The Armagh Food & Cider Festival will take place from Thursday 19 to Sunday 22 September and promises to be this autumn’s hottest ticket! It will be an international extravanganza with multiple can’t-miss events in venues right across Ireland’s Orchard County.
Armagh is famed for its spectacular food quality, top-notch artisan ciders and amazing, innovative chefs and year’s festival promises to highlight this region’s reputation for outstanding food quality, unique events and distinctive experiences.
First up was a visit and overnight stay at Crannagael House which is a grade 2 listed Georgian house, still owned by the same family that built it in the mid 18th century. It is also the site of the first Bramley apple seedling to be planted in Northern Ireland. I had visited before and met with the delightful Jane and John Nicholson who own it but had no idea that there was a self catering apartment there with three bedrooms, one double, one twin and one single, an upstairs bathroom, downstairs wc and shower, kitchen dining room and living room. There is even a separate patio and BBQ area.
On our arrival, we were warmly welcomed by John, Jane, daughter Katy and their adorable granddaughters, Chloe and Ursula. We were shown around the apartment and left to settle in with a refreshing glass of local cider. I have to say, after 10 minutes sitting in the garden, I felt totally relaxed and the calmest I have been for a long time!
Jane and John kindly invited us to join then and their family for a BBQ in their courtyard which was enormous fun. John showed off some serious barbecuing skills, while Jane showcased her own home grown vegetables in a delicious spread, carrot mousse, vegetable tartin, purple potatoes, salad and more- what a delicious feast!
After a solid night’s sleep, in our peaceful surroundings, we breakfasted alfresco on Jane’s home made bread before a tour of the gardens. After meeting the chickens and guinea fowl, Jane showed us her amazing range of fruit and veg which she sells to local restaurants. I try growing a few veg but I was blown away by Jane’s gardens. Chloe and Ursula kindly picked all sorts of berries for us to try as we walked and Jane generously gifted us some veg to try at home (purple potatoes, garlic, artichoke, salad leaves and more) along with a couple of plants. I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I was.
Crannagael house really is a delightful place, perfectly located for travelling around Northern Ireland. After just one night there, we felt like we had been away for days. To find out more and to book the fab apartment, click here.
includes a separate patio and barbecue area. There is full oil fired central heating as well as a wood burning stove in the lounge.
What’s on at Crannagael House during the Armagh Food & Cider Festival?
- Flash fiction in the garden- 19/9
- Wine vs Cider dinner- 20/9
- Bramley Apple Banquet- 21/9
- The Cook and the Gardener- 22/9
Next up was a visit to the fabulous Longmeadow cider. Its a well known fact that I love a good cider and Longmeadow just happens to be one of my favourites!
On arrival we met with Catherine McKeever, who along with husband Pat, owns Longmeadow and produces a great range of ciders, juices and apple cider vinegar. Catherine walked us around the orchard, explaining the complexities of growing apples and the serious amount of work involved. We also got to see the apple storage area and vinegar room before enjoying a picnic lunch from Yellow Door Catering all washed down with a crisp chilled glass of Longmeadow cider- delicious!
To find out more about Longmeadow Cider and its range of products, click here.
What’s on at Long Meadow Cider during the Armagh Food and Cider Festival?
- Orchard Floral Art Demonstration with Yolanda Campbell- 19/9
- Orchard Floral Art Demonstration with Yolanda Campbell (advanced)- 20/9
- Art in the Orchard with Deborah Malcomson- 21/9
- Long Meadow Cidery Tour- 22/9
For more information and to book, click here.
While we were in Armagh, we were invited to tour the COI, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and to visit No. 5 Vicars Hill
We were show around the Cathedral by Lee who explained the history of the building. For anyone interested in Irish history, going back centuries, this is a must do visit. Lee is extremely knowledgable and brought the tour to life with his descriptions.
Just beside the cathedral is No. 5 Vicar’s Hill which is part of the Armagh Robinson Library. It looks like an unassuming house from the outside, but inside opens out into two beautiful octagonal rooms with vaulted ceilings. It was originally built by Arch Bishop Robinson to hold Church of Ireland and civil records and was restored in 2011 to display examples of the library’s collections
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