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Cullahill Fair

21st July 2018

Home of the PaddyO's Irish Porridge Championships

A NEW summer fair in Ireland’s Ancient East for families and those passionate about porridge oats

Cullahill Fair will take place in Cullahill, County Laois, on Saturday, 21st July 2018 and will play host to the first ever annual Irish Porridge Making Championships.

Sponsored by PaddyOs Cereals, the First Annual Irish Porridge Making Championships, will consist of four heats and two categories: traditional and speciality. Our judges – renowned TV Chef Rachel Allen, PaddyO's Cereals founder, Paddy O'Connell and World Porridge Making Judge, Martyn O'Reilly – will determine the winner in each category.

Both winners will be flown to the World Porridge Making Championship in Carrbridge, Scotland to represent Ireland on Saturday, 6th October 2018.

Please join us for a day of fun-filled activities, from a walk up Cullahill Mountain, to a farmer’s market, parade, games for the children, storytelling, a tour of the hidden history of Cullahill Castle and watch the first ever Irish Porridge Making Championship ... or better yet, take part!

Food will be served all day and live music will take place in the Sportsman's Inn after the competition from 7:30 pm – don't miss this!

Fancy yourself the Irish Porridge Making champ or do you have a friend or family member who loves porridge? Enter here.

On Friday night, the Cullahilll Fair will kick off festivities in the Sportsman's Inn with a big Cullahill welcome to all the Porridge Making participants and their fans - EVERYONE IS WELCOME

Early Bird Catches The Oats!

Join Paddy from PaddyO's Cereals, who hails from Cullahill, for an early morning walk up Cullahill Mountain and enjoy the lush landscapes. The walk will be followed by a delicious breakfast and coffee / tea on top of the mountain, cooked by Paddy himself.

Bum! Brrum! Brrrumble!!!

To celebrate Cullahill and the Porridge Making Championships, the community will put on a parade through the village - don't miss all the highlights of Cullahill and a chance to meet the Porridge Making participants and our famous judges.

Ready, Steady, COOK!

The porridge making heats start at 11:30am and will take place in the Cullahill Community Centre - be sure to get a seat upfront to catch all of the action. The winner of the traditional and specialty will be announced at 4:15pm.

Is there a competition for children? There sure is. Get your children involved in the Granola Bar making competition which follows the Porridge Making Competition - lots of delicious fun and nutritious learning will take place.

Total Fun For All

Throughout the day, there will be a Farmer's Market featuring hand-roasted coffees, and a selection of cakes, treats and locally produced ice cream. Along with games for everyone, there’ll be storytelling for children, face painting, tours of Cullahill Castle, music and entertainment.

Let's Party

Following the announcement of the winners, please join our victorious porridge champion, participants and judges in the Sportsman's Inn to celebrate the day – there will also be an exciting pop-up restaurant run by FODDER- Aimee Ryan from Rathdowney, Co. Laois. Then put on your stetsons and / or stilettos and dance the night away with our musical entertainment.

  • 8:30AM

    Walk Cullahill Mountain

  • 10:30AM

    Meet the Porridge Making Participants

  • 11:00AM

    Watch the Local Parade

  • 11:30AM

    Porridge Championships Kicks Off

  • 3:30PM

    Porridge Making FINAL

  • 4:15PM

    Winner is announced!

  • 4:45PM

    Children’s granola bar competition

  • 7.30PM

    Party in the Sportsman's Inn


    Farmer's Market, Games, Storytelling, Castle Tour, Music, Entertainment and much, much more

Since 1996, the World Porridge Making Championship has taken place each year in the Scottish Highlands’ village of Carrbridge. The oaty cook-off draws competitors from across the globe to compete for the coveted Golden Spurtle trophy and title of “World Porridge Making Champion.” Not satisfied with just oats, water and salt? Don’t worry, competitors also battle it out for the specialty trophy in a section that celebrates the versatility of porridge with past winners including Sticky Toffee Porridge, Fruity Date Porridge and Pinhead Risotto with Lemon and Thyme and Parmesan - the possibilities are endless!

