- 22 Oct 19
Taste the Island is Failte Ireland's initiative to showcase the very best of the nation's thriving food and drink culture. We take a look at some of the delightful cuisine from each province.
Out on the Wild Atlantic Way, the rugged coastline and abundant farmlands provide a bounty of natural ingredients that have put dining in the west of Ireland on the wider world map. With some of the world’s coldest waters, the west produces a delicious bounty of fish and shellfish. On land, the rich, rain-soaked grass helps to produce everything from cheese and honey, to fruit, vegetables, beef and lamb.
These are the ingredients that earned Galway’s brace of Michelin-starred restaurants their awards. Indeed the very name of Aniar (53 Lower Dominick Street, Galway. Tel: 091 535 947, aniarrestaurant.ie), the Irish for ‘From The West’, gives a strong hint at where most of their produce is sourced! Run by restauranteurs JP McMahon and Drigín Gaffey, the menu at Aniar is only confirmed once the day’s ingredients have arrived. Just across the River Corrib, on the other side of Eyre Square, Enda McEvoy’s Loam (Geata Na Cathrach, Fairgreen Road, Galway. Tel: 091 569 727, loamgalway.com) was recently voted ‘Best Restaurant In Ireland’ at the 2019 Irish Restaurant Awards. Like Aniar, Loam’s menu changes daily, depending on the availability of local produce. There are no spices or olive oil in the Loam pantry: seasonings come in the form of wild herbs and seaweed picked from nearby shores.
There are some casual dining gems outside Galway. The Tavern in Westport (Murrisk, Westport, Mayo. Tel: 098 64060, tavernmurrisk.com) is well-known to hungry climbers and locals alike for its award-winning food. Just a stone’s throw from Croagh Patrick, The Tavern has won awards for Best Wild Atlantic Way Restaurant at the Gold Medal Awards and Best Gastro Pub at the Bar Of The Year Awards.
There are plenty of charming places to bed-down for a night along the Wild Atlantic Way. Situated on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in the beautiful Connemara region, Renvyle House (Connemara, Galway. Tel: 095 461 00, renvyle.com) is an acclaimed, historic country house hotel. Their restaurant features a wide range of Irish and Continental cuisine made with Irish beef, Connemara lamb, locally caught fish and seafood along with herbs, salad leaves and some vegetables grown in their own kitchen gardens. Perched on the banks of the River Moy in Ballina, The Ice House Hotel (The Quay, Ballina, Mayo. Tel: 096 23500, icehhousehotel.ie), a Blue Book property, boasts stunning panoramic views of the Wild Atlantic Way. The hotel offers locally caught seafood, foraged wild herbs, freshly grown and locally sourced seasonal produce, and Irish meat traceable from field to fork.
While you’re in the area: Visit the Foxford Woollen Mills Visitor Centre (Saint Joseph’s Place, Foxford, Mayo. Tel: 094 925 6104, foxfordwoollenmills.ie) to see master craftspeople creating the beautiful Irish designs that have made Foxford synonymous throughout the world with high-quality tweeds, rugs and blankets. Afterwards, explore the extensive woodland and lakeshore walks that surround the stunning Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Gardens (Kylemore, Connemara, Co. Galway. Tel: 095 52001, kylemoreabbey.com).
MEET THE MAKER: Following the process from grain to glass, the Connacht Whiskey Distillery (Ballina, Co. Mayo. Tel: 096 74 902, connachtwhiskey.com) visitor experience will teach you how they get their triple distilled craft pot still whiskey so smooth and golden. You will explore the rest of their drinks family, including Gin, Poitín and Vodka, each with its own unique story. Quench your thirst and explore their portfolio as you are guided through a personalised tasting session.
With these exciting events taking place across the country, there are no excuses for staying home this autumn. Get out and discover Ireland’s fantastic food culture, and explore the incredible journey from farm to fork, with the heroes who make it all happen. For further information about Taste The Island’s events and activities taking place over the coming weeks, see discoverireland.ie/taste-the-island.