The Great Game Fairs of Ireland

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Birr Food Festival including- the rush of rabbit

Rabbit is an often overlooked meat - fresh from the fields with no hormones added! At the fair the Victorian Poacher Steven McGonigal will demonstrate how to catch rabbits using long nets and other devices and celebrity chef Emmett Mc Court will show how they can be turned into superb traditional and modern dishes.

Emma with the Victorian Poacher and some rabbits
Emma with the Victorian Poacher and some rabbits

The 2017 Fine Food Festival

Game Fair chef, Emmett McCourt, will be cooking up wonders with trout and rabbit on the Flogas kitchen and the Game Fair Team will have brought together the very best of Irish food - cheeses, preserves, olives, nuts, dried fruits, eels, traditional confectionery, cakes & bakery products, meat and game and, of course, the best local beer and cider.

A groaning table of foodie delights at Birr

Fine Food

It's only right and natural that a Game and Country Fair should have a strong focus on bringing food to the table and that's exactly what you can expect this year at the Great Game Fair at Birr Castle. In keeping with the season, trout and rabbit will feature on the menu, as well as gourmet delights, celebrity chefs and, of course, the Game Fair regular, Peter Gott of Sillfield Farm.

Great pies from Peter Gott
Great pies from Peter Gott

A perennial favourite at the Fair, Peter will be selling his wares - game pies and the best of venison, wild boar, sausages and slow food delights, but there will also be other familiar faces - and new ones - in the Food Festival pavilion.

Fair Director Albert Titterington said: "We've brought together an eclectic mix of the very finest food and drink from all over Ireland, including Game Fair favourites pies, cheeses, chutneys, ciders etc.

Of course, no Food Festival would be complete without live cookery demonstrations and the Game Fair's very own celebrity chef, Emmett McCourt, will be cooking up a feast of delights on the Flogas kitchen at the Food Festival. Emmett will be creating a range of mouthwatering dishes to celebrate the Game Fair themes of trout and rabbit and he'll also have signed copies of book 'Feast or Famine, a cultural food journey of the north west of Ireland' on sale."

"I've cooked everywhere from Belfast to Boston, but the Great Irish Game Fairs are definitely my favourite gig," said Emmett. "It's a real celebration of bringing the country sports harvest to the table, whether that's game or fish, and to me that is the essence of good, honest food."

Chef to the Great Game Fairs of Ireland, Emmett Mc Court, has had a great influence on, and played a central role in the development of the Food Festival at the Fair. Like all of the Great Game Fairs team , Emmett is a keen countrysportsman enjoying both shooting and flyfishing - and quite accomplished at both as he has twice finished runner up in the casting competitions at the fair.

Emmett out of kitchen in angling action

Emmett is also an award winning food author with his book 'Feast or Famine' having won several prestigious awards and recently the top accolade of all 'The Best Culinary Travel Book in the World'!!!! Packed with traditional recipes of interest to the country sports enthusiast but also a good historical read this is one book that should be on every countrysports enthusiast's book shelves. It is available from Emmett at the Fair or

the FLOGAS kitchen at the both fairs Emmett will cook venison and game dishes, rabbit dishes and all sorts of fish dishes including possibly Lough Neagh eels.

Running down through the other exhibitors there is much to interest and tempt the taste buds of the dedicated 'foodie' including

Cheese from Old Irish Creamery

Old Irish Creamery is a family based business in Co. Limerick village called Effin which lies in the shadows of the famed Ballyhoura mountains where they manufacture range of cheddar cheeese with/without adddittives such as Oak Smoked, Garlic & Herbs, Chilli, Cranberries, Blueberries, Walnuts, Irish Porter, Irish Whiskey, Red Wine, Chocolate, Seaweed, Chives and many more. Old Irish Creamery range has won 90 national/international awards to date since began manufacture in 2008, from Gold, Silver and Bronze awards at World Cheeese awards and Nantwich International Cheese Awards, Blas na hEireann and other national events. 100% Irish Cheddar and 100% natural ingredients.

Carrick Cottage Dips from Colin Coulter

"Dips which are our dried herbs and spices, made to our own recipes; they are totally gluten free and contain no preservatives or additives. They are very versatile - they can be made into dips with mayo or natural yogurt, sour cream or creme fraiche. They can be added to oil to make marinades or salad dressing. They can also be made into rubs for meat or added directly into soups, stews, casseroles and stir fries. Finally they can be added as seasoning to any dish. They have a long shelf life and will make up to 6 pots of dip, and can be resealed and reused thus reducing waste."

Kilmegan Cider

Based in the shadow of the Mourne Mountains Kilbegan Cider specialises in small batch production of three brands:

Kilbegan Cider

Real Cider: Giving you a taste of the original art of cider making, our Real Cider is a fully dry, 100% pure juice cider that has not been pasteurised or filtered, allowing a secondary in bottle fermentation. This gives you a light, natural carbonation with fresh fruit flavours and a long finish

Elder Flower Cider: Picked on warm, dry mornings and in their prime, local, wild elderflowers are only then ready to be carefully infused and later blended to our 100% pure juice and unfiltered 'Real Cider' to give you a delicate and subtle floral finish.

Irish Farmhouse Cider: Using a traditional rack and cloth press this unique cider is made with 100% pure juice. Later we blend in the sweet juice from late season eating apples to our fermented cider to give you a fresh apple finish. Suitably chilled our Irish Farmhouse Cider is enjoyed on any occasion.

Crossogue Preserves

"Tipperary Award winning Artisan Preserve Company. Makers of jams, marmalades, chutneys, relishes, curds and sugar free spreads. Simplicity combined with superiority is the key to success at Crossogue Preserves, a recipient of over 50 awards throughout 20 years in business.

Natural full flavoured preserves, using no artificial flavourings, colours or preservatives. Our range of preserves is based on Irish family recipes handed down through generations.

Traditional cooking methods along with the highest quality ingredients make Crossogue Preserves a little luxury enjoyed by connoisseurs everywhere. We believe that truly great preserves should be made by hand using artisan cooking skills of producing small batches, just 20 at a time. We also use our own handmade Pectin which results in our unique distinctive flavour.

Our extensive variety of products are carefully sourced to maintain our high standards of customer satisfaction."

A Taste of Cavan

From Cavan come some of the best sausages, in a variety of flavours, that you will find anywhere. Barry John's award winning sausages can be sampled and Director Albert Titterington suggests the 'Bacon & Cabbage'; 'Curry' and 'Red Onion' are not to be missed.

Also for those with a sweet tooth also from Cavan comes 'The Muffin Man' with his great muffins and bakes.

These are just some of the quality exhibitors in the Fine Food Festival Birr Castle on the 26th & 27th August make sure you pop into the pavilions to see for yourself!

Ireland's Real Game Fairs © Irish Game & County Fair