The Comeraghs Wild Festival, now in its ninth year, is set to take place from July 6-9 in the mountainous Waterford region. The festival will feature internationally renowned Comeragh lamb, local farming traditions, and celebrations of the history, culture, music, and food of the area. New additions to the festival programme include sheepdog and sheep shearing demonstrations.
According to Bernadette Drohan, event director at Waterford City and County Council, the festival is not only a significant social boost but also an economic one for the entire Comeragh, Nire Valley, and Copper Coast regions, which skirt the stunning Waterford Greenway and span from the mountains right down to the sea.
Wellness advocate and TV chef Aisling Larkin will create a modern dish featuring crispy Comeragh lamb from Willie Drohan’s nearby flock at history-steeped Nell’s Farmhouse with locally sourced produce. The Waterford native, who is back home and living in the area, said, “The Comeraghs Wild provides a platform to celebrate the incredible flavours and culinary traditions that can be found right here in our own back garden. By cooking with locally sourced ingredients, we support our local communities and gain a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of flavours that nature provides. I’m thrilled to be a part of this event and to share my passion for sustainable cooking with the attendance.”
This year’s four-day Comeraghs Wild programme will include foraging and forest bathing, woodland crafts, a sunrise walk in the mountains, mindfulness, meditation and yoga, as well as guided hikes, surfing, a celebration of Irish culture, and a locally produced docu-drama on the final months of the Civil War in the region.
The festival will also include open-air set dancing, a gala concert deep in the mountains, and a closing concert with Gina and the Champions, a special night on their 50th-anniversary tour schedule. Locals and visitors are also invited to ‘Eamo and Ro’s Summer Soiree’, an informal three-course casual dining experience with local food at a newly opened restaurant in Kilmacthomas. The menu will include a range of dishes, including nachos and wings, monkfish tacos, lamb kebabs, grilled corn, rolled Comeragh lamb, and farm-to-fork beef provided by O’Reilly’s butchers, right next door.
Mary Flynn, festival chair, said it will be hard to top last year’s Comeraghs Wild, which drew record crowds to the region. “We’ve added new events to broaden the festival’s appeal, and there is a strong emphasis this year on celebrating and appreciating the flora and fauna of the Comeraghs and helping preserve it for future generations,” she said.
“This is a vast, varied region with magnificent beaches, amazing mountain terrain, and some of the best walks, treks, and outdoor facilities you’ll find anywhere in Europe. Since this festival began, we have lots more great places to eat and fantastic places to stay,” the festival chair said. “Comeraghs Wild celebrates our history and our culture, our fantastic local food, and long-standing farming and cultural traditions,” she added.
This year’s concert at Crotty’s Lake on Friday, July 7, will open with Alan Power and The Aftershocks, followed by Ceol and the main act, The Backyard Band. “It’s a unique setting, and Mary Coughlan was totally blown away when she performed there last year. Teas and coffees will be on sale, and those attending are invited to bring along a picnic and make a night of it,” the festival chair said.
The Comeraghs Wild Festival promises to be an exciting event that celebrates the culture, history, and natural beauty of the Waterford region. With a variety of events planned, there is something for everyone to enjoy, from food and music to outdoor activities and cultural celebrations.