- 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.
Named the World’s Best Food Destination for 2018-19 at the World Travel Market, Northern Ireland’s clear coastal waters, loughs and rivers, and lush valleys provide the ingredients that fuel its celebrated food and drink culture. Nationally famous for its world-class seafood, beef, vegetables and fruits, Northern Ireland is now rightly attracting international attention for the quality of its produce.
There’s no better place to taste it than at one of Northern Ireland’s most celebrated, Michelin-starred restaurants. EIPIC (28-40 Howard Street, Belfast. Tel: 028 9033 1134, deaneseipic.com) bagged their star after only 18 months in business, thanks to their bold and distinctive approach, which utilises local and foraged ingredients. Looking out on the Lagan River, Michelin-starred OX - pictured above - (1 Oxford Street, Belfast. Tel: 028 9031 4121, oxbelfast.com) is led by head-chef Stephen Toman – a firm believer in nose-to-tail eating, which means lots of alternative cuts of meat to feast on as well as superb fish and vegetables. The North’s final Michelin-starred restaurant is The Muddler’s Club (1 Warehouse Ln, Belfast Tel: +44 28 9031 3199, themuddlersclubbelfast.com), which has become a go-to destination for its “meticulously simple dishes” under the guiding hand of head chef and owner Gareth McAuley.
Away from Belfast, located next to the water on Strand Beach, the renowned Harry’s Shack (116 Strand Street, Portstewart. Tel: 028 7083 1783) is reckoned by many to do the best fish & chips on the island. On the other side of the border, The Olde Castle Bar & Red Hugh’s Restaurant (The Diamond, Donegal Town. Tel: 074 972 1262, oldecastlebar.com) is a landmark building in the centre of Donegal Town.
Known for its excellent casual dining, they place an emphasis on the freshest locally produced seafood and steaks, with all ingredients sourced locally where possible. Still in Donegal, Dicey Reilly’s (Market Street, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal. Tel: 071 985 1371, dicey.com) family-run pub is now in its third century of trading as a public house. They run the very popular Dicey Reilly’s Donegal Brewing Company and one of the best wine and beer off-licences in the country, Meanwhile, MacNean House & Restaurant (Blacklion, Co.Cavan Tel: +353 71 985 3022, nevenmaguire.com) is a proper foodie destination where you can eat Neven Maguire’s wonderful food and enjoy a great night’s sleep afterwards!
Back in Northern Ireland, Belfast’s Titanic Guest (147-149 Templemore Avenue, Belfast. Tel: 028 9521 5656, titanicguest.com) is flying the flag for Taste The Island with the special offer of A Gourmet Taste Of Belfast. This overnight stay in one of their luxury 4-star rooms includes a gourmet cooked breakfast. Right at the top of the country, The Bayview Hotel (2 Bayhead Road, Portballintrae, Co. Antrim, Tel: +44 208 2073 4100, bayviewhotelni.com) overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is convenient to both the Giant’s Causeway and the Old Bushmills Distillery where you can tour Ireland’s oldest working distillery.
While you’re in the area: Escape to the wilds of the Mourne Mountains in Co. Down. Rich in culture, heritage and mythology, these rolling hills were the inspiration for C.S. Lewis’s Narnia tales. They’re also the home of the delicious Mourne Mountain Lamb. Mourne Trails & Ales Tour (onegreatadventure.com/mourne_trails_ales) offers the chance to explore the picturesque surroundings on a guided tour.
MEET THE MAKER: An ice cream farm shop with a difference, at Tickety Moo (Oghill Farm, Killadeas, Co. Fermanagh. Tel: 028 6862 8779) visitors can watch the whole process that goes into producing the delicious dairy delights. Their tour will take you from the milking of their herd of award-winning pedigree Jersey cows to the crafting of fantastic flavours such as Bubblegum Mallow and Balsamic Strawberry.
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.