Clonmel Applefest kicks off
In compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, this year's festival offers a variety of virtual and socially-distanced events, writes Katie Barragry.

Clonmel Applefest is up and running for a third term, commencing today, 24 September, with a planned four days of food, heritage and nature.

Although the festival will have a different twist this year, organisers say there will still be something for everyone. The “Wild and Wonderful” theme will feature a range of activities including an Apple Bake Off, a photographic showcase and a live music session on Friday 25 September.

Marketing officer of Applefest Jennifer Cox is optimistic despite current regulations: “Our festival is very much about enjoying the tangible – tasting the fabulous produce Tipperary has to offer, getting hands on with craft demonstrations, socialising and gathering to experience art and poetry,” she says.

“We have really tried to create a programme that still reflects all that.”

Some usual Applefest gatherings have been substituted with interactive alternatives. Adhering to COVID-19 guidelines, the festival will run these virtual events via the website and Facebook page. The festival will also provide a good mixture of pre-recorded events, Zoom conferences and ticketed outdoor activities.

Interactive QR codes have been installed along their Biodiversity Trail Walk; curated by entomologist Louise Garcia. The trail spreads across eight locations in Clonmel. Using smartphones, Applefest participants can learn about the biodiversity of each area. While observing social distancing, Applefest encourages participants to get out and about in a COVID-friendly manner.

There will be a guided trail walk along the Suir Blueway with experienced ecologist Mieke Muyllaert at 12pm on Sunday 27 September. Louise says the aim of the trail walk is to inform locals about biodiversity in the area.

One of the works of art featured in the Clonmel Applefest Roundabout Installation. \John Kelly

“We hope even people familiar with the route will learn something new about how the river acts as a corridor and reserve for biodiversity in the heart of the town,” she says.

The festival’s Rewilding and Restoration event will take place via Zoom on Friday 25 September at 8pm featuring a discussion between Paddy Woodworth of The Irish Times and Padraic Fogarty of the Irish Wildlife Trust. They plan to explore strategies on ecological restoration and rewilding.

Filmed at different several town locations, the Words Spoken in the Wild Event is available to watch across the festival’s website, Facebook page and YouTube channel. Against the backdrop of Raven’s Rock Glamping Site in the Comeraghs, participants can watch poetry recitals as well as music from the Nugent sisters, Mary and Michelle.

Garcia hopes that attendees will “relish the opportunity to get out, do something active and learn more about our natural heritage”.

For more information, click here.