VLOG: Irish Vegan Festival & Exploring Belfast Charity Shops

Last weekend was Irish Vegan Festival so two friends and I bussed it up to Belfast, excited and hungry for some vegan yummies. Needless to say, we tried some delicious vegan food, but also some not so delicious food, but that’s to be expected. A vegan convention can seem like heaven, but you’re not going to like EVERYTHING!

I uploaded my vlog to my YouTube channel so you can see some of the beautifully presented food and awesome products on offer at the fest, but I’ll just do a brief recap here too!

We hurried and arrived at the Waterfront where the fest was held at 11.40am, buirish vegan festival t it’s better late than never, right? Unfortunately the bus times were against us – we got on at 9.3am and the journey takes about 2 hours. It didn’t make much of a difference as there was plenty to see and eat, but it took us a while to get our bearings and figure out how to get there.

Once we arrived we made a beeline for a hot food stall – Sgaia. I’m so glad we went here because their Eg and Bacon Brioche Burger was EPIC! I’d eat it EVERY day if I had the chance (so it’s probably a good thing it’s not widely available). Plus they had a great ticket system for serving people so we didn’t have to queue for an hour before getting our food (I’m reminded of tirish vegan festival he Moodley Manor stall at Veg Fest last year – we were in that queue so long the food was cold by the time we got it!)

We also tried a pastry that I initially thought was an eclair (no cream inside unfortunately!) that was pretty good, and we gave The Crazy Rabbit ice cream a try too. I picked tahini swirl, my friend Katie chose passion fruit and her boyfriend Jamie picked coffee. The coffee one was great but the passion fruit one was a little flavourless, whereas the tahini swirl just tasted TOO MUCH like tahini. For something that’s called ‘swirl’, it was just too strong a taste. However, it’s an Irish company and they just started up, so I’d definitely give their stuff a go again in the future! irish vegan festival

Katie and I gave a chilli sauce a go that almost burnt our tongues off and we tried some strawberry almond milk (though it wasn’t my cup of tea). We also picked up some very cute t-shirts (I picked one with the slogan ‘Eat Cake, Not Steak’ and Katie chose ‘Eat Jam, Not Ham’) for about £20 each, which is pretty steep, but we loved the design so much we ignored the protestations of our purses!

There was a VR experience at one of the stalls but Jamie gave it a go and it turned his stomach so Katie and I decided to give it a miss. We already know the horrors that animals face at the abattoir and have no desire to see it in action. It’s too devastating. However, this kind of thing would be excellent for opening the minds of some curious omnivores.

irish vegan festival

The Waterfront space was a really good size as you could walk about among the crowd without feeling suffocated and there were plenty of areas where you could just sit and chill, including a kids corner. There were lots of bins (though it would’ve been nice to see a recycling system) and a good area just outside the stalls area where you can get a cuppa tea or a beer.

After the convention, we went exploring to check out a few charity shops. All three of us love a bargain and we could happily spend a long time in a charity store. We all managed to pick up a few steals – including a corduroy skirt for Katie, pyjamas for Jamie and a cardigan and shirt for me. Buying from charity shops and second hand stores is more environmentally friendly so checking them out before going to a mainstream store is a good rule of thumb!

Overall I had a great time and I would go to the festival again so props to the organisers for all the hard work! I hope that Farplace Animal Rescue made plenty of cash to help the FIV+ cats they take care of!


Preparing for Irish Vegan Festival 2017

It almost feels like yesterday when I went to Dublin Veg Fest last year, so it’s weird for me to think that I’m going to my second ever vegan festival tomorrow – Irish Vegan Festival!

Cork Veg Fest is on at the same time (the same people who ran Dublin Veg Fest) and they kindly offered me tickets to go, but I’d already bought tickets to Irish Vegan Festival and made plans with friends to go so I had to refuse. If only I could be in two places at once!

I’m really excited to check out all the latest vegan food and products, though my wallet isn’t as thrilled. It’s a good thing I got paid this week, because I can see myself going a little crazy! Being in a big room filled with other like minded folk browsing tables and stalls filled with vegan stuff and NOT having to check the ingredients on anything? I mean, it’s kind of like vegan heaven right? 😀

I’m hoping to get some vegan merch (perhaps from the organisers, Farplace Animal Rescue, who help cats with FIV+) and try some delicious food with good friends. I’m going up with two vegans, Katie and Jamie, and possibly another friend called Casey (though she’s not sure if she’ll be able to make it yet – fingers crossed she can!) We’re going to get the bus up at 9.30am and back down at 5.30pm (so I can put money I would’ve spent on a hotel room towards vegan yummies instead!)

I’ll be vlogging my trip so I’ll be sure to get lots of shots of the food and atmosphere for anyone who wanted to go but couldn’t. Stay tuned for the video, which I’ll post on my YouTube channel a few days after the fest 🙂

I know there’ll be loads of vegan food there, but I’m just in the habit now of always taking a little bag of snacks with me – inside will be a Cashew Cookie bar from Nakd, some Lotus biscuits and a little packet of raisins – just in case! I’ll also pack a few pears and some water for the bus journey up! I imagine we’ll have to queue for a while, so I don’t want to go hungry while I’m waiting!