This year PaddyO's Cereals and Cullahill are hosting the first annual Irish Porridge Making Championships in Cullahill, County Laois.

Tell Us More About The Competition

  • The main competition will be Traditional porridge making, but a further award will be made for the best speciality porridge should you choose to enter that category too.
  • It is compulsory that all entrants produce a traditional porridge
  • There will be 2 Irish winners – one from Traditional and one from Specialty that will be flown to Scotland to compete
  • The competition will consist of 4 heats for both categories
  • There will be a final showdown at the end of the day to determine the Traditional winner
  • Winners from this event will go on to represent Ireland at the World Porridge Making Championships in Carrbridge, Scotland on Saturday 6th October 2018
  • Fancy yourself a porridge connoisseur or know someone who does - enter below.

About The Judges

Rachel Allen

Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at 18 to study at the world famous Ballymaloe Cookery School where she still teaches, as well as being a busy TV chef, author, journalist and mother.

Rachel’s style of cooking is above all practical - simple but delicious food, ideal for family and friends. Her influences are both regional and global. The BBC described her as an "Irish cooking queen" and Good Food Magazine believe she "has put Irish cooking on the map in recent years”.

In 2017 Rachel is the new co-presenter and judge on Channel 4’s My Kitchen Rules, broadcast September 2017. An established TV chef, Rachel has also hosted 14 of her extremely popular television series’, broadcast in over 30 countries, as well as presenting Market Kitchen on the Good Food Channel in 2010.

Her BBC series’ attracted two million viewers, and Rachel’s is the highest ever rated show on Good Food Channel. Her first show to be broadcast in the USA was Rachel’s Favourite Food for Friends in 2010 on the PBS Network. It has since been picked up by 24 of the top 25 PBS Channels and 88 of the top 100 channels across America, achieving 40,000 broadcasts in the year. Her more recent programme catalogue is airing on The Cooking Channel, and ‘Easy Meals’ aired on TLC India in March 2014.

Rachel’s international reputation ensures a busy schedule, with event appearances including Taste of Dublin, Emirates Literary Festival Dubai, Gourmet Abu Dhabi, World Gourmet Summit in Singapore, and work with brands such as Carte D’or in Turkey. Her brand work in the UK and Ireland includes Panasonic, VeryCook, O’Brien’s Sandwiches, Waitrose, RHS, and Avon.

Her hugely successful licensing deals have included tableware, candles and textiles with Tipperary Crystal, and small electrical appliances, oven and bake ware with Ultimate Products. In 2013 Rachel launched her own range of cakes and dessert flavoured confectionery.

Rachel is the author of 15 bestselling cookery books, selling over two million copies worldwide. 'Coast: Recipes from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way' in 2015, 'Recipes from My Mother' in 2016, and the latest title ‘Home Baking’, published by Harper Collins in October 2017.

She has written for numerous publications, including three years on Irish lifestyle magazine ‘Image’ and a current weekly column for The Irish Mail On Sunday Magazine, as well as being a regular contributor to Olive, Delicious, and BBC Good Food Magazine among others.

In 2017 Rachel opened her first restaurant, ‘Rachel’s’, serving simple, naturally produced and delicious tasting food from the local Cork area.

Rachel lives in her seaside home on the farm at Ballymaloe in County Cork with her husband Isaac, sons Joshua and Lucca, and daughter Scarlett.

Paddy O'Connell

Paddy O’Connell is the founder of PaddyO’s Cereals, which he started in 2009 after his graduation from Ballymaloe Cookery School. He began making his granola above his parents’ pub in Cullahill, Co. Laois and selling it at local farmers markets.

Since then PaddyO’s has grown into a national brand with presence in over 300 stores across Ireland. PaddyO’s Cereals are sold in multiple stores such as SuperValu, Dunnes Stores, Tesco, Centra, Daybreak and Spar as well as smaller fine food retailers, such as Fallon & Byrne.

