George Bernard Shaw once said there "there is no sincerer love than the love of food, " and there is no better place than Ireland this spring to indulge in a range of culinary delights.
Waiting to be discovered in towns and cities across the country are a host of festivals and events to tantalise the tasetbuds. From prawns in Dublin to mussels in Connemara to slow food in Clare, there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. To whet your appetite, browse the menu at www.discoverireland.ie/food.
What’s cooking in Dublin?
Visitors and food lovers alike will have the chance to be wined and dined in a selection of the city’s finest restaurants at a fraction of the cost during Dine in Dublin Restaurant Week taking place from 26th March – 1st April. Each evening, participating restaurants will offer patrons a mouth watering selection of starters, mains and desserts, coupled with in-house events like Q&A sessions with their head chefs, at a great value fixed rate.
The picturesque seaside village of Howth, considered the home of the Dublin Bay Prawn, will play host to the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival from 27th - 29th April. The festival will serve up a packed menu of events including a food village, cookery demonstrations, prawn shelling competitions and live on-street entertainment. During the course of the festival Howth’s award winning restaurants will present a special three course festival menu featuring some of their bestselling dishes (€30) in addition to showcasing their very own Dublin Bay Prawn dish. Howth’s pubs will also offer a prawn dish and a drink for €12. For those considering a dining experience with a difference, don’t miss the mystery dine around, where guests take a tour, course by course, of a selection of Howth’s finest restaurants finishing with a post dinner tipple in the festival club.
Escape the City to Dublin’s Doorstep
On May 6th, a visit to the coastal town of Greystones, Co. Wicklow is a must-do for the annual Gourmet Greystones celebration. A feast of fine food and culinary delights will be on offer as the towns’ restaurants, cafes and gourmet food outlets come together to showcase the very best of local produce.
A Taste of Carlingford takes place in Carlingford, Co. Louth from 26th-27th May and promises to be a weekend of fine food and drink set against the glorious backdrop of the Cooley Peninsula and the Mountains of Mourne. All restaurants, bars and cafes in this mediaeval village will provide visitors with a selection of tasty treats including the mouth-watering Carlingford oysters. There will be fun for the entire family with heritage walks, crab fishing, kayaking at King John's Pier and a kids cookery school for all the budding master chefs out there.
Foodie’s Delight in Galway
Why not whet your appetite out west at The Galway Food Festival from 6th – 8th April? They’ll be open-air markets throughout Galway City with city-wide restaurants trails, tastings, food tours, cookery demonstrations and workshops.
Or take a trip to the glorious Renvyle Peninsula in Connemara, Co. Galway for the Connemara Mussel Festival from 4th - 6th May. Now in its seventh year, the festival is a celebration of the mussels that are harvested in Killary Harbour, Ireland’s only fjord, and features a treasure hunts for kids, walks, talks and master-classes with professional chefs who will demonstrate how to cook the perfect mussel dish.
It’s a Chowder Cook Off in Co. Cork
Kinsale in Co. Cork will host the second National Chowder Cook Off on the 13th May. Chefs all over the country are perfecting their unique or traditional chowder recipes as they eagerly await the contest. Festival goers will benefit from the fruits of their labour by getting to taste the entrant’s chowder and vote for their favourite one.
Or why not journey to the very southern tip of Ireland and take in the breath taking views at the Baltimore Seafood Festival from the 25th – 27th May. The festival is held in conjunction with the Baltimore Wooden Boat Festival, so as well as sampling the very best fish and shellfish from the Atlantic, you’ll experience a celebration of the traditional timber sailing boats of Ireland.
Award Winning Food in Dungarvan, Co. Waterford
Journey to the sunny south-east for the Waterford Festival of Food in Dungarvan from 12th – 15th April for a long weekend featuring Michelin star chefs, artisan food and a programme of activities suited for all the family. Visitors can partake in seaweed seminars, food foraging trails, baking classes and much more. The weekend culminates in a Farmers' Market Extravaganza which celebrates the richness and diversity of Waterford’s food and culture.
Get Back to Basics in Clare
Lisdoovarna in Co. Clare is already famous for matchmaking, and you will immediately fall in love with the food and culture of the area at the Burren Slow Food Festival from 18th – 20th May. The programme promotes the use of sustainable and environmentally friendly methods to produce high quality foods and conserve traditions. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to sample local artisan foods, meet the producers and growers, attend cookery demonstrations and relax in the beauty of true dynamic food destination.
The World Irish Stew Championship in Sligo!
The So Sligo Food and Culture Festival from 18th – 20th May will serve up the annual World Irish Stew Championships, with categories for both amateurs and professional chefs. Also on the menu are foraging and farms walks where you can learn how to use wild food to create truly authentic dishes. The festival also dishes up an excellent family weekend with free street entertainment and a junior cookery competitions.
Community Spirit in Roscommon
For something a bit different, venture to Co. Roscommon for the Roscommon Lamb Festival from 2nd – 7th May. The festival is a celebration of family fun, great food and community spirit. This year is bigger than ever boasting an incredible 30 events, from sheep farm walks to a Brazilian BBQ to a Céilí Mór. The highlight of the festival will be the Global Kitchen when all nationalities living in Roscommon will come together to cook Roscommon lamb in the style of their own ethnic cuisine - a great opportunity to taste dishes from all over the world using the best of local produce.