With award-winning restaurants and gastro-pubs, fabulous food markets and tours, and artisan producers around every corner, the island of Ireland should be on every foodie’s must-visit list.
Northern Ireland’s food scene was recently named one of the top 40 in Europe in Lonely Planet’s Gourmet Trails Europe. The guide highlights Belfast’s St George’s Market, where local specialities abound, and The Sunflower, one of many pubs serving local craft beers.
A great way to get a taste of the city is to take the multi-award winning Belfast Food Tour, which visits the best places to eat and drink.
Beyond Belfast there is much more to enjoy with amazing artisan products including traditional breads, wild Irish seafood and a range of farm fresh produce. A trip to the Ould Lammas Fair in Ballycastle is a chance to sample the legendary Yellow Man honeycomb and local dulce (seaweed).
County Cork claims to be the culinary capital of Ireland and has much to boast about, including 13 Michelin-starred restaurants. Cork City’s English Market is considered one of the best in Europe and is a treasure trove of fine food, while Ballymaloe Cookery School is renowned for its excellent courses.
In the south, food tours range from the Cork Tasting Trail to Taste Wexford and Kenmare Foodie Tours in County Kerry. In September, the Waterford Harvest Festival showcases the best of the region’s food, including the speciality bread called blaa.
Dublin is a hot spot for great restaurants, one of which was recently voted the number six steakhouse in the world. FX Buckley serves steaks from traditional Irish breeds, dry-aged for 28 days in state-of-the-art meat lockers.
A great way to sample a range of quality Irish food is on a Delicious Dublin tour, while elsewhere in Ireland’s ancient east there are plenty of opportunities to sample local fare, including a Slane Food Circle tour which visits award-winning artisan producers in the Boyne Valley.
The west could be considered the hub of slow food on the island and this is celebrated at the
Burren Slow Food Festival, which celebrates sustainable food production and tradition. Other foodie highlights in the region include the famous Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival, described as a gourmet extravaganza.
All along the Wild Atlantic Way you can enjoy the freshest seafood and even catch and cook your own fish. And for those who like to forage, an Irish seaweed safari along a stunning west coast beach is a must.