Apple and cider to be celebrated at new South Tipp festival

A celebration of the apple and the many ways it can be enjoyed will take place in Cahir.

A celebration of the apple and the many ways it can be enjoyed will take place in Cahir.

The Slow Food Apple and Craft Cider Festival,the first of its kind in the country, will be held on September 22 and 23.

The festival will celebrate the apple and the many ways it is enjoyed, with the revival of traditional pure-juice cider as a central theme.

This inaugural event will also see Irish Seed Savers bringing their annual Apple Day to South Tipperary to make the festival a true seed to cider affair.

The festival will be family friendly and there will be lots of activities for old and young. On Saturday the emphasis is on food and drink and on Sunday the apple itself is very much the centre of attention.

Throughout the weekend there will be opportunities to try Irish craft ciders, watch apple-pressing and cider-making demonstrations, to learn about Irish apple varieties and the history of apple-growing and cider-making. Apple growers and producers of apple-based foods will be showcasing their products and there will be opportunities to enjoy great local food with a distinct apple flavour.

Day-time events will take place at the Traas family Apple Farm in Moorstown, Cahir. There will be a festival dinner in Cahir House Hotel and a craft cider trail in Cahir town on Saturday evening.

The tradition of local cider-making endured in Ireland until the middle of the 20th century, and now a new wave of small-scale Irish pure cider-makers are making their presence felt.

Paul Deegan, from Slow Food, said - “As an organisation we have always been concerned with the preservation of local food heritage. Apples and cider are an integral part of the South Tipperary landscape. We feel the time has come to celebrate the local cider-making tradition and promote the Irish apple-growing industry, and where better to start than in Tipperary.”

In recent years there have been a number of innovations from Irish apple growers, such as apple cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple brandy and apple syrup. These producers are the vanguard of a fledgling industry that has significant potential for growth, is totally sustainable and is a perfect fit for the “Green Food Island”.

Craft cider and other apple-based products offer growers an economically viable use for apples with the potential for export and to contribute to the economy of the region. Con Traas of the Apple Farm said: “As a country we import 90% of our apples, and this is such a pity, especially since we can grow such great tasting apples. If we grew even half of these fruit here it could provide 300 jobs, and there is no reason why Tipperary should not be the place to do it.”