Taking an innovative approach to The Gathering, Westport Country Markets made their local gathering a cross-border occasion as well as a celebration of everything the market sells.
Chairperson Aileen Keogh invited delegates from markets in Northern Ireland to join stallholders, hoteliers, business and tourism representative at a special lunch in Westport “Lunch” is in fact too small a word for the magnificent buffet which was laid out in the Clew Bay Hotel dining room last Thursday.
It was a gourmet celebration of all that’s best about the Country Market in Westport.
Even regular market-goers were genuinely overwhelmed by what can be created from the produce – organic salads bursting with flavour; sweet shellfish and buttery soft smoked fish, tangy dips, farm fresh eggs festooned with edible flowers, traditional pork pies and delicious quiches all accompanied by a selection of home baked breads.
The dessert table would have impressed the queen of baking, Mary Berry herself, with feather light strawberry sponges, decadent millionaire’s shortbread and luscious chocolate cakes competing for attention with fruit pies, muffins, tarts and trifles. “It doesn’t get any better than this”, enthused one visitor, heading back for seconds. Even the tables were decorated with fresh flowers from the market.
Westport is fortunate to have this cornucopia of local produce on sale every Thursday morning at the Boxing Club in the James Street Car Park.
If you’ve never been there, make a point of dropping in between 8.30am and 1pm any Thursday morning.
Have a browse around the food, craft and flower stalls. Enjoy some of the tasty samples which always seem to be generously offered. Meet a friend for a cuppa (with a homemade scone or two). Most of all, meet some of the people involved.
You might be surprised at what you find. Westport Country Market is a magnet for tourists and visitors from home and abroad but astonishingly it seems to be a hidden secret for many people who live in or around the town.
Don’t be a stranger – explore Westport County Market this week.
Pictured above: At the Country Markets Gathering hosted by Westport Country Markets at the Clew Bay Hotel last week were: (from left) Daphne McCammon (Markethill Country Markets, Armagh), Eileen Richardson (Cookstown Country Market), Anna Tolan (Country Markets Mayo Area Rep), Myra McCammon( Markethill Armagh), Helen Shanley and Shirley Piggins from Westport Country Markets and Lucinda Hughes (Country Markets Rep Northern Ireland). Photo: Conor McKeown