Clodagh's Irish Food Trails Tour 8 Days
7 Night Tour From $1,043 pps
This tour arrives into and departs from Dublin, but can be customised to include Shannon as an arrival/departure point.
Destinations / Itinerary
Day 1- Arrival in Dublin
You’re in the capital of Ireland and this veritable melting pot of culture and tradition is a joy to explore. Busy streets packed with Dubliners from all over the world show that the “Céad Míle Fáilte” (“a hundred thousand welcomes”) is still strong here!
After collecting your car at the airport it’s off to your accommodation to check in. You can leave your car here as you’ll be ideally located to start touring the city. It can be hard to know where to start,but luckily there are plenty of ways to see the best of Dublin. The Dublin Bus Hop On Hop Off Tours are the perfect way to make sure you fit in as much of this bustling city as possible. They’ll bring you to all the major attractions and you can hop on/hop off as you please.
Taking a break from sight-seeing, why not take a stroll down to Henry Street located on Dublin City’s north-side and into Arnott’s -the oldest and largest department store in the capital. Here you will find Clodagh’s Kitchen, Food Court and Bakery. Clodagh tries to ensure that in as much as possible all food is locally sourced and produced with menus changing regularly to accommodate the seasonal produce. The Food Court offers self-service dining while Clodagh’s Kitchen Restaurant provides a more intimate dining experience. On selected days, Clodagh runs cookery lessons from Arnott’s – although booking is essential!
While here, perhaps browse the store before settling down to a slice of lovely lemon drizzle cake and tea or maybe something heartier to revive you after all your travels.
If you hit the city on a Saturday you must also take a trip to The Temple Bar Market which is on every Saturday from 10-4:30pm, this is one of the Markets featured in Clodagh’s Irish Food Trails and a must see! Located in the heart of this historic quarter, this is a foodie’s paradise! With a myriad of stalls selling everything from chees to apples, shellfish to coffee, you are in for a sensory overload! And if you want a break from all the eats on offer, why not pick up some one off jewellery pieces in the other stalls featured?
Alternatively there are fantastic markets in Dun Laoghaire on the south side of the city also featured on Irish Food Trails. From the city centre you can take a train or bus there taking around 30/40 minutes. There is an organic food market every Friday at the top of Marine Road in the town and then on Sundays there is another one in The People’s Park. Both markets run from 11-4pm.
The Friday Market offers a wide range of organic goods from home-made jams to cupcakes, bread to sauces – a wonderful market to wander around in and soak up the atmosphere as you nibble on your purchases!
The Sunday Market has an eclectic mix of crafts and food from around the world – not to mention locally produced goods as well. So whether you fancy some smoked salmon, cheese, olives or coffee you are sure to get it here!
However, if you find yourself in Dublin when there is no market on – visit the Guinness Storehouse and marvel at the view from atop their Gravity Bar as you sip on wonderfully creamy pint of the black stuff!
Along your travels around Dublin, be sure to pick up Butlers Chocolates – made in Dublin since 1932 and a firm Dublin favourite! Their hot chocolate is a real treat!
The sun may begin to dim as it tucks in for the night, but that doesn’t mean your fun has to end there. In fact for the full Dublin experience you have to witness the thrilling ambience of it at night. So here’s a few of Clodagh’s recommendations for dinner, after which you might decide to stroll around and find a pub with a traditional music session going on –a great way to end your first night on the Emerald Isle!
Some of Clodagh’s top picks for dinner in Dublin include:
- Fallon and Byrne - http://www.fallonandbyrne.com – a modern and chic restaurant in the heart of Dublin city, the premise behind this restaurant is simple – good food, good wine and good company! Buzzy and popular with a mouth-watering menu, you are sure to be charmed by this wonderful restaurant
- Fade Street Social - http://www.fadestreetsocial.com – one of Dublin’s newest restaurants, combining two restaurants together under the one roof – The Restaurant and the Gastro Bar. The concept behind Fade Street is to provide quality Irish food at affordable prices in a relaxed atmosphere. It most certainly achieves this! Don’t forget to check out their cocktails!
- La Maison - http://www.lamaisonrestaurant.ie – a little piece of France in Dublin city! With a thoughtful section of French dishes on offer and the décor of an authentic French bistro, it’s almost impossible to remember you are in Dublin! Bon appetite!
After all that, it’s back to your accommodation for a good night’s sleep and to prepare for the trip to Cork tomorrow and all the delights you have yet to see!
