Monday, July 15, 2013

A Food Festival in Kenmare

Kenmare is on the Ring of Kerry but we hadn’t spent any time there during our drive the day before.  Breda suggested it would be a great town to spend some time on a Saturday because as luck would have it, the food festival was on during the weekend.  We have been incredibly lucky during our stay in Ireland, just stumbling upon festivals, people who have befriended us but most of all an unusual heatwave!

Kenmare had a very festive air when we got there.  The place was buzzing with people and music; flags and food stalls lined the streets.   The scenery getting here has been stunning and the town with colourful shopfronts and many restaurants is inviting.  However, it’s the food stalls that are the drawcards for us and we decided to indulge in a bit of taste testing before venturing any further.   We tried a variety of food that ranged from Spanish Paella, Thai chicken, kangaroo skewers and fresh juicy strawberries.  The guy selling kangaroo kebabs was from Queensland and although he has lived here for about 20 years (I think) he hadn’t lost a trace of his Aussie accent!  We exchanged a bit of banter before moving on. 

We were hoping to chat to the local growers in Kenmare and after hearing they might be hanging out at the Adult Education Centre, we decided to walk there.  The place was almost deserted when we reached it as most of the group had gone foraging for local berries and other foods with visitors to the area.  A little disappointed and feeling the heat we sat down under a tree to rest.

There was a man already sitting there, enjoying the warm weather and reading the weekend paper.  We started chatting and realised he was interested in many similar issues to us.  The conversation moved from the economies of Greece and Ireland, to Irish culture and small town dynamics.  He mentioned he had lived and worked in Australia and was incredibly knowledgeable about current affairs Down Under.  He still listens to Australian radio in Ireland and reads the Sydney Morning Herald, which we found quite surprising. 

After a few hours we retire inside and continue chatting over coffees and teas.    It’s now been four hours and I realise we should be making tracks back to Killarney.  It was almost at the end of our conversation that he mentions he has connections at Cloughjordan, an eco-village that we hope to visit later on in our travels.   He promises to send us some contacts and mentions he might even be visiting while we are up there.  Both Steve and I are once again amazed that a chance acquaintance has promised to help us in our journey.  It’s time to say goodbye and I realise that we have been chatting for four hours but we haven’t introduced ourselves.  We laugh, shake hands and finally learn that the name of our new friend is Michael! 

"Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends."  Shirley MacLaine

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