The Irish summer has a brand new hero. August bank holiday weekends will never be the same again, because this summer to remember has just become utterly unforgettable.
I don’t drink alcohol anymore, I gave it up a few years ago. The transition to festival goer who is also tee-total hasn’t been seamless and maybe it’s okay to now say I just wasn’t sure where I fit in anymore at the likes of EP and Body and Soul. But all is now well in my festival world with the arrival of All Together Now, where across 16 stages the very best of music, comedy, spoken word, food and theatre was present. But it was so much more that that.
Curraghmore House is the home of the Marquis of Waterford, and the welcome mat was rolled out for all of us to enjoy this, the largest private estate in Ireland. We could roam all around the parameter of the house and stables, wander the Japanese gardens, the parterre and the woods. One of the most endearing activities of the weekend was a treasure hunt to find some of Crotty the Robbers (he was the Robin Hood of Waterford) buried treasure. Each clue gave you a gem from the Estate’s history. And the prize at the end? Little teeny tiny real gold bullion. How sweet is that?
The Lawns of Tranquility, between the House and the lake, were laid out in a geometric shape, which was in homage to the estate’s 800 year old healing crystal which was still in use up to the 1960’s. There were a massive array of treatments available from Friday – Sunday. Most of them were free, some were €10. There were various forms of yoga, reiki, reflexology etc. I had a glorious Sunday morning sound bath with Sídhe Sound Healing, before the rest of the campers had woken up.
In the woods beside the Lawns of Tranquility was the Greencrafts Village, easily my favourite spot. I could have stayed all weekend just chatting to the people who teach there. I made soaps with the Dingle Druid, Juli. She has so much knowledge and is happy to share it. I made a willow platter under the tutelage of Cathy Hayden, who has the patience of a saint. I would have loved to have worked with the blacksmith but unfortunately I was just looking for ways to cool down.
The food options at a festival of this size are incredible. They are catering to everyone, well maybe except for poor Ivan who just wanted the seaweed seasoned chips you get at Body and Soul. There was a particularly local flavour at play, with the Harty boys from Dungarvan shelling free, yes free, oysters all weekend, while the queue for Walsh’s Bakehouse blaas grew longer as the weekend went on (they were worth it though). But my food highlight was a lobster roll from here in Co. Clare, thanks to Julia’s Lobster Truck, straight from the Burren.
Other little acts of kindness that typified the weekend were the security staff offering people a squirt of suncream as they headed in to the main arena, people picking up others’ rubbish, and a man going from door to door of the campervans around us because he’d found a bank card close by and was hoping to reunite it with its owner. So there you have it, All Together Now gets a 10/10 from us, with the hope that they bring it back next year x