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Thursday 21 November 2019

Going for a wander throws up Wicked surprises close to home

Getting stuck into the Sparoi Wicked Woods spirit on the Waterford Greenway on Sunday
Getting stuck into the Sparoi Wicked Woods spirit on the Waterford Greenway on Sunday

David Looby

At a loose end after dropping my two Hallowe'en cuties off at their Mam's on Saturday I consulted my to-do list as I am wont to do increasingly these days.

Get a recycling bin. Do a shop. Clean the house. Cut the grass.

Suffice to say none of these were reached on as I decided to make the absolute most of my day of leisure and go for a wander.

The car had been pointed towards the supermarket when I made this radical decision and before I knew it I was on the road to anywhere but the supermarket, ending up in a small Kilkenny town, where I enjoyed a coffee and tried to read a book, but even that proved too challenging.

You see the demands of the weekdays between school drops, creche pick-ups, work, the activity drop offs and collections often means I arrive on a Saturday a spent force, kept in motion only thanks to strong coffee and swimming class deadlines.

I make no apologies for a lazy day every now and then and was in my element wandering around Thomastown which - for a small town - has a lot about it, from a fantastic community who were putting on a kid's scary movie and one more suitable for bigger kids aged 18 and up. Going somewhere you haven't been in ages proved a great way to break from the chains of routine and while there, walking along a country lane in bucolic bliss, I seized upon a notion to continue my tour d'horizon with an added leg: Kilkenny City.

The main road to the castle was blocked with a traffic diversion sign and it was then that the penny dropped: Savour Food Festival was going on.

I had attended the festival years ago and loved it, and had read in September that it was coming up, but it was by pure chance (and maybe a smidgin of curiosity) that I ended up in the Marble City as the sun was setting on the final day of summer time, (the clocks due to change several hours later).

I picked up some books in the local book shop and browsed around before making my way over towards the castle.

As a foodie I relished the opportunity to get in amongst the stalls, sampling and buying hot food, as the temperatures dropped to the low single digits, and I wasn't disappointed. All along the front of the castle were over 100 stalls, selling everything from Indian street food to Meadowsweet Irish jam. The festival atmosphere was made even more compete with the placing of a giant gramophone in the middle of the promenade, playing old classics. Arms laden with bags of wonderful treats for The Whirlwind Wonder and The Little Fella (it felt good to support artisan Irish food producers), and belly full of piping hot pig on the spit with hot apple sauce, I returned home amazed at how well the festival was run.

Of course we're spoiled for choice when it comes to festivals in Wicklow and Wexford, Wexford Opera Festival being a prime example, generating over €20m a year for the local economy in an otherwise quiet time of year for businesses.

On Sunday, joined by some friends, I worked off some of the Savour gluttony with a 84km cycle on the Waterford Greenway, which was bookended by wonderful Spraoi Hallowe'en creeps and ghoul installations.

Getting out on the bike for the first time in ages after a lie in made my weekend. With so much choice within a short drive who'd be bored!

Gorey Guardian

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