Thursday 22 February 2018

Sun, steak and chocolate make Sunday perfect at Bloom

Téia Byrne (5), from Ballymun, Dublin Photo: Steve Humphreys
Téia Byrne (5), from Ballymun, Dublin Photo: Steve Humphreys
Nathan Jamieson and his daughter Lucy (7 months) from Tallaght, Dublin, enjoying the sunshine. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Laura Lynott and Melanie Finn

The cool and carefree was fused with a dash of humanitarianism at Bloom, as families basked in warm sunshine on the festival's penultimate day.

Some 31,000 revellers descended on the Phoenix Park, Dublin, for a day's relaxation, but there was a serious undertone for many.

Around 1,500 took the time to sign Oxfam's 'Right to Refuge' petition, calling on the Government to "stick to a promise" made in 2015 to take in 4,000 refugees.

Christine McCartney, Oxfam's campaigns and engagement executive, said "our job is even more important now", in the wake of the London attack.

"The vast majority of people fleeing conflict zones are looking for safety. There's another side to security concerns, a human side and Ireland plays a vital role in helping refugees and making the world a safer place that way," she said.

Oxfam and Goal are now searching for a new home for their gold-medal winning concept show garden, 'A World Beyond Walls'.

Meanwhile, RTÉ's Miriam O'Callaghan broadcast her Sunday morning radio show live from the event and said that it "went great".

Among her guests were gardeners Gerry Daly and Dermot O'Neill, alongside chef Catherine Fulvio. Some of the show's schedule was changed at the last minute to cover the terror attacks in London. "We had a packed tent for it," she said.

Afterwards, she had a quick walk around the Show Gardens, before having to dash back home to her family, as her husband Steve Carson was doing a cycle in Belfast.

Speaking for the first time about her daughter Alannah McGurk's recent wedding to Fiachra Breathnach, she said they had a "wonderful time" at the wedding in Kerry's Sheen Falls.

"It was the most perfect day for the loveliest, nicest couple," she said.

Elsewhere, among the vast array of stalls, there was light relief in the form of healthier options for the chocolate lover. Áine Hand Made Chocolates was one of the most popular sellers, as a result.

Ann Rudden, who employs 14 staff from Stradone, Co Cavan, a village of only 70 residents, said: "We've had a great reception. We've sold 5,000 bars of chocolate and I'm converting a lot of people to dark chocolate, as it is the healthiest option."

Another popular attraction was celebrity chef Neven Maguire's Cooking for Family and Friends demonstration at the Bord Bia Quality Kitchen Stage. Hundreds watched the chef cook the perfect steak with a warm summer salad.

The festival wraps up today and the traditional end-of-show sale at 3pm is expected to attract major interest, as keen shoppers attempt to snap up bargains.

Irish Independent

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