The Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival takes place at the end of May/beginning of June each year and is growing from strength to strength. The activities to do, the history to find out about, the fun to take part in - its just amazing. This word is overused, sometimes, but in this context is completely correct - I’m amazed at the community spirit that works for months to bring it together, I’m amazed at the pride of place in Ballycastle and Rathlin Island that is on display throughout the festival and I’m amazed at the raft of delights on both sides of the sound as well as the encouragement offered to make us look towards the water as a connecting factor not a barrier. David Quninny Mee did more than most by helping not only organise the festival but row a curragh from Rathlin to Ballycastle to launch the festival! On a side note, I met one of the other rowers - Ruairidh Morrison of the North Coast Smokehouse - at a Taste of the Causeway Coast and Glens celebration that evening and you’d never have known the man had risked life and limb on the Atlantic Ocean to reach the party! Respect to them all!
My own festival was, as you might imagine, very foodie orientated. I compered at the Saturday and Sunday cookery demos and was blown away by the calibre and quality of the chefs and their food. Here is a link to one of the demos I really enjoyed: Oliver Molloy - son of Peter Molloy one of the main organisers. A delight to meet and watch cook. I learnt a lot and so did others who watched the banter. Hope he comes back to Ballycastle for good one day.
The other chefs were Alastair Crown from Corndale Farm Chorizo, Tony Rodgers from Tony’s Griddle Goods and Cara O’Donovan from The Portrush Deli Company.
An important foodie element this year was the Ulster Chowder Cook-off. Pol Shields from Upstairs at Joe’s won last year and represented us beautifully in Kinsale in April at the All Ireland final. This year’s worthy winner was Gary Stewart from Tartine at the Distiller’s Arms with Darren Benham of the Bushmills Inn a very close second. Can’t wait for the Bushmills Salmon and Whiskey Festival to try all their food!
Why not have a scroll through the Festival’s Facebook page, have a laugh at the videos, see if you can see yourself in the photo montage and promise me you’ll be here next year having fun with us. Dare you to enter the Sandcastle Competition!! See you there!