In 2017 Paddy represented Ireland in the World Porridge Making Championship and this year he has brought the National Championships to Ireland for the first time.

Paddy is married to Tammy and they have just welcomed their beautiful daughter Sloane into the world, no doubt anther porridge fan!

Martyn O'Reilly

Martyn is the current World Porridge Making Judge, Master of Ceremonies and a founder of the the World Porridge Making Championships.

Originally born and raised in Edinburgh, but with strong Irish roots - Martyn's father was born in Dublin and moved to Scotland during the war.

Martyn moved to Carrbridge in 1981 and after a distinguished career at Barclays and the Royal Bank of Scotland, where he is now Master of Ceremonies and oversees all aspects of the World Porridge Making Championships.

Not only does Martyn have a keen interest in all things porridge but he is also a Whisky ambassador, which has seen Martyn give talks about Whisky from New York, Baku, Cape Town and many other places in between.

This year is the 25th Anniversary of the World Porridge Making Championship and Martyn is looking extremely forward to meeting the Irish Champion in Carrbridge.

See how our judges will be scoring the competitions here.

The Rules

Traditional Porridge Section

The Irish Porridge Championship title will be awarded to the competitor producing the best traditional porridge, made from oatmeal [pinhead, course, medium or fine].

The traditional porridge must be made with untreated oatmeal and not with oat flakes/rolled oats and with only water and salt. The judges will be strict on these rules.

Every competitor is required to produce 3 portions for the judges to taste. Presentation bowls will be provided for each competitor to enable them to present their 3 porridge portions. The judges will be allowed to accompany the tasting with milk, cream, salt or sugar.

Judging of the porridge will be made on the consistency, taste and colour of the porridge.

Competitors, who prefer to ‘soak’ their oatmeal, may do so, but no prior cooking is allowed.

The heat winners must be available to compete in the final cook-off* and will be required to produce a second batch of 3 portions of traditional porridge. Washing facilities will be made available in the hall.

It is compulsory that all entrants produce a traditional porridge.

Speciality Section

A further award will be made for the best speciality porridge made with oatmeal [pinhead, course, medium or fine] which can have other ingredients added. No pre-cooking of any ingredients (other than the soaking of oatmeal) is allowed. This porridge should be made and presented at the same time as the traditional porridge.

For the speciality porridge, the blending and harmony of the porridge with the other ingredients will be the criteria used. Presentation bowls or dishes must be provided by the competitor to enable them to present, their 3 speciality porridge portions for the judges, to their best advantage.

General Information

Gas hobs with 2 rings will be provided by the organisers. The competitors are asked to provide their own favourite porridge pan & spurtle etc. No equipment is provided by the organisers. Heats will be held at intervals of approx 30 / 40 minutes to allow cleaning between

*Competitors should allow enough oatmeal (or pre-soaked oatmeal if that is your method) to compete in the “final cook off” if asked. The final cook off is based on traditional porridge only.

There is an entry fee of 20.00 Euro per competitor. Entry fees are due no later than 4 weeks before the event date and are non-refundable.

The number of competition places are limited with the organisers reserving the right to the selection of entries should the event be oversubscribed. Competitors will be notified of the acceptance of their entry. The PaddyO’s National Porridge Championships cannot accept more than 2 competitors from a single company.

Competitors are required to submit a pen portrait with photograph for the competition programme, together with their speciality porridge dish recipe in advance, for later use on the web site.

We look forward to seeing you at the PaddyO’s National Porridge Championship.


All entries are subject to acceptance by the organisers. All competitors should submit their application no later than 10th June and successful competitors will be notified by 20th June 2018.

The entry fee is €20. Successful Competitors will be notified of acceptance of their entry and an invoice will be sent at that time for the entry fee.

The winner of the Irish event will win free flights to Scotland and overnight accommodation in Carrbridge.

Should you win the Irish Porridge Making Championships you will need to ensure that you are available to take part in the World Porridge Making Championships taking part in Carrbridge, Scotland on Saturday 6th October 2018. and also agree to PR activity pre and post event.

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