LitFest Lift-Off - Another Successful Launch
Ballymaloe Litfest of Food & Wine 19-21 May 2017
Submitted by Shaneod on Wed, 22/04/2015 - 4:02pm
When I stood out of the yellow taxi the cold winter air hit me, I perked my ears to the distant sirens, more yellow taxis zoomed by in all directions, and that unmistakable New York accent was all around.... I had arrived!
The flight from Mexico City felt long. I forgot to pack a picnic, and only had time to grab an under-ripe banana as I ran to my connecting flight in Dallas Airport. As I boarded the plane, I overheard a conversation about an almighty blizzard that was forecast to hit New York with a predicted 30 inches of snow! Darina, Rory and Rebecca had travelled from Ballymaloe to NYC the day before. My flight was luckily one of the last to land on the Sunday night before Manhattan went into lockdown. The first ever North American ‘LitFest’ launch was due to take place in less than 48 hours, and the city’s infrastructure was shutting down. We got up early the next morning to suss things out. There was promise of a storm like no other. It was an impossibly tough call to make, but the launch regrettably had to be postponed until mid-March. The second attempt, however, was a huge success, and gave America a taste of what to expect from this year’s ‘LitFest’.
Having whet the appetite of our transatlantic friends, there was one last thing to do - hold an official Irish launch in Dublin to kick-start the festival period on our home turf. This time I made sure to pack a suitable picnic - rich, buttery Dundee cake, shortbread biscuits, freshly brewed coffee, and a chest of sandwiches all made the cut; and away we went! I was so excited in the lead-up to our Big Day Out that I fashioned a bow tie out of a spare Kerrygold butter wrapper to wear on the night. It turned out to be quite an eye-catching piece of couture, so much so that The Irish Times picked up on it in their article the next day.
The launch party was more fun than I could ever have imagined. Writers and friends joined us in Dublin 8’s hippest venue, The Fumbally, where we enjoyed terrific treats that had guests licking their fingers as the estimable John Bowman declared ‘LitFest 2015’ officially launched. The excitement of the night was simple contagious, and word is spreading across Ireland that this year’s festival will be like no other.
So, if you want to be inspired by the world’s leading voices in food and drink, book your flights and hop on a plane, carpool with friends, or even borrow a bicycle, and make sure to come to Ballymaloe this May. Whether you want to listen to hear food luminaries debate the most topical issues in The Grainstore, widen your wine knowledge in The Drinks Theatre, forage on Shanagarry strand, let down your hair in The Big Shed, or rant in The Garden Tent, this year’s jam-packed line-up offers something for everybody. And don’t forget to pack a “simply delicious” picnic for the journey!