In association with: Tourism Ireland
There’s a fantastic foodie scene waiting to be discovered across the island of Ireland
From fresh seafood along the Wild Atlantic Way, to the perfect hearty stews in a quaint village in the Hidden Heartlands, there are so many ways to indulge in the food and drink scene across the island of Ireland. Whether it’s gourmet dishes in award-winning restaurants, or budget-friendly street food, there’s something for all tastes. The culinary scene is flourishing, and visitors can revel in the delicious local produce found across the island of Ireland.
Its lush green fields and rich coastline means there are always plenty of high‑quality ingredients available, making it the ideal destination for those looking for their next foodie fix. Dublin has emerged as a world leader when it comes to food and drink. There are six Michelin-starred restaurants across the city, with Chapter One and Liath recently joining Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud as those with two stars.
There are also a host of traditional pubs ready you can sample a selection of local drinks alongside typical dishes such as Irish stew and bacon and cabbage. The Guinness Storehouse – regularly named as one of the island’s top tourist attractions – remains ever popular, while the Delicious Dublin Food Tour covers centuries of food and drink tradition: think dairy, baked goods, whiskey and seafood.
A short trip from Dublin takes you to County Wicklow, in Ireland’s Ancient East, home to a burgeoning food scene. A highlight is a ‘sunrise’ swim with the team from wholefood restaurant The Happy Pear in Greystones. As seen in Netflix’s Somebody Feed Phil, visitors can join the owners for a dip in the sea before heading back for a healthy veggie breakfast, fresh coffee and pastries.
Neighbouring County Carlow boasts its own ‘food trail’, covering everything from craft beer from the Carlow Brewing Company to heavenly desserts by the Chocolate Garden of Ireland. The trail takes in farmers’ markets and bistros, as well as a diverse selection of restaurants – from the Clashganny House Restaurant, a 19th-century building situated yards from the picturesque Clashganny Lock, to Lennon’s, which is housed in contemporary art venue Visual.
Heading further south, visitors to County Cork can have a go at foraging in the grounds of Ballyvolane House. Berries and mushrooms are the speciality, and any collected are served as part of a three-course meal after the tour. On the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway rightly considers itself a culinary city. Its coastal position means good seafood is easy to find, while the wider county’s strong farming traditions mean top-quality local meat, dairy products, and fruit and veg.
There are regular food festivals showcasing the area’s wide-ranging offerings, while places such as family-run restaurant and food hall McCambridge’s are part of the fabric of Galway.
In Northern Ireland, there are several whiskey distilleries offering tastings and to see how the ‘water of life’ is made. Perhaps the most famous is Bushmills in County Antrim, the oldest licensed distillery in the world, but there are several smaller ones such as Killowen and Echlinville that are also worth popping into. As for food, Belfast boasts three Michelin-starred restaurants in The Muddler’s Club, OX and Michael Deane’s Eipic.
St George’s Market is the place to go for top-quality produce, with locals selling everything from baked goods to fresh vegetables. Taste & Tours’ Belfast Food Tour starts here, before moving on to more of the capital’s foodie hotspots. In Derry~Londonderry, you can sample a Derry Girls-themed afternoon tea at the Everglades Hotel. Northern Ireland is also home to O’Doherty’s Fine Meats and their famous black bacon of Fermanagh. O’Doherty’s keeps a herd of pigs that roam freely on Inishcorkish Island on Upper Lough Erne.
Visits to the island can be arranged by appointment. Celebrity chef John Torode recently undertook a tour of the island while filming for his six-part show John Torode’s Ireland, which premiered on the Food Network earlier this year. John, who has Irish roots, came across an abundant landscape, a host of brilliant chefs and countless examples of people’s natural warmth during his journey.
He said these are some of the many reasons that make the island of Ireland so special when it comes to welcoming visitors, so now is the time to encourage your clients to make it their next destination for a dream foodie trip.
PICTURES: Tourism Northern Ireland; Tourism Ireland/Brian Morrison; Diageo; Failte Ireland/Resolute Photography