Lammas Day is in fact the 1st August , but nowadays the last Monday and Tuesday in August are when Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, becomes home to the Ould Lammas Fair. It claims to be Ireland’s oldest traditional market fair, dating back to the 17th century. Its exact origin is uncertain but one theory is that it began as a Hiring Fair for the area around Ballycastle.
At the present day Fair, horse trading, street entertainment and market stalls attract thousands of people to Ballycastle. Today it’s famous for dulse, edible seaweed collected from local shores and dried out, and yellow man, which is similar to sweet rock.
There has even been a ballad composed about the fair – The Oul’ Lammas Fair by John Henry MacAuley, a bog-oak carver and well-known fiddle player. He died in 1937, long before the song became popular.
I nearly forgot…. You want a recipe!
300g White Sugar (caster or granulated)
200g Golden Syrup
1 tblespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 heaped teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
Prepare your tin/dish by lining with lightly oiled baking parchment.
Heat the sugar, golden syrup, water and vinegar until it starts to turn amber and reaches 150C/the hard crack stage. Add the bicarbonate and stir thoroughly, then pour into your lined tin. Leave to cool to room temperature.
If you want it to be cut into ordered shapes, cut with an oiled knife when it has cooled to room temperature. I like it to look a little rough and tumble so cut it when it’s cool.
Store in an air tight container. It is delicious covered in chocolate or roughly crushed into chocolate mousse or Ice cream.
Now, mind the fillings when you eat this 😉