Great food, brilliant company and some of the best gastro events in the world…
Explore Ireland’s rich, bounteous larder and discover a raft of excellent fresh produce, glisteningly fresh seafood, and some of the best fine dining in Europe.
What’s on the menu?
Ireland is justly famous for its seafood with smoked salmon, smoked fish, oysters, mussels and crab topping the bill. But it’s not just fish that gives Ireland its reputation – the country also produces excellent lamb, beef and pork, too. Finally, it would be foolish to miss out on some of the country’s top produce including black pudding, homemade candy, farmhouse cheese, soda bread and, of course, Guinness and maybe a drop of whiskey!
What kind of restaurants will I find?
Ireland is more culturally diverse now than at any other time in our history and our culinary landscape reflects this. Towns and cities reflect a diverse ethnic community with African, Eastern European, Nepalese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese restaurants in abundance. If you’re looking for something more traditionally Irish, you’ll find a wealth of restaurants with an Irish slant serving up spectacular seafood, spring lamb and juicy beef, as well as top European-style spots with elegant fare in sophisticated surroundings. Find more places to eat…
Why is everyone talking about Cork?
If you’re looking for something a little bit special then head to County Cork. Cork is right at the heart of the country’s gourmet revolution with stacks of exceptional artisan producers, fabulous farmers’ markets, renowned cookery schools, excellent restaurants and enthusiastic diners! Try cheeses like Gubbeen and Durrus, head to the famed Ballymaloe to learn a thing or two about cooking your own delights or take a trip to Kinsale and enjoy the Kinsale Gourmet Festival in October.
Is it worth visiting farmers’ markets?
Ireland, like the rest of the world, is becoming increasingly interested in consuming more locally produced foods and the food market has become a busy, buzzing weekend destination for savvy foodies. Stuffed with local stalls selling everything from hand-crafted salamis to soft, luscious fudge, they’re wonderful places to visit for a real taste of local life.
I’ve heard a lot about Irish food festivals…
Irish food festivals are gaining a deserved reputation throughout Europe both for their inimitable atmosphere, great entertainment and quality of produce. It’s a great chance to sample some local fare and meet with the people that create it. There are lots of festivals on throughout the year, but why not check out Taste of Dublin 2007, Midleton Food and Drink Festival in Cork, Listowel Food Fair in Kerry, the fabulous Galway International Oyster Festival, the Dunfanaghy Seafood Festival in Donegal, the Apple Blossom Festival in County Armagh, the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival in County Down and Fish Fest – the largest seafood festival in Northern Ireland.
What foods are typically Irish?
For a start there’s soda bread – a delicious brown bread that uses soda instead of yeast. It’s particularly nice slathered with butter and smoked salmon! Black pudding, farmhouse cheeses and handmade chocolates are also hugely popular, while you’ll find the quality of Irish pork, beef and lamb is second to none. And for something really unforgettable, opt for some seafood – there’s nothing quite like a bowl of steaming fresh mussels, bright white crab claws or quivering oysters – all washed down, of course, with an obligatory pint of Guinness.
Ah yes, the black stuff – what other Irish drinks can I try?
Guinness is obviously Ireland’s most famous stout, but you can try other equally delicious brands, such as Murphy’s and Beamish. A recent phenomenon is micro-brewery pubs, which are well worth checking out for their distinctive and unique beers. And don’t forget about Irish whiskey with big names like Bushmills, Paddy and Jameson.