Lonely Planet Writer

Ireland's Toastie Festival celebrates the cosy joy of toasted sandwiches

How can you improve a great sandwich? By toasting it of course! Now one Irish festival is celebrating the unique pride of place the toasted sandwich has in the gourmet world.

Love toasted sandwiches and they will love you back. Photo by Teresa Claudino

Ireland’s first Toastie Festival takes place from 3-5 November at Bray’s Harbour Bar. For three days, the pub will be serving up classic ham and cheese toasties to the traditionalists or an array of more unusual concoctions for anybody who wants to see the art of the toasted sandwiches brought to the next level. Vegans, vegetarians and coeliacs will also be catered for and there will be unlimited free tea to wash it down with.

The toastie festival is in Wicklow but is only a short trip on the DART from Dublin city centre and any daytrip can combine a seaside stroll in Bray. The bar itself suggests interested guests could take the cliff walk from nearby Greystones, which deposits walkers on Bray Harbour – and conveniently close to the pub – and then refuel and warm up with the toasties and drinks. The event is child-friendly and even dogs are welcome to join in!

And if you’re still not convinced about taking the trip, you might be interested in the fact the Harbour Bar was voted the best bar in the world by Lonely Planet in 2010. It boasts six separate sections and a long and impressive history; famous customers have included James Joyce, Peter O’Toole, Katherine Hepburn, Bono and writer Brendan Behan.

In 2016, the New York Times even commended Dublin’s gourmet sandwich scene for inspiring culinary creativity in the midst of the recession. A great pub, endless tea and all the toasted sandwiches you can eat? It’s the perfect wintery Irish weekend so mark your calendars.