This weekend sees the second annual Stoneybatter Festival take place. The festival will launch on Friday the 22nd at the Community Centre on Prussia Street, opened by Cllr Aine Clancy at 7.30pm, setting the scene for a weekend of history, music, food and entertainment featuring contributions from nearly fifty local businesses and establishments.
The festival last year was a first for the area; and more time has been afforded this time around for preparation. Originally the festival grew out of the Stoneybatter Pride of Place, which won All Ireland Best Urban Heritage Village in 2016.
"It was a huge success and the local businesses were delighted with the event. Some were wary of getting involved as they didn't know how busy it would be," said Vera O’Grady, festival organiser on both the Food and Drink and History, Heritage and Art committees. "Everybody is getting involved this year of course!"
Saturday features music from Stoneymatters, with music from performers and DJs in The Glimmerman pub, history and readings in Lilliput Press and food tasting and discussion entitled ‘From Cowtown to Scotch Eggs: the food of Stoneybatter, past, present and future’ in L. Mulligan Grocer. Sunday events are even more family centred, with street performances and stages including an appearance by Pauline McGlynn for ‘Mrs Doyle’s Tea Party – The Great Batter Bake Off’ and guest of honour President Michael D. Higgins. The weekend also offers craft farmers markets and a food and drink trail all weekend.
What is so special about Stoneybatter? Vera believes it is because there is a great sense of community in the area. "There's a variety of residents - young and old, local and blow-ins like myself from Mallow," she explained.
Stoneybatter, most definitely, is an area rich with history and heritage, mixed with modern and exciting new restaurants, cafes and bars. Now pulling in students with the nearby DIT Grangegorman campus, as well as a younger generation, the area still has deep roots and depth that newer developments in the city cannot compare to. "The aim of the festival is to bring the community together and showcase everything Stoneybatter has to offer," Vera continued.
The level of organisation with the festival is also quite high, with committees and sub-committees taking on individual aspects of the overall festival. ‘"We have a main committee that anybody can join and then sub-committees that meet separately," Vera explained. "Joe Costello (Labour) is the Chairperson, Davina Smith is the Secretary and Louise Keegan is the Treasurer."