Day 2 - Cork via Kilkenny and Cashel
After a hearty breakfast, it’s time to head towards Cork, Ireland’s second city and undoubtedly one of the gastronomic hotspots on the island of Ireland. Journey time from Dublin to Cork is approximately 3 hours – however your jaunt down will be broken up by a couple of stops!
Heading south and just over an hour and 15 minutes outside of Dublin, is your first stop the enchanting medieval city of Kilkenny – dominated by the majestic Kilkenny Castle which dates from the 1200’s. Take the engaging tour and learn its tumultuous and exciting history. Afterwards, pay a visit to the Kilkenny Design Centre on the grounds of the castle – stuffed to the rafters with great Irish made goods from pottery to glassware, clothes to jewellery, they also have a great selection of artisan foods such as jams and chutneys from Janet’s Country Fayre, lollipops and candies from Pandora Bell and honey from Mileeven Honey! Yummy! Partake in some lunch in the wonderful on-site restaurant or venture into the city itself for eats, before you depart for your next stop – the breath-taking Rock of Cashel just under any hour away.
As the infamous Rock of Cashel comes into your line of vision, you will be shattered by its ruinous beauty and awed by the vestiges of its power and influence still evident in the size of this once powerful an dominant site. Most of the buildings evident today date from the 11th and 12th centuries; however, it is largely believed that this site was used from the earliest of times. With an exhilarating and fascinating history, enjoy the audio-visual available to visitors alongside some exhibitions which bring this once commanding building to back life.
Leaving Cashel, behind, Cork City is now within grasp. But before you stop for the day, you will make your way to Midleton just an hour away. If you are visiting on a Saturday you can visit the popular Midleton Farmers Market which opens from 9.30am to 1pm. Now in its 13th year, the market has become a runaway success – with a loyal customer base and a reputation for the finest local produce from organic beef and chicken, farmhouse cheeses, homemade cakes and a selection of seasonal fruits, berries and herbs to tantalise your taste buds.
However, if you are not visiting on a Saturday – Midleton is still a worthy stop as it is home to the Old Jameson Distillery where you can take a guided tour which will take you through the history of whiskey from the 18th century right through to the 21st. After a taste of what we affectionately call whiskey in Ireland “uisce beatha” – the water of life, its time to head onto your final destination this evening – Cork City.
Cork city is a great city to walk around so maybe take a ramble around and see where you end up. You will no doubt be swept away by the charm of the locals and the atmospheric buzz of this energetic city. With a wide range of many lovely restaurants and shops in the city to choose from, enjoy a relaxing dinner – perhaps in one of Clodagh’s recommended dining options or in one that you have discovered yourself!
Clodagh’s Recommendations for Cork:
- Jacqueson Phoenix Street http://www.jacquesrestaurant.ie – in business for 30 years, Jacques takes pride in their enduring relationships with supplier and producers which in turn provides clients with consistently great quality food and choice. Indeed all food is created to showcase the very best of what Cork how to offer. Centrally located – you will not be disappointed
- Café Paradiso- http://www.cafeparadiso.ie - a vegetarian restaurant now in its 10th year of operation, this relaxed, intimate yet elegant restaurant offers up a creative menu and regardless of your carnivore leanings your mouth will be watering with their tempting offers. Working closely with local producers, only the very best ingredients go into their food – and it shows – only full tummies leave this restaurant
- Cronin’s Pub and Mad Fish Restaurant– Crosshaven (15 minutes from city) http://www.croninspub.com – certainly worth a visit out to and with an enticing menu to tempt your taste buds enjoy a delicious dinner in this characterful pub. Linger over a pint (or two) and gaze at their array of curios and historical artefacts!
Day 3 – Cork City – Kinsale/Midleton and then on to Killarney via Kenmare
After restful night, stock up on a tasty breakfast before you gallivant off on your discovery of Cork City.
A visit to this city wouldn’t be complete without seeing The English Market which is Ireland’s most famous covered food market and considered by some chefs to be the best indoor market in both Ireland and Great Britain. Take your time to potter around looking at and indeed tasting some of the local and indeed international produce. Maybe take a morning coffee or lunch in The Farmgate Café/Restaurant upstairs which uses produce sourced from the market itself. The English Market has been operating since 1788 and is open daily between 11am to 4.30pm with Friday and Saturday being its busiest days. With a wide range of stalls carrying such delicacies as fresh pasta and bread, herbs and spices and locally produced cheeses and meats alongside stalls selling crockery and t-shirts, this bustling market is an experience in itself – not to be missed!
