The Taste of Dublin 2017 in the Iveagh Gardens on Sunday; Marcel Krueger

And How was Taste of Dublin for you?

Marcel Krueger writes:

I’m a German national living in Ireland for almost eleven years. I arrived on the dying breath of the Celtic Tiger, stayed through the crash and the burst housing bubble and watched the country recover economically. And again these days, there are signs that everyone’s partying again – whatever the cost.

Taste of Dublin is a four-day food festival taking place in the Iveagh Gardens in Dublin, and brands itself as the ‘ultimate foodie festival’.

I got my first ever taste of this event on Sunday, and while the food was indeed very good, I left with a bad aftertaste.

A standard ticket to the festival, which only included the entry to the site, set you back 22.50 Euros. The first thing I saw after entering was a sales display for luxury cars. Mixed with the food stands (where a small dish sets you back between 4 and 10 Euros) were stands advertising artificial grass, kitchen knives and art photographs..

Everything was branded and the presentation layered through sponsors and promotional agencies: the entertainment programme (which mostly consists of dance crews constantly mentioning their entertainment agency between performances and cover bands), the many bars, and even the butter stand (“Best Dressed Stand” or something) seemed to be operated by promoters.

The main sponsor, a German kitchen appliances producer, had a private lounge, and there was also a VIP suite run by a champagne producer in association with a cruise operator.

As mentioned before, the food was good and I enjoyed the craft beers on offer too, and there were a few independent operators (craft brewers and artisanal olive oil producers) to be found among the exhibitors, but the overall feeling was that of a professional food fair where mere mortals were allowed to mingle for a limited time. Tickets were only valid for four-hour lunch or evening ‘sessions’ anyway.

Maybe I’m still not properly adjusted to the bubble that’s back in Dublin these days, living in Dundalk under the shadow of Brexit and all that, or the festival has always been like that – but the whole thing seemed to me like an unabashed celebration of lifestyle that can be bought with money.

What your ticket buys you is, in short, the right to consume. Or, as the Irish Independent reported in fawning tones on Saturday:

Restaurateur Peter Rock of The Exchequer, who’s also running the VIP tent at Taste, said that the very first year, a total of 100 bottles of champagne were sold.

This year, they sold the same amount in just one four-hour session, at a mere €60 a pop.

These days, on the surface Ireland looks like the thriving poster child of austerity again to outsiders, with a gay Taoiseach of Indian descent leading the nation and more and more multi-national online companies queuing out in the Atlantic hoping to open an office in the Docklands soon.

There are those Dubliners and visitors for whom the prospect of paying 22.50 Euros and consuming overpriced food while listening to cover tunes constitutes a great family outing; and those for whom paying 22.50 Euros for any festival access is completely out of the question.

I’m not adding any pictures I took at the festival to this post, as according to the Taste of Dublin website:

‘all sound and moving or still picture rights including, without limitation, on the Internet, vest exclusively with the Organisers and any material filmed or recorded at the Event may only be used for the personal, non-profit making enjoyment of amateurs. By entering the venue, Ticket Holders consent to being photographed, filmed or recorded as visitors attending the Event, and consent to the image or recording of them being used in future marketing material for the Event, or their sponsors.’

Maybe I’ll visit Electric Picnic next.

A Taste of Dublin (Marcel Kreuger)



91 thoughts on “Aftertaste

  1. David

    Sounds like the only thing missing was a stag party puking on your shoes. By the way, Dublin never stopped being a rip off – twas ever thus, even in the belt-tightening era

  2. Jonickal

    These rants are becoming so clichéd.

    Hey Marcel, if you want to fly first class you gotta pay first class.

  3. Eamonn Clancy

    This is the world created by a generation who thought that growing beards and getting tattoos amounted to style.

      1. nellyb

        “Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
        My friends all drive Porsches, I must make amends.”

  4. Rob_G

    If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t go.

