Ireland is one of the most talked-about food destinations in Europe, and travellers are increasingly visiting to try the artisan cheese, fresh seafood and exceptional, locally-produced red meats in the very place it comes from.
The island’s green pastures, deep valleys and abundant waters have helped create a wealth of flavours available in various foods; flavours visitors can’t find anywhere else.
Natural produce is a top priority across all food suppliers, meaning that whether you’re dining in a Michelin-starred restaurant or a gastropub, homegrown ingredients will dominate the menu.
Plus, visitors can actually go beyond just dining by following the food journey from producer to plate, as Ireland is peppered with opportunities to get more involved in your food.
Visitors can stroll through markets to purchase their own raw ingredients and craft masterpieces, they can taste-test an array of products at world-class food festivals, take part in cookery classes, and join guided foodie tours where locals spill secrets and point out all the hidden gems for the most authentic dining experiences.
And so, for the self-proclaimed foodies, here are the must-visit spots to experience the best of Ireland’s food scene when visiting the island.
St George’s Market, Belfast city
St George’s Market is one of Belfast’s oldest attractions with its roots dating back all the way to 1890.
This Victorian beauty hosts a Friday variety market and a Saturday and Sunday food and craft market.
Bound to have something for everyone with over 300 traders, visitors can choose what they fancy and then watch their food freshly cooked in front of them, all while being captivated by the plethora of aromas as it cooks.
Hotlips Curries, Belfast Baps and Ann’s Pantry are just a few stalls visitors should keep an eye out for.
Moran’s Oyster Cottage, County Galway
Located within a 250-year-old cottage at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in County Galway, this restaurant offers a truly memorable experience.
Travellers will be dining where people like Julia Roberts and Roger Moore have before.
Tables in both the cozy antique interiors and outside among the glorious seascapes are equally rewarding.
Not to mention of course the Galway Bay oysters, wild native clams and steamed Galway Bay mussels will simply melt in your mouth.
Belfast Food Tour, Belfast city
Taste and Tour offer the multi-award winning Belfast Food Tour, where travellers can go ‘off the beaten track’ and try over 25 of the best local food and drink products.
Everything is covered, from whiskey to delicious bites, and meeting producers and learning insider knowledge allows travellers to savour every bite of these Irish culinary delights.
The guided walk goes for four hours on Saturdays, and the enthusiastic local foodie guides will happily cater to all dietary requirements.
The Happy Pear, Greystones, County Wicklow
The Happy Pear is a vegetarian mecca run by twins David and Stephen Flynn.
They both switched to a plant-based diet over 14 years ago, and their tasty and creative takes on vegetarian foods are attracting not only vege-lovers, but meat-lovers too.
The lively town of Greystones in County Wicklow, where the café is located, is just a 30-minute DART (train) ride away from Dublin, and also offers a break from the urban buzz.
The English Market, Cork city
The English Market opened in 1788 and is a jewel in Cork city centre.
The market is known for its cornucopia of produce including olives, breads, cheeses, organic meats and poultry, fish, and fruits and vegetables.
This melting pot of foodstuffs was considered the “best-covered market in the UK and Ireland” by English celebrity chef Rick Stein and was also chosen by the Observer Food Magazine among the ten best food markets in Europe.
A mix of traditional Cork fare from family-run stalls and exciting new foods from other regions makes this traditional yet eclectic market a foodie’s heaven.
Pyke ‘N’ Pommes, Derry-Londonderry city
In 2015 Pyke ‘N’ Pommes converted a shipping container into a sleek new food truck and set up permanent residence by the river in Derry-Londonderry.
Since their mission is to serve locally sourced, authentic street food, everything is made from scratch utilising the best local produce from passionate producers.
The legendary Wagyu burger, slow roasted pork, and the range of cuisines on offer are casual yet gourmet, and certainly worth travelling across the island for.
Temple Bar Food Market, Dublin
This foodies paradise is conveniently located in the heart of Dublin city centre, nestled among the streets of the cultural quarter, and runs every Saturday from 10 am until 4.30pm.
Collating all of Dublin’s tastiest dishes in one place, like the heavenly oysters at the Temple Oyster Bar paired with a glass of white wine, it is the perfect place for a bite to eat on the weekend.
For the cheese enthusiasts, Corleggy cheeses offer a selection box of five different kinds of cheese, and their award-winning port jelly is tempting, to say the least.
Dublin Tasting Trail, Dublin
Fab Food Trails offers walking food tours across Dublin and Cork, led by local guides to surprise even those familiar with the cities.
The Dublin Tasting Trail spans around three hours at a gentle pace, covering six to seven independent food and drink outlets.
Travellers have the chance to meet the purveyors to better understand exactly how their food made it to the plate.
The tastings evolve to reflect the current food scene, bringing both traditional and contemporary tastes to the table.
This insider information will set visitors up for the rest of their time in the city, as they stroll through the very local gastronomic gems and neighbourhoods.
Murphy’s Ice Cream, Dingle, County Kerry
The joyous little town of Dingle in County Kerry would be incomplete without the well-loved Murphy’s Ice Cream.
Travellers should expect a bustling queue outside the boutique blue shop on Strand Street, which is simply a testament to the quality of the ice cream.
It’s worth the wait, with all ice cream handmade with the freshest farm milk and local cream derived from the rare, indigenous breed of Kerry cow.
Dingle sea salt, caramelised brown bread, and Irish coffee are just some of the must-try flavours with a unique Irish twist.
On a trip to Ireland, you will discover a world full of authentic experiences. And from the oysters to food trucks to markets, we think it’s pretty clear you’ll discover some amazing food too.
To find out more about Ireland’s buzzing food scene, visit Ireland.com.