The sunny weather has basically disappeared now so although I want to be comfy, I also don’t want to risk wearing something light and then being cold! I’ll see how the temperature is tomorrow, but I’ll probably end up wearing a coat!

Here’s the programme for anyone interested:

10:15am – 11:00am Didgeridoo Belfast with Terry McDonald and Shakti Tribe Belly Dancers
11:00am – 12:15pm Mellow Strings Guitar Duo Jonathan
12:15pm – 1:00pm Didgeridoo Belfast with Terry McDonald and Shakti Tribe Belly Dancers
1:00pm – 2:15pm Mellow Strings Guitar Duo Jonathan
2:15pm – 3:00pm Didgeridoo Belfast with Terry McDonald and Shakti Tribe Belly Dancers

Talks and Demos 
11:00am – 12:00pm Introduction to veganism Stephen Walsh
12:00pm – 1:00pm ‘Why vegan’ Ethical, Environmental and Health by Cliff Grant Focusing on ethics, nutrition and health and the harm caused by the meat and dairy industry and common misconceptions with regards to a healthy diet and nutritional requirements.
1:00pm – 2:30pm Go Vegan Campaign Sandra Higgins
2:30pm – 3:15pm DxE DxE Northern Ireland Direct Action Everywhere community and I will be presenting the evidence that supports why non-violent direct action is effective as well as discussing DxE’s 3 pronged approach; protest, open rescue and community building.
3:15pm – 4:15pm Heres to you, you and you Richard Deboo Living poetry and prose in performance, a celebration of being vegan
4:15pm – 4:55pm – Bangor Community Kitchen Laura Mashal Talk on vegan food waste

Get Excited For Irish Vegan Festival 2017

If you can’t make it to Cork Veg Fest, you still have another option to choose from! Irish Vegan Festival is also on May 13th in Belfast at the Waterfront Venue (bit of an awkward scheduling problem there, but it’s great for those of us who can’t travel to Cork!).

Last year when I attended Dublin Veg Fest, I’d never heard of any kind of veggie/vegan festival before. I suppose I could attribute that to the fact I’ve only been vegan almost a year, but I do think it’s because veganism is on the rise and these festivals have sprung up to meet demand. The more vegans the better!

irish vegan festival

It’s a Farplace Animal Rescue Charity event and the tickets to get in to Irish Vegan Festival are just £2.50, which is a total steal considering the size of the event! Over 3k people have clicked ‘Going’ on the festival’s Facebook events page which is an incredible amount of people, so get buying if you want to secure a ticket!

There’s a huge number of events on the day including cooking demos for cashew cheese and coconut curry, as well as a talk by Vegan Lifestyle Magazine editor Brenda Carey and screenings of vegan documentaries. Check out their website for more information, as there’s plenty of great stuff happening at the event!

Check out Cosmic Colette’s video of last year’s festival:

Are you planning on going? Let me know in the comments! Maybe I’ll see you there!

Mark Your Calendar For Dublin Vegfest 2016!

A vegan festival is a great indication that times are changing and more people are embracing an ethical lifestyle, so I was very pleasantly surprised to come across a poster for Dublin Vegfest (taking place September 11th), a vegan festival full of cruelty-free food and wares.

As there are so few vegan businesses around the country at the moment (though that’s certainly changing!), I didn’t expect there to be an entire festival dedicated to the vegan movement. It’s going to be so great being in a place where I can eat and buy absolutely everything without checking the label! That is genuinely exciting!

The event is going to be held at the Griffith Conference Centre, which is actually on the campus of my alma mater, Griffith College Dublin. That’ll be quite nostalgic and I might bump into some of my old lecturers, so it’s a huge win-win so far! The festival will take place over 3 whole floors so I have very high expectations about the food and products on offer.

Last year’s festival was visited by around 1200 people and I think this year will draw an even bigger crowd due to the huge rise in veganism all around the world (Britain has seen a 350% rise in veganism in the past decade).

According to Dublin Vegfest’s Facebook event page:

Dublin Vegfest 2016 promises to be an incredible day of the best in vegan food, natural ethical products, lifestyle talks, food demos, cruelty-free products, super foods, exhibitors, info stalls, performances, non-profits and lots more! You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy Dublin Vegfest; you can hang out eating great food, trying natural ethical products, you can learn about plant based health benefits, and enjoy a performance or a talk among a super friendly gathering.

Even more exciting is that Emily Barwick Moran/ Bite Size Vegan will be speaking at the event this year.

Dublin Vegfest 2016

In case you haven’t heard of her (and if you haven’t, where have you been?), she simplifies complex vegan issues in an engaging, approachable way that appeals to vegans and non-vegans alike, creating new vegans and arming existing vegans with the tools they need to get active.

I’m a huge fan of hers and can’t wait to meet her! Check out some of her awesome videos here.

You can pick up tickets for just €8 plus a €1 booking fee here.