    (also, many venues have similar video photography disclaimers)

    1. Nigel

      If you do go write a thoughtful critique. What’s this weird attitude where if you pay for something you can’t criticise it? Barmy, and anti-consumer rights to boot.

  5. biguy

    What do you expect from a food event in the city centre run as a private money-making event? VERY accurate name from my experiences (never been, everyone I know who has complained).

    The excellent Boyne Valley food series is on currently, lots of smaller events, cheap, close to you (I have no affiliation BTW, apart from living in the Boyne Valley).

    1. Gearóid

      Open to correction from the author, but I thought part of his gripe was that – given the level of high-level advertising at the event – this should have offset some of the very high entrance fee.

      1. Brother Barnabas

        Thank you, Bodger.
        And while I have your ear, where might one lodge a plea for mod-clemency? It’s the online equivalent of direct provision.

        1. Spaghetti Hoop

          At least leave the Brother’s offensive comments up for an hour or two before deletion.

          1. Brother Barnabas

            As Gordon Bitner Hinckley, 15th President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sagely remarked: “Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of another and go on his way”

  6. newsjustin

    Have to say…..what did you expect you would see there?

    Paying for the “right” to consume. That sounds about right. Just visit a few farmers markets and cafes instead.

    1. Manny

      It is pricey but I’ve had many a good time eatin and drinkin in the sun at taste. Didn’t go this year because money is tight. Horses for courses

    2. Nigel

      Well you had your expectations and now you have this report and I would say that an actual critique is more useful and revealing than expectations and suppositions. Why do people react so poorly to this kind of thing? I just don’t get it. Oh, and your response was mild justin so I don’t mean to single you out.

      1. rotide

        Why do people react poorly?

        This isn’t a small fringe once off festival that a ‘review’ like this might be useful to people. This is an event that has been ongoing for years, has received widespread coverage in national media and has an attendance level that suggest nearly everyone in Dublin at least, has a fair idea of what it’s about.

        In the main, people KNOW what to expect from Taste. An post like this reads as some sort of shocking revalation. It’s not.

        I look forward to the ‘Electric Picnic not the boutique experience that’s advertised’ follow up.

        1. Lord Snowflakee

          I don’t.

          What I noticed is that especially in the Summer when there is not any other news, Broadsheet will literally publish any oul shitte so long as it ticks certain left leaning or right on boxes.

        2. Nigel

          Well I don’t, rotide. I have no idea what these things are like and what to expect. But even so, this ‘well I have some vague awareness of what it’s like so I assume everybody must have the same awareness AND be in agreement therefore an actual description of the experience of attending the event is a ridiculously redundancy and probably the result of some nefarious motivation of the author’s’ thing is just bizarre. I mean, a dickish critique by a clueless narcissist – which this isn’t, to be clear – I can take or leave, and there are plenty of ’em, but ‘you should have known what to expect’ and that’s what you paid for now shut-up’ responses to reasonable pieces seems designed to discourage even the bare minimum of consumer activism involved in writing critically about something.

          1. rotide

            I don’t have a vague awareness of what it’s like, I know exactly what it’s like having been there a few years ago. Before I went, I had a pretty accurate idea of what it was like due to the extensive coverage it had received.

            The author is right, It is a bit of a rip off, but that’s literally all he talks about. This is a critique driven by purely moaning about having to pay 20 blips in only to have to pay more for food. He doesn’t really get into what food was on offer or the drinks, or the bands or kids stuff etc etc. He just harps on about people having the cheek to run a business and get away with charging money that he isn’t willing to pay.

          2. Nigel

            Ah rotide so you have been inducted into the secret inner mysteries of The Taste Of Dublin, a novitiate of the signs and ceremonies at the heart of this arcane ceremony, whereas I, excluded from this select order, must rely on hints and whispered tales and hastily scrawled messages left in pages of forgotten books, and the odd Broadsheet article and comments for a glimpse of enlightenment.

  7. Vote Rep #1

    I went to the first one which I thought was complete rip off but it is weirdly popular. The idea to pay into a place to then pay for overly priced food seems a bit weird to me but people seem to love it. Since I didn’t go to it, It bothers me naught.

