The Real Harvest Festival

It’s an event that happens each October in Skibbereen.  The celebration of bringing in the harvest in this rural community is marked on a Friday in October in Abbeystrewry Church of Ireland.  The church community provide a Turkey Supper which is enjoyed by hundreds and often into double figures.   Five hundred takeways are packed and carted off as soon as the side doors of the hall open at 5 pm.

For the rest of us there is a steady queue outside the front of the church hall as we line up in the hope of sitting in.  Inside the hall  rows of tables are set up horizontally across the room from one end to the other.  Along the left hand wall of the room long thin trestle tables are weighed with mis-matched dishes each piled high with food.  There are heaps of home cooked turkey, hams, potato salad, coleslaw, a medley of vegetables, salads, pastas, cous cous, in fact a rainbow coloured display of different foods which are stacked on to proffered porcelain plates.   In fact some people’s plates are piled so high with food, one couldn’t imagine that anyone could eat that much, but they can and they do!

We sit where we can fit in and amiably engage with others who are at a more advanced stage of their Turkey Supper.  The ladies of the  Church weave in and out and around the tables, topping up plates of soda bread, scones and cakes, refilling cups of tea, jugs of milk and guiding the lonesome into the company of others.

When the heaped plates are devoured, it’s time for dessert.   There is every kind of home cooked dessert imaginable from trifles, jellies, cheesecakes, meringues, gateaux of all descriptions and the good news is that seconds are permitted, that is if you have room.  And most people do!

Tea and cake and chat, a glass of wine if you prefer and the evening has just begun.   The ticket price for the meal includes entrance to the dancing which will kick off around 10 pm in the West Cork Hotel.  So perchance to dance away the night and dissolve the extra pounds consumed earlier.

Abbeystrewry Church of Ireland Turkey Supper is a fundraiser for the Church.  Church members, cook, make, bake, pack up the takeaways, prepare the tables and chairs for sit down, serve during the meal and do the wash up and clear afterwards.

I really enjoy the Turkey Supper as I think it is one of the best community events in the town.



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