The fourth annual ‘Northern Ireland Potato Festival’ returns to the Giants Causeway this October. This young festival is growing at an amazing rate thanks to the quality of the offering at this free event.
The festival, which is now in its fourth year, brings together members of the public and the farming community in a celebration of all aspects of the local potato industry.
In 2016 this will be a 3 day festival, factory tour on the Thursday during the day, music in the Causeway Hotel on Friday evening and main festival on the Saturday located on the grounds of the Causeway Hotel in close proximity to a world heritage site – The Giant’s Causeway.
The festival was initiated to celebrate the memory of John Clarke, Ireland’s most famous potato breeder. Clarke bred 33 varieties in total, most with the prefix Ulster. He cooperated with The Plant Breeding Institute at Cambridge in providing stock and knowledge to help develop their Maris varieties. Maris Piper is the “grandson” of a Clarke variety and is the most popular variety in Britain with a total of 16% of the total crop grown.
Clarke was a man who achieved against the odds. He was orphaned at the age of nine and left school at the age of twelve. He educated himself through the local library. All his work was done in North Antrim and he owned the farm at The Giants Causeway which is now operated by The National Trust. A Blue Plaque was erected in April 2013 by The Ulster History Society at “Innisfree”, the house where John Clarke lived.
The Potato Festival is held in a region known and respected for the strength of the local agri-food industry, world-class food and beautiful scenery, the festival is free to members of the public. Once again our aim is to promote this important economic sector to tourists and local visitors alike. This year the event also coincides with a National Trust free open day at the Causeway which will complement the festival.
This year the festival committee have been busy working to pull everything together for this year’s main event on Saturday 1st October supported by events on Thursday 29th and Friday 30th September.
This year the event will combine with the National Trust Open Day at the Giant’s Causeway, meaning visitors not only get to visit the festival for free but also the world renowned Giants Causeway providing an entirely free fun day for all the family.
The program of events-:
- Thursday 11am
A guided visit to Chipmaster, one of Northern Ireland’s leading growers and producer of potatoes. Register early for this visit – see full details on https://www.facebook.com/nipotatofestival. Or call – 07759092927 to book your place.
- Friday Evening 7pm- 9pm
Community evening in the Causeway Hotel. Engaging the local community in a night of entertainment.
- Saturday 10am – 5pm
The Main Northern Ireland Potato Festival and National Trust Community Open Day at the Giant’s Causeway including: Potato producers, growers, artisan foods, exhibitions, talks, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations, helicopter rides, displays, craft stalls and lots more…….
Photo Credit : McAuley Multimedia