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New Festival brings the Rooster home to Carlow

After 40 years the Rooster Potato is returning to its roots for the first ever “Carlow Rooster Festival” which was launched earlier this week at Teagasc Oak Park in Carlow. The festival is scheduled for 5th to 7th October and is designed to reach a wide audience, providing fun, entertainment, education, competition and of course buckets of potatoes.

New Festival brings the Rooster home to Carlow
Pictured at the launch of the Festival are: Left to Right – (Front Row) Prof. Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc; Prof. Frank O Mara, Director of research Teagasc; Denis Griffin, Teagasc Potato Breeder and Researcher; Derek Shannon, County Carlow Chamber; Yvonne O Toole, President County Carlow Chamber (Back Row) Brian O’Farrell, CEO County Carlow Chamber; John J Hogan, Farm Manager Teagasc Oak Park; John Spink, Head of Crops Environment and Land use programme; Michael Hennessy, Head of Crops Knowledge Transfer; Shay Phelan, Tillage and Potato Specialist.

“We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to Oak Park for the Rooster Festival in October and believe that this is a great opportunity to showcase the Potato in a unique way and highlight its worldwide appeal.”

On Friday, 5th October, the first day of the festival, is also National Potato day and students from a across the region are invited to learn about the development of the Rooster by legendary potato breeder Harry Kehoe and a range of other topics including breeding, agronomy, pathology, soils and farm safety to mention but a few. Bord Bia will coordinate their National Potato Day activities from the site and there will also be several cooking demonstrations and nutritional talks by Aoife Aherne and Pádraic Óg Gallagher. The day is designed to assist students preparing for leaving certificate, providing insight and practical guidance on several topics.   Vita the Irish development partner, which works with communities in Africa to fight hunger and climate change will also be part of the festival to showcase some of their projects and how the real-life application is proving to be transformative in the lives of participating farmers.

Saturday 6th October welcomes a family fun day to Teagasc Oak Park, with Machinery through the ages, Junior Treasure Hunt, Children’s Fun Area, Tours of Oak Park House, Potato Breeding & Cooking Demonstrations, pick your own Potatoes and the National Potato Picking Championships. The day commences from 12 noon and entry to is free.

Over the three days across Carlow there are a host of other activities taking place as part of the festival, with Marty Mone headlining the Barn Dance in Dinn Ri, live music in pubs taking part in the SPUB Crawl, and an opportunity to taste some amazing cuisine as some of the best restaurants in Carlow showcase special potato dishes for the weekend, like Chef Caolon Pendergast of the Woodford Dolmen Hotel who has developed the “Walsh Whiskey and Rooster Custard Tart” especially for the festival.

Commenting at the launch of the festival, Derek Shannon, festival organiser noted: “This festival is designed to celebrate the Rooster Potato, a Carlovian that has taken the world by storm over the last 30 years since it was developed in Oak Park; with a range of events over the weekend there is definitely something for everyone”

The event has been organised by County Carlow Chamber in partnership with Teagasc and Bord Bia with the support of Carlow County Council, IPM Potato Group, and Peter Keogh and sons.

Denis Griffin of Teagasc commented: “We are looking forward to welcoming everyone to Oak Park for the Rooster Festival in October and believe that this is a great opportunity to showcase the Potato in a unique way and highlight its worldwide appeal.”

Further information on the festival can be found at www.lovecarlow.ie and on social media #RoosterFest2018