    1. Rob_G

      – this.

      Is is really surprising that a food festival where you have to pay €20 just to get in the door is going to be over-priced once you get inside?

  8. Kolmo

    It’s all an delusion, the Celtic Unicorn. A surprising amount of people think cheap credit equals ecomomic bouyancy – a small group of well-positioned individuals are making a killing in the laughably retarded property ‘market’ – what you are seeing is the false perception of wealth, (not a lot of class, or prudent restraint being present) on the coat-tails of the afore mentioned insulated clique. It’s nauseating to see all the inflated horse crap about champagne being sold at dutch-gold volumes – who are these people?
    I got a full Revenue/VAT audit a number of years ago due to not being able to explain a credit of 120euro on a bank statement…..(turns out it was a refund for an overpayment) , maybe we should just get with the programme, drink champagne like peasant-lords, embrace the delusion – sure someone else will pay for it when the arse falls soon out of it again.

    1. nellyb

      “A surprising amount of people think cheap credit equals economic buoyancy” – I don’t think so.
      It’s party time again in Ireland (on the backdrop of homelessness) and you have a choice of partying or not.
      But you won’t have the choice of not paying for this party, so you might as well partake.

  9. Lord Snowflakee

    You sound like a real boobly boo Marcel

    Would you ever just hip hooray and twinkle pants

  10. Bruncvik

    After so many years in Ireland, Marcel should know that you have to pay for the privilege to buy or consume on many occasions. Whether it’s Taste of Dublin or the Christmas Markets at the RDS, and many things inbetween, you pay just so that you have the opportunity to spend money. After a few years, though, if you have a good network of friends, you should know which events to avoid and which to go to. I was lucky to get warned away from Taste of Dublin a few years back. Of course, it’s everyone’s own business what they prefer: there are plenty of people who go there; I just prefer not to spend money in this fashion.

  11. rob

    someone mentioned Eatyard earlier – don’t they also charge people to go in and consume food from stalls?

        1. Rowsdower

          You still have to pay if you want to take a piss in the St Stephens Green shopping center, although thats probably for other reasons.

  12. Spaghetti Hoop

    This is so typical of popular events in Ireland; heavy on the advertising, light on creativity. People seem to have fun at it more as a place to be seen and something to do. If they want to pay for the pleasure, let ’em. More resourceful folk would find better value for money at a another food fair. You can choose to join the hordes to the likes of Dublin Zoo on a sunny day or go off and find something different ;)

  13. garthicus

    He’s right though, the massive amount of advertising/sponsors should certainly offset the entrance fee at the very least.

    1. Rob_G

      They could but sure, why would they?

      If people are willing to pay such inflated prices, you can bet your bottom dollar that the organisers will be willing to take it off of them.

  14. rotide

    It’s incredible how so many people here seem to be experts on this having never set foot in the place.

    I’ve been and spent the day drinking in the sun and enjoying myself. OP is pretty much correct about the rampant commercialism, if about 5 years late in noticing. However, I don’t find it an example of the crumbling decline of Irish society. It’s a thing that people enjoy and are willing to pay for. No one is forcing anyone to pay for anything.

    I really haven’t the faintest idea what the problem is here. If you like it go and pay. If you don’t, go somewhere else. There is as usual a faint whiff of bedudgery from some of the comments.

  15. Anomanomanom

    Are people serious about the price, it really is not expensive, if you think its expensive just don’t go.

    1. Bertie "the inexplicable pleasure" Blenkinsop

      Bloom was great, I saw Ken Doherty there, he has an enormous head and a really skinny body, he looks like a Ken Doherty caricature.

      1. I'm "alright" Jack. Mad Jack is on annual leave.

        I used to see him at Renards all the time – he’s sound out and would tolerate with good grace any full or bad drunk telling him he shouldn’t have went for that shot that time or why didn’t he play the safety when he was on the black in the Grand Prix final in 1992?

