Killyleagh food festival launched

Killyleagh food festival launched

25 July 2018

THOUSANDS of chocolate lovers and foodies from across Ireland and beyond are expected to descend again on Killyleagh.

The 2018 Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate and Fine Food Festival runs this year from September 14 to 16.

The festival was founded in 2010 to celebrate Killyleagh’s most famous son, Hans Sloane, who was born in the village in 1660 and later became one of the most famous men of his time — mainly because of his development of milk chocolate. 

The biennial festival has grown in strength and popularity and is regarded as one of the principal events of its type across the UK and Ireland and a major highlight of the summer calendar for locals in Killyleagh and surrounding areas.

Sponsored by artisan producer Finnebrogue, based in nearby Downpatrick, this year’s festival will also continue to grow legacy of raising valuable funds for the Cancer Fund for Children, having already raised £61,000 for the charity over previous years.

The festival will kick off on Friday, September 14, with the Chocolate Ball, which will take place in the grounds of Killyleagh Castle, one of Ireland’s longest-inhabited castles.

Guests can expect a mouth-watering chocolate inspired menu prepared and designed by Chef Simon Dougan of Yellow Door and world-class entertainment following dinner, allowing guests to dance the night away in a stunning marquee against the back of Killyleagh Castle.

On the Saturday and Sunday guests will be spoiled for choice with two days of family fun with activities and entertainment for all ages. A vast range of chocolatiers’ displays, market stalls and tasting and purchasing options will be available.

“We are delighted to kick off our fifth festival season and as always are so pleased with the ongoing support we receive for Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate and Fine Food Festival,” said Meave Davison, festival committee member. 

“Our volunteer committee is working hard to present the best chocolate and fine food festival yet, and thanks to increased interest in our abundance of local produce and artisan suppliers following the 2016 festival, we have lined up an extensive list of chocolatiers and artisan suppliers ready to trade at this year’s festival — including some new faces. 

“Our chocolate-themed festival stands as a unique event in this year’s events calendar, and we look forward to welcoming guests to the festival from home and away.”

Denis Lynn, Chairman at Finnebrogue Artisan added: “Based near Hans Sloane’s birthplace in County Down, Finnebrogue is known for our quality ingredients developed through a pairing of ingenuity and passion for great food. 

“The Hans Sloane Chocolate and Fine Food Festival provides a perfect platform to show off ours and other outstanding local products to visitors. It is also an extension of our fundraising efforts for the Cancer Fund For Children, an outstanding organisation which is near and dear to the hearts of the team at Finnebrogue.”

Highlighting the long-standing partnership with Cancer Fund for Children, Gillian Creevy, chief executive, Cancer Fund for Children said: “We’re delighted to continue our partnership with the Hans Sloane Chocolate and Fine Food Festival and event sponsor Finnebrogue. 

“At Cancer Fund for Children we nurture, connect and empower children and families whose lives have been impacted by cancer so they feel strengthened and equipped to deal with whatever the future may hold.  The young people and families we support are at the heart of everything we do. 

We are thrilled to be involved in such a positive family-friendly event again in 2018.”

Having developed into one of Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s most iconic family-friendly events, this year’s festival will enjoy an expanded itinerary of activities for the whole family due to support from the council.  Speaking at the launch, Newry, Mourne and Down Council chairman, councillor Mark Murnin, said: “We are delighted to support such a unique event which celebrates the long tradition of exceptional produce and artisan food production in our local area.  It is exciting to see these crafts growing in popularity, building upon our cultural food heritage, which is important for tourism, sustainable agriculture and for the growth of our local economy.”

The Finnebrogue Artisan Hans Sloane Chocolate and Fine Food Festival is also supported by Tourism Northern Ireland,Copeland Gin, Jeep, Oasis Travel, British Airways, and S.D. Bell’s.

For further information on all events taking place and to book tickets visit or follow the Killyleagh Chocolate Festival on Twitter @KillyleaghChoc, Instagram @killyleaghchocolatefestival or