The annual Kinsale Arts Festival has invited the entire Irish diaspora for a cup of tea.

Inspired by The Gathering Ireland and the idea of getting together with friends both old and new, Kinsale’s ninth Arts Festival will include a ‘Come Home For Your Tea Day’.

The day promises to be one of fun, live music, bake-offs and children’s workshops among other entertainments. A comedy show by author of ‘The Book of Irish Mammies’, Colm O’Regan, is sure to bring fun and laughter to the day while well known queens of home cooking, Darina and Rachel Allen, will host one of the main events of the day - an afternoon baking competition -  the winner of which will be crowned the Kinsale Arts Festival Bake Queen (or King).

Another highlight will be the production of ‘White Rabbit, Red Rabbit’ which will see some of Ireland’s well known actors perform a script they haven’t previously read in front of a live audience. For one night each, Sinead Cusack, Fionnula Flanagan and Mark O’Halloran will perform in this show, which Festival Director Marie McPartlin describes as a “surprising journey for the performer as much as the audience”.

McPartlin says the ‘Come Home for Your Tea Day’ is all about showing off that famous Irish hospitality. “We’re drawing on the uniqueness of Kinsale [as the gastronomic capital of Ireland] and also on the notion of what it is to return to a place, which is very much what The Gathering is about,” McPartlin says. “So it's about presenting Kinsale and the people of Kinsale as being very open to offering that kind of hospitality to old and new visitors. We’re saying, ‘Come and see this as your home even if you’ve never been here before.’”


Tea is the coffee of Ireland. If you enter someone’s house it’s very offensive to turn down a cup of good Irish tea.PAUL GROVER