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Winterage Festival on October 29th set to celebrate Food of The Burren

The Burren Beo Trust's ' Winterage festival' marks the ancient farming tradition of ‘winterage’ - herding cattle onto the higher limestone uplands for the winter months to feed on the rich vegetation.  

This year, the event will be held at Michael Cusack’s GAA Pitch near Bellharbour in County Clare on October 29th and includes both the Cattle drive walk, and the Burren Food Fayre which is being organised by the Burren Ecotourism Network. 

The Burren region is widely known as the ‘Fertile Rock’ and includes a wide variety of food producers including fish smokers, beef, dairy, sheep and oyster farmers, as well as distillers, foragers, herbalists, cheesemakers, bakers and chefs. This group have been working together for many years and have made the Burren an award winning food destination, with the Burren Food Trail winning the Burren Food Town award in 2015. 

Jarlath O’Dwyer, CEO of the Burren Ecotourism Network said: “This is an excellent opportunity for people to not only hear about the ancient farming practices of the Burren, but also for them to experience walking the cattle upland to the winterage, and then to be able to taste and purchase the foods of the land and sea at the Burren Food Fayre.”  

“We are delighted to work with the team at Burren Beo, who have run the Cattle Drive for several years, bringing it from strength to strength, and attracting people from all over Ireland to attend on the day.” He added. 

The locally sourced food and drink on display on the day will include beef, salmon, pork, oysters, cheese, breads, jams, chutneys along with Burren whiskey and gin. Many of the producers taking part adhere to the GEOfood concept, an international UNESCO initiative, which promotes sustainable agriculture and conservation and supports farmers and communities in the area. 

Carol Gleeson, Manager of the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark said: “With a long-standing traditions of  food grown in the Burren, and a wide array of producers of both big and small-scale, GEOfood is a natural fit  for the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark. “We are delighted that the food fayre is once again being staged on the rich agricultural lands of the Burren – there is no better way to connect people to the produce than to see where it came from. Amongst our GEOfood group, we have a few farming families who have worked this land for generations.” 

The winterage walk starts at 11am, however attendees are encouraged to arrive at 10am to avail of tea, coffee and scones in the marquee. There will also be entertainment provided by local musicians. Pranjali Bhave of Burren Beo Trust said “We encourage all walkers to bring their own mug and hazel sticks and to bear in mind that this is a challenging walk of 6kms in total with a steep incline in the initial section of the walk. The walk is also on an uneven path and so unsuitable for buggies. No dogs are allowed. 

All attendees must purchase tickets and pre register at this link: -   

The Burren Food Fayre is supported by the Burren and Cliffs of Moher UNESCO Global Geopark, the Department of Agriculture, Food and The Marine and Calor Ireland. 

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