- 21 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.
The coastline of Leinster is teeming with marine life. Even just a small bit inland, there are rolling fields, perfect for livestock and famous for their yields of delicious fruit and veg. Leinster, in other words, has all the ingredients of a foodie’s paradise – and so it proves. Ireland’s Ancient East is home to myriad destinations for the avid food adventurer. It is also home to the only three restaurants in Ireland to have been granted the honour of two Michelin Stars.
Celebrating the best of what can be grown and harvested, fished and foraged on the island of Ireland, Aimsir (Cliff at Lyons, lyons Road, Celbridge, Co. Kildare. Tel: 01 630 3500, aimsir.ie), is an acclaimed new project from Jordan Bailey, the former head-chef of the 3-Michelin star winning Maaemo in Oslo. Only open since May of 2019, rumour has it that their Connemara razor clams and Achill Mountain mutton shoulder were the dishes that got them such a high distinction from the revered food guide. In Dublin, Greenhouse (Dawson Street, Dublin. Tel: 01 676 7015, thegreenhouserestuarant.ie) has burnished its already high-flying reputation with the addition of a second Michelin Star. Their menu places Ireland’s best produce alongside that of its European neighbours in England and France, proving that Irish ingredients like the Green House’s 80 Days Aged Glenarm Shorthorn Beef are among the finest to be had anywhere.
Fantastic casual dining options are available throughout Leinster. Mikey Ryan’s Bar and Kitchen (76 Main Street, Cashel. Tel: 062 62007, mikeyryans.ie) has been at the centre of cultural life in Cashel for over a century, with a menu that embraces freshness, seasonality and quality, flavoursome ingredients prepared with care. Back in the capital, those in need of some healthy nourishment on the go should look no further than Blazing Salads (42 Drury Street, Dublin. Tel: 01 671 9552, blazingsalads.com). This award-winning, family-run vegetarian, vegan and wholefood deli uses the highest quality of organic and locally produced ingredients in their delicious salads, soups and pies.
Further food-based delights – and one of Condé Nast’s Top 10 places to lay your head – can be found at the luxurious Clontarf Castle Hotel (Castle Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin. Tel: 01 833 2321, clontarfcastle.ie). One of many dining options on offer in the 12th century castle, The Knights Bar has become a stalwart of the Dublin Gastro Bar scene. Another great option is The Lime Tree Restaurant at Tulfarris Hotel & Golf Resort (Blessington Lakes, Wicklow. Tel: 045 867 600, tulfarrishotel.com). Here, world cuisine meets the best of Irish ingredients in a specially created gourmet package to celebrate Taste The Island. This includes an overnight stay, a full Irish breakfast, a delicious 2 course meal featuring Irish Sea Hake, Pork Belly and Irish Beef, and finally, a takeaway selection of homemade preserves and brown bread.
While you’re in the area: Explore Irish history by stepping aboard the Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience (New Ross, Co. Wexford. Tel: 051 245 239, dunbrody.com), or by taking to the trails and investigating Ireland’s Ancient East with local folklorist, storyteller and foodie, Lorraine at Gallivanting Tours (Gorey Tourist Information Centre, Main Street, Gorey. Tel: 053 910 0779, gallivantingtours.ie).
MEET THE MAKER: Knockdrinna Farmhouse Cheese (Stoneyford, Co. Kilkenny. Tel: 086 859 7716, knockdrinna.com), pride themselves on making the finest quality artisan cheese, using the best quality milk from local farmers. Their delicious Kilree Cheese won the Supreme Champion Award and the Eugene Burns trophy for Best Irish Cheese. They run one-day cheese-making courses at the Knockdrinna Farmhouse in scenic Stoneyford, and regular cheese tasting events.
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.