2018 Westport Food Festival Launched

Mid-Summer Banquet is highlight of Westport Food Festival Westport House Friday 29th June

The undisputed highlight of Westport Food Festival and the social event of the year is the gala Mid-Summer Banquet in the glorious environment of Westport House. It’s a glittering affair featuring black tie and evening dresses as befits the stylish setting. The date is Friday 29th June and limited tickets are available through Hotel Westport (098 25122).

The evening starts with a complimentary trip from town on the Westport House Train. It might bring guests just a kilometre on the ground, but it transports them to another world. It’s Downton Abbey – but it’s better, because it’s for real! From the chilled Pimms on arrival to the handmade canapés, gourmet tasting menu and accompanying fine wines, this is a step back into history. Walk up those historic steps and imagine several hundred years of bejewelled guests and famous figures preceding you. Opportunities like this don’t come along too often.

The Midsummer Banquet takes place on Friday night, 29th June. The epicurean seven course feast showcases the combined talent of seven local chefs led by Eoin McDonnell of the Wyatt Hotel who is also Chairman of Westport Food Festival. The wine pairings are from Cabot’s of Westport, guaranteeing a perfect match for the taste buds. The team of chefs has developed a stunning menu with a strong focus on local and Mayo food. It promises to be a real celebration of the senses.

Tickets for this unique event are in high demand and as there is quite literally no room for expansion in the dining rooms, people are advised to book without delay. Contact Hotel Westport (098 25122).

Westport Food Festival continues over the weekend until Sunday 1st July with a busy programme of events including the Fairgreen Food Village on Saturday with a full programme of chef demonstrations and plenty to keep the kids occupied too. Kiddie workshops on Pizza Making and Cup Cake Decorating can be booked on the day and the little ones can enter the fun Fast Food Race too. Go foraging for mushrooms or seashore delicacies. Two local producer tasting tours are on the menu– Mescan Brewery and Mussel and Oyster Farm.  Wet your whistle with the Gintastic Gin Appreciation, Whiskey Tasting and Come Wine With Me. There’s something there to tempt everyone’s tastebuds. Check out the website for full details.






Ballina to host Digital Transformations Conference

“There’s a lot of talk about the impact of Digital Tech in a practical sense (what we can do with VR, 3D printing, digital distribution models, etc.), but very little about the ideas, thoughts, morality and ethics underlying it all. We talk about what we can do with the new tools, but never enough about what the new tools will do to us. Most events that combine arts and technology are essentially business-driven, bringing business language and values into cultural discourse, assuming the business culture is a natural environmental fact.” – Scott Coombs, Conference Director

Digital Transformations is a conference bringing together18 speakers from Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and the US, including practicing artists, technologists, leading cultural curators, academics and educators. It is a forum for radical thinking, inspired by the idea that the arts should be leading our transition to this new, profoundly disorienting society – but ironically this new society is one in which art as we know it will struggle to retain its power and influence.

Digital Transformations was conceived by Scott Coombs, an American-born IT Consultant who lives and works in the Northwest. He put the conference together to  “…look at the cultural impacts of the emerging digital society and establish a forum for people to see and react to the big changes in arts, politics and society. ”. One of the other organisers, John O’Brien, added “…this conference isn’t trying to sell the digital society, but to create an open forum where the value of cultural responses take centre stage. Right now the future is in the hands of the technologists, the pseudo rational and the faux scientific and we really need to talk about this. We need both sides of the brain to deal with what’s coming at us.”

Digital Transformations is built around talks, panel discussions, and break-out sessions where attendees can get involved in the debate and formulate a manifesto for the future. Evening entertainment will be provided by the ever-popular trio of Seamie O’Dowd, Kieran Quinn and Joe Kelly.

Gaynor Seville, Arts Officer at Mayo County Council, said “one of the interesting aspects of this project is that the organisers were seeking a location outside the major centres to establish this conference, and I was delighted that they selected north Mayo because I share their belief in the potential of this conference and it confirms Mayo as a place that’s willing to experiment and support new ideas.”

Business leaders from Mayo are also lending their support to this vital conversation and Seán Walsh, director at the Ballina Arts Centre, is confident that the centre on Barrett Street in Ballina has the right mix of size and intimacy to make the conference a successful and memorable one, and “hopefully, the first of many” he added.