Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon launches new programme of exciting food and drink events which will take place across Ireland during September, October and November

Brand new marketing campaign encouraging more home holidays in the shoulder season

Thursday, 15 August 2019: Irish TV presenter Angela Scanlon today revealed the line-up for the much anticipated Taste the Island programme, a 12 week celebration of Ireland’s seasonal ingredients, adventurous tastes and bold experiences taking place this September, October and November.

Details of the programme, which includes more than 600 food and drink-related events and experiences across the country, along with a new all-island marketing campaign, were revealed by Fáilte Ireland, with the support of Irish TV Presenter Angela Scanlon.

Among the many experiences to enjoy is a Harvest Moon Supper at Hook Lighthouse where guests can dine while enjoying the sunset and the harvest moon rise over Hook peninsula; a feast at the foot of Mount Errigal where Donegal chefs create a unique dining experience; Galway International Seafood and Oyster Festival; Wild Food Foraging experiences; Oyster Shucking experiences and Dublin Distillery Trails.

‘Taste the Island’ is an all-island initiative that will significantly enhance Ireland’s reputation for its food and drink experiences. It is a three-year programme developed by Fáilte Ireland in conjunction with Tourism Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland. 

Speaking about ‘Taste the Island’ Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin emphasised – “I am delighted to see ‘Taste the Island’ come to life today as the new programme is unveiled. This is one of the first all-island tourism initiatives to take place in recent years, and I am confident that the collaboration between Fáilte Ireland, Tourism Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland will ensure that Taste the Island has a positive impact on Ireland’s reputation for providing unique and unforgettable food and drink experiences across the island of Ireland.”   

Transforming Ireland into a series of food and drink experiences and encouraging people to pull up a seat and join Ireland’s table, the line-up will feature over 600 unique food trails, festivals and dining experiences, taking place across the nation and developed by world-renowned Irish chefs, producers and craftspeople.

The initiative is the first of its kind for Ireland and will take place from September 6th to November 30th, beginning with the well-known festival ‘A Taste of West Cork’. The 12-week celebration will be supported by a brand-new marketing campaign for the whole island which kicks off this Monday, 19th August (further information available below). 

Speaking today, Paul Kelly, CEO Fáilte Ireland said – “Food and drink play an intrinsic role in the visitor experience and account for 35% of overseas tourism revenue – this equates to 2bn, making it a critical contributor to the strong exchequer returns the tourism industry delivers. Indeed, our own research tells us that tourists are not always aware of our high-quality produce and sustainability credentials around our food and drink before visiting here. ‘Taste the Island’ aims to address this lack of awareness, which will in turn play a role in visitors’ destination choices and contribute to their experience of Irish culture. Furthermore, scheduling ‘Taste the Island’ across Ireland’s off-peak season will give Irish tourism businesses across the country the opportunity to leverage a greater share of tourists during traditionally quieter periods.”

Speaking at the launch in Dublin, Angela Scanlon said – “It’s such an amazing time for the Irish food scene, every time I come home there’s somewhere new and eclectic and exciting. We certainly punch above our weight when it comes to food and drink experiences. I love food and I love to travel, combining the two is even better and there are so many places across the island of Ireland offering incredible experiences, up there with the best food locations in the world. We have some of the most progressive chefs, producers and craftspeople in the world; alongside epic dining destinations and our famous charm *wink wink* – the key ingredients that make up Taste the Island.”

Over the next three years, Taste the Island’s three-year programme will illustrate how many unique and exciting ways holidaymakers in Ireland can experience local produce under five pillars:

  • Taste of Place – local cafés, restaurants and bars will be serving up local and seasonal focused dishes and pairings.
  • Meet the Maker – giving visitors the opportunity to meet with the custodians of Ireland’s fantastic produce and learn more about how it goes from place to plate.
  • Make it Yourself – hands on experiences with cookery schools, food producers, distilleries and more to find out how to recreate local dishes.
  • Trails and Networks – take to some of Ireland’s unique and charming food trails.
  • Festivals and Events – A number of new and existing festivals will become part of ‘Taste the Island’ including; A Taste of West Cork, Púca, Leitrim Boxty festival and a brand-new Festival of Honey taking place in Wexford. 

A taste of the line-up:

  • Kicking off with A Taste of West Cork, where local ingredients take centre stage, the eclectic line-up also features some new additions to the festival calendar including Halloween’s otherworldly event Púca and the Leitrim Boxty Festival.
  • Dine with a view at Harvest Moon Supper at Hook Lighthouse where guests can dine while enjoying the sunset and the Harvest moon rise over Hook peninsula; or enjoy a feast at the foot of Mount Errigal where Donegal chefs create a unique dining experience.
  • Experience an unflinching look at the dedication and passion it takes to be the best in your craft with Catch and Cook at Renvyle House, Co. Galway or Macamore Buffalo Farm Tour, Co Wexford.
  • Get stuck in and test your own skills with Bean and Goose, chocolate making experience, Co. Wexford or at Sweet Beats, Fermented Food Workshop in Co. Sligo.
  • We believe that uncovering great flavours is an adventure – and some of best are tasted by foot! From Taste the Atlantic Seafood Trail, to Gourmet Greenway Food Trail to Dublin Distillery Trails, Taste the Island has mapped out the tastiest food routes.

Speaking at the announcement John McGrillen, Chief Executive of Tourism Northern Ireland, said – “Food and drink accounts for 30% of the total visitor spend in Northern Ireland. Internationally, our reputation for great food and drink is growing as demonstrated by the global Best Food Destination award in 2018. Research tells us that our visitors position food and drink as one of the top five factors when choosing a destination and they value local produce highly.

“We have been working with our industry partners to bring our food story to the world. Taste the Island will celebrate the quality, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship within our industry and offer a compelling programme of authentic food and drink experiences to motivate visitors to travel to Northern Ireland,” he added.

Speaking at the announcement Siobhan McManamy, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets, said –“Taste the Island is a truly exciting initiative, shining a spotlight on the superb culinary experience on offer right around the island of Ireland, and we look forward to promoting the programme in our overseas markets over the coming months and years.

“Food and drink are vital elements of today’s holiday experience and our Taste the Island promotions will raise awareness of Ireland’s rich food culture overseas. Tourism Ireland will encourage prospective visitors around the world to come and experience our award-winning local produce, dine in our excellent restaurants, visit our fantastic distilleries and breweries, or perhaps take in a food trail or festival. Our message is that there has never been a more exciting time to come and discover the food scene in Ireland.”

Find out more about ‘Taste the Island’ at: www.discoverireland.ie/taste-the-island 

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