  16. Shayna

    I think it was interesting the mention of artificial grass. It’s quite de rigeur in London. Call me old-fashioned, I still like the real stuff. Also, I enjoyed reading the post, everyone should have the odd rant.

  17. Sheila

    I don’t like Taste, tried it three times over the years and meh.

    I do like The Big Grill, tried that twice and it was good fun on both occasions. We do arrive early and then leave early, when the crowds get too much.

  18. Junkface

    Taste of Dublin is the biggest Rip Off operation going! I was there last year and notice in half of the dishes I bought, there was barely any meat in there, and the portions are tiny for the 6 or 10 euro you pay for. So all in all, after paying the 22.50 entry fee, you will need to pay another 30 or 40 euro before you actually feel like you have had a meal, so thats about 50 or 60 euro! Not even counting the couple of drinks. You’d be way better off going out in town to a restaurant for a proper meal for less than half the cost (Thats what I did this year), and you won’t have to get your ears blasted by crappy cover bands.

  19. Frilly Keane

    he should’a gone t’Thurles on Sunday
    plenty of atin’ n’drinking down there around the Square

  20. pat okelly

    Yes you are right -€27 to gain entry to a public park ;it’s a total disgrace OPW and Iveagh will again be shut all July into August for comedy and concerts ;a public park should mlot be shut for private enterprise BUT at least the events do generate some employment in fairnesses

  21. reddit

    It’s the irony of the name that always gives me a chuckle, ‘Taste’, when it is the very antithesis of taste, on every one of its crass levels … but then again, how else will Sunday Independent readers consume more glittery scum.

  22. Henry Woods

    The problem is with the Festival season is it’s catered for the tourists.
    You know, the fat sweaty masses of foreigners who get bussed all around the countries tourists spots by tour operators and travel agencies.
    I see them every day here, waddling around with their fannypacks tucked under their swollen guts stuffed of chinese made Irish souvenirs and sock and sandal wearing troglodytes.
    I live in tourist trap county where almost everything going on is orientated towards tourists.
    Not a thought ever goes into what the locals want or need, social housing, jobs, etc.
    That would be a waste of time and resources.
    Got to get the unknown masses into our town in case other counties take them, and their money.

    Typical conversation here:
    Yank: ”Gee whizz, is that a real castle?”
    Me: ”No Sir, it’s a surreal castle”
    Yank: ”Pardon me?”
    Me: ”You’re pardoned”

    Yank waddles off to gnaw on his duty free giant toblorone, I sit and stare at a procession of gormless, culture-less tourists, lining up to take a tour of a castle with a history they can’t ever have or comprehend.

    Not even a rant, more of a tired acceptance.

    1. Spaghetti Hoop

      Hate to break it to ya Henry but tourism is a home-grown industry. But if you’d prefer to pick and chose the country’s economic activities……….

  23. Andy

    So, in summary,

    Much to broadsheet’s distaste, it turns out there are plenty of people in Dublin who (i) aren’t skint and (ii) don’t mind spending €100 or more for a day out eating & drinking in a lovely park.

    As to all the whingers on about closing a public park for the day, Taste of Dublin, like all the other concert & event promoters who use the park, pay fees to the OPW for use of the park.

  24. :-Joe

    Ahh herr interlopenzig is not impressed with the SOPA-SODA-SOMA-in a COMA Lovin Dublin-esque South side beurgoise clique paying through the nose for havin’ their overpriced drinks and nibbles in a Dublin park….

    Taffin always has the last word… quite literally…

    Tschuss mein freund, du bist sehr rightig…


  25. Shayna

    I went to The Ulster Hall today enjoyed The Ulster Orchestra led by Michael McHale on piano. It didn’t cost me anything. I guess it’s kinda just one of things. Admittedly, there was no food on offer.

    1. I'm "alright" Jack. Mad Jack is on annual leave.

      Not even a pulled pork bap? Then it was crap.

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