Dublin Vegfest was amazing! This was my first vegan festival and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it! I can’t wait to get the chance to go to another vegfest sometime soon. I made the long and arduous trip up to Dublin with GoBus (which is so good BTW, wifi AND plugs? Who needs the train?) and got to visit Cornucopia (on Wicklow Street) for some yummy veggie food, stock up on Lush shampoo bars and grab some great second hand books about animal agriculture (Eating Animals and Farmaggedon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat) in Chapters bookshop on Parnell Street while I was there too, so all in all a very fun trip was had!
The vegfest was out in Griffith College, just a short bus ride from the city centre. There were so many stands with amazing vegan food but unfortunately I didn’t have much time and only got to try some delicious and decadent dark chocolate brownies even though I’m not usually a fan of dark chocolate. I got some gorgeous smelling ‘Morning Mint’ palm-oil free soaps from Bend in the Barrow which I love using! I am a sucker for nice soap, and soaps are usually really easy to come by unpackaged.
It was absolutely packed in the exhibition room with all the food stalls so I headed to listen to the speakers with my non-vegan buddy in tow. I went to the festival mainly to see Bite Size Vegan, one of THE best vegan Youtubers out there, but I really enjoyed listening to Fiona Oakes and Kristen from Will Travel for Vegan Food too.
Fiona Oakes was first up and she was such an inspirational speaker. She is truly selfless and has dedicated her whole life to vegan activism and running an animal sanctuary. She kept saying that she didn’t even really like running and yet she has achieved so much in marathon running just for her love of animals and passion for veganism. She told some interesting stories about the lack of willingness from the mainstream media outlets to discuss her veganism, which is the whole reason she does marathons in the first place.
Her dedication was really awe-inspiring and she goes to such extremes to prove that vegans can be just as physically capable as meat eaters, if not more so. She said that when her story was featured in a mainstream newspaper, nothing about veganism was mentioned as there was an advertising campaign featured in the same paper that month which was focused on meat. It was sad to hear that her efforts to give a voice to the voiceless was still being stifled by mainstream media who are at the beck and call of advertisers and the meat and dairy industries.
Kristin Lajeunesse from Will Travel for Vegan Food also gave a great talk. She lived and travelled in a van eating at every all-vegan restaurant in the United States, which sounded like such an exciting adventure! After an interactive game where people shared their recent courageous experiences, she told us some anecdotes about her journey around America. Some people shared really cool stuff about their lives, for example, a few people were giving up their jobs to pursue vegan businesses and restaurants which did sound incredibly brave and admirable.
The cherry on top of the vegan cake was of course Emily from Bite Size Vegan. Her neck tattoos were so cool! It was kind of surreal to see one of my favourite Youtubers in the flesh! Her talk was eye-opening and she spoke very candidly about the state of animal agriculture in Ireland. Emily rightly pointed out that a lot of the graphic footage from factory farms and slaughterhouses online is from the US, but that not all treatment of animals elsewhere is necessarily ‘humane’ or any better. She gave an incredibly detailed and well-researched speech presenting the facts about animal agriculture in Ireland and how the ways in which animals are treated that she discussed and showed us were all in accordance with ‘humane’ EU regulations and guidelines. Animal cruelty is standard practice worldwide and the vast majority of animal products involve a disgusting amount of animal suffering to be produced.
Something that I was unaware of before that Emily brought to light was that a lot of meat bought in Ireland is actually imported so the treatment of the animals in their country of origin might be even worse than the ‘humane slaughter’ acceptable in Ireland.
While she showed a harrowing video at the end of the talk of the gruesome realities of animal farming in Ireland that was really hard to watch, the good news is that my friend who accompanied to the festival is now a shiny new vegan! So the world can count one new vegan 😀 He was a huge meat eater before so there really is hope out there for anyone to see the light and embrace this wonderful tree-huggin’, tofu-fryin’ way of life. She has since uploaded the video to her Youtube channel which I would definitely recommend watching!
I unfortunately did not get a chance to see Vegan Mammy‘s cooking demo but I did catch a glimpse of her outside the venue when it was over while the aforementioned newbie vegan was lining up for a delicious vegan burger from Moodley Manor. She had her two lovely vegan kids with her and they looked pretty darn healthy to me! 🙂
The overall vegfest experience was brilliant and I can’t wait to go again next year and to Cork Vegfest too! It felt brilliant to be surrounded by so many like-minded people as it is easy to feel alone if you don’t know many other vegans or are the only vegan in your family. It really made me want to go to more vegan festivals because it was such a fun experience and am now very tempted to book flights to London for the upcoming vegfest there next month! Can’t wait for Dublin Vegfest 2017!