.
While in Dungarvan you can enjoy a lot of other amenities that are in the locality. The Waterford County Museumis in the town and it is an incredibly interesting place to visit. The building itself is a history gem. It was originally built as a grain store in the 1700’s, a century later is was converted into a town hall.
The beautiful building is home to an array of items from Dungarvan and west County Waterford. There are many artifacts from previous wars including the Great War. There are also exhibitions that showcases the Famine, Irish revolutionary wars and sport to name a few areas.
Enjoy some of Kinsale’s food festivals
In April the town of Kinsale in County Cork hosts both the All Ireland Chowder Cook off and the Taste the Wild Atlantic Way Street Feast. If the West Waterford Festival of Food, sounds like something you’re interested in, then check these out as well.
Kinsale is in the south of the country like Dungarvan, Co. Waterford and is less than an hour and a half drive from there. The town is located beside the sea and is one of County Cork’s most visited areas.
The All Ireland Chowder Cook Off is a competition that tries to discover who the best Chowder Chef in Ireland in. Each of the 32 counties in Ireland has a Chowder chef that represents them. They then each face off each other in a battle to win over the crowd and claim the throne. The winner is voted on by everyone, so if you manage to come along you’ll be able to cast a vote in favour of the person who you believe is a best chowder cook. The event usually takes place in April and lasts for a couple of hours, so it’s something you should defiantly take part in if you’re around Cork.
The other food related festival in Kinsale in April is the very popular Taste the Wild Atlantic Way Street Feast. Local food vendors set up stalls along Main Street. There they provide beautiful, fresh and tasty food that you can try out. Live entertainment also takes place at the event so there will be lots to also see along with buy and taste.
The town of Kinsale itself is full of history and has some very interesting links to colonial Spain. Spanish Emperor Ferdinand visited the town in 1518. This surprised many of the locals as a small coastal town in rural Ireland is the last place many people would expect a Spanish Emperor go to. The Spanish also helped Ireland a great deal in previous rebellions against the English occupiers. A Spanish military Armada landed in Kinsale in 1601 to aid the Irish rebels. Their aim was to fight alongside Irish and defeat the English by moving through Ireland. This military expedition resulted in the battle of Kinsale. This battle is one of the most famous of all battles between Gaelic Ireland and England. Most Irish people know of the battle and understand its implications on Irish history thereafter. The battle was lost by the Irish and Spanish and won by England. Most agree that this defeat signified Ireland losing complete independence to England.
The town of Kinsale is full of nice little cafes and stores, so even if you miss some of the food festivities, you’ll still be able to grab some delicious local produce. The town is great for walking around and if you have access to a car you can even make a two-minute drive down to Charles Fort. This old, now abandoned fort is one of the largest of its kind in Ireland. It looks out over the sea giving you some spectacular views. It is defiantly worth a visit.
Visit West Cork
West Cork is one of the most beautiful parts of Ireland. The western half of Ireland’s biggest county, Cork has some of the most scenic areas on the island. Kinsale is in this region, so if your there for the food festivals then you should make sure to venture around it. April is a great month to go here. The weather is a lot better than months prior and it is a little less busy than the summer months.
Along with views you can take in of the area, there is also a tonne of activities to participate in. You have Atlantic Charters in Kinsale for instance. This charter company allows you to rent a boat for up to twelve people so you can sail around the Celtic sea with your friends and have the time of your life.
Lee Valley Taste Trails is a great service that will provide you with a unique experience of West Cork. There are several trails you can take part in, including a taste trail mini bus tour. This tour will bring you around to local food producers. You can treat you taste buds with the heavenly gulps and bites of craft beers, biscuits and relishes, just to name a few items. Alongside tasting different delicious items you will also be able to view the gorgeous countryside as you make your way to the destination while being led by a professional tour guide. This tour suits between 6 to 8 individuals, so if there is a group of you then this is ideal.
You can also indulge in the Macroom Buffalo Farm tours. The farm is home to Ireland’s first heard of Dairy Water Buffalo’s. There are about 300 on the farm and many of them are milked twice daily. With the tour you can try out some handmade buffalo cheese. Some types include Irish Buffalo Mozzarella, Greek Style Salad cheeses and Ricotta.
If you’re completely done with food and instead want to check out more of West Cork’s natural beauty, then you should look at the Beara Baoi Tours. This tour explores the jaw dropping beauty of one of Ireland’s most breath-taking peninsula’s, the Beara Peninsula.
The peninsula shares its landmass with both County Kerry and County Cork. The peninsula is sparsely populated and contains many megalithic tombs. The tours provided by Beara Baoi Tours are led by members of the Beara Historical society. They provide several different types of tours including a tour of Allihies Copper Mines. There you get to check out remnants of Europe’s most western copper mines. There is also Spiritual Tour of Beara. This tour visits religious sites throughout the peninsula giving you a glimpse of the spiritual history of the area. Sites include many old pagan megalithic monuments. Christian sites are also visited. You’ll learn that it was likely that Christianity was in evidence on the peninsula even before Saint Patrick arrived. You’ll also witness the history of Ireland’s first Buddhist Temple that was founded on the peninsula.
French and German tours are also available from the Beara Baoi Tours.
Skibbereen is a town of similar Irish historical stature like Kinsale. The West Cork town was ravaged by the great Irish famine. The hunger and misery endured by the locality during the potato plight shocking many parts of the world. It is estimated that between 8,000 and 10,000 famine victims are buried just outside the town. The bodies are all unidentified and were placed inside a mass burial pit during the famine.
At the Skibbereen Heritage Centre there is a Great Irish Famine Exhibition. The exhibition consists of many dramatizations and interactive stations where you can learn more about the famine.
The heritage centre makes great strides in trying to help people discover their past Irish ancestry. If you believe you may have West Cork roots, then you can try and avail of the genealogy service provided by the centre. The service uses census records, birth and marriage records to name a few to try and see if you have a connection to the area.
The prices are reasonable and worth it. The service has seen distant branches of families from the area make contact and share stories of their common ancestry.
If you know for certain that some of your descendants made the venture out of Ireland and to other shores, then you can take part in the Dispora Stories intuitive. This is where you fill in the basic information about your Irish ancestors on a form. The form is stored and will then be used to try and help others who may be looking for some long-lost Irish connection.
Mizen Head in county Cork is one of the most spectacular geographical landscapes in the entirety of the country. Being one of the most westerly points in Ireland the area has a tonne to offer.
There is a dedicated visitor centre for those who come to the area. The centre has a range of attractions and features. One such feature includes a film about the Fastnet Rock Lighthouse that is located out in sea, miles away from Mizen Head. It’s a very difficult lighthouse to get to considering it is miles from the coast and on a tiny island. So, giving the film a watch is probably the best way to learn the most about it.
Built in 1854, the lighthouse is known as Ireland’s teardrop, because it was often the last glimpse of Ireland that emigrants would see after they left for North America.
Some of the most popular paths around the visitor centre lead down to the signal station below it. The Bridge View is one of the easier paths to climb. The path leads to an observation platform where you can take in tremendous views of the bridge below it and the Beara Peninsula.
When walking around the paths of Mizen Head or looking out over the sea make sure to look out for any wales of dolphins. The area around Mizen Head is famous for such sightings, particularly around winter. During summer you might be treated to sights of the Basking Shark.
If you fancy doing some activities nearby then head over to Goleen Harbour. Here you can rent bikes, do some kayaking and archery.