A 40 minute drive away is the beautiful and picturesque fishing village of Kinsale -often called the Gourmet Capital of Ireland, due to its abundance of restaurants, cafes and pubs –offering the very best of locally produced goods and of course what Ireland is most known for - fish and seafood. The town is compact and quaint with narrow streets and an ideal stop for a spot of lunch in any one of its numerous eateries.
On leaving Kinsale you’ll be passing through Clonakilty- no time to stop however, but just a little aside as Clonakilty is known for its delicious Clonakilty Black Pudding arguably the most famous of its kind in Ireland with a recipe dating back to the 1800’s. Traditionally a breakfast product you can now find it paired with apple for a salad or with scallops and bacon. Perhaps tomorrow morning, you can sample some at your breakfast and hope that it comes from Clonakilty!
Leaving Cork behind you, Kerry is now in your sights! Kenmare is just under 2 hours away but if you are a chocolate connoisseur than this is for you! Lorge Chocolates in Kenmare, as recommended by Clodagh, is run by Frenchman Lorge Benoit who produces chocolate masterpieces for local trade as well as, weddings, hotels and restaurants. Shipping orders nationwide and to both Europe and the United States, this award winning Master Chocolatier will surely be able to tempt you with his array of hand-made delicacies and mouth-watering delights! Many people stumble upon this place by accident and are totally amazed and entranced with the quality and skill of Lorge’s Choclates! Tuck into one of his honey flavoured bars, let the Baileys truffles melt in your mouth and thank the Chocolate Gods for this little piece of heaven!
If you are travelling to Kenmare on Wednesday, there is a Farmers Market running in the morning. Located in Kenmare’s Square, there is an array of local producers showcasing and selling their wares. Be sure to check it out if you can!
After a busy days travelling, you’re now just about 40 minutes from Killarney where you will be staying for the next two nights. Killarney is a bustling town – a heady mix of tourist and local which creates an energetic and lively atmosphere. This pretty town is a popular destination and has lots on offer in terms of attractions, restaurants, pubs, clubs, cafes and shops. Take a walk down the town and maybe find a pub with a traditional music session going on, and perhaps opportunity to try some pub food too?
Restaurant suggestions if you prefer this option.
- The Lake Room Restaurant at Aghadoe Heights Hotel- http://www.aghadoeheights.com/killarney_restaurants.html - this award winning restaurant in the 5* Aghadoe Hotel offers the best of locally sourced and produced ingredients and has a constantly evolving menu to reflect the in-season produce. This modern, chic and open plan restaurant won’t disappoint!
- Murphy’s of Killarney – Lord Kenmare Restaurant- http://www.murphysofkillarney.com/kenmares.html - Irish cuisine with a Mediterranean twist ensures an exciting menu which caters for all tastes! With an extensive and carefully thought out wine menu as well, enjoy a sumptuous meal in this popular Killarney spot!
- Foleys Seafood and Steak Restaurant - www.foleystownhouse.com – this family run restaurant specialises in seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes, taking full advantage of locally sourced organic producers. With a wine menu boasting over 200 wines, this well established Killarney restaurant is not to be missed!
Day 4 – Dingle
After a leisurely breakfast, you’re on the road again to Dingle a stunningly beautiful town 1hr and 15 minutes drive from Killarney. This mass of land, which stretches for roughly 48km (30 miles) juts out into the Atlantic Ocean and has some of the most beautiful and spectacular coastal drives you will ever experience in Ireland. The Peninsula is home to the mountain range of Slieve Mish, Ireland’s second highest peak (Mount Brandon) as well as various cliffs fronts and beaches.
The area is literally teeming with lush landscapes and arresting views of your natural surroundings, but you’ll also find a host of archaeological wonders here. From intriguing Iron Age structures like Dunbeg Fort to the Gallarus Oratory (a church, which is thought to have been built between the 6th and 10th Centuries) there is no end to interesting sights in this wonderful rural area.
Driving up along Slea Head, Dingle’s rugged scenery is at its most prominent. Along this circular drive you can gaze upon Inishtooskert – the most northern of the Blasket Islands, which lies just off the coast of Kerry. From the distance this hulking island mass resemble a “Sleeping Giant” giving way to the islands nickname. The full circuit will bring you right around to Dingle town. Within this fishing and farming community you’ll find a number of pubs, each with its own unique character from the modern to the truly traditional where five is a crowd! A walk thought the hilly streets of this picturesque town is a must, taking in the brightly painted houses and the stretching views from the harbour.
Make sure to pop into the famous Murphy’s Ice Cream shop! Started by brothers Sean and Kieran Murphy in 2000 their ice cream has become quickly known throughout Ireland for both its quality and range of delicious and sometimes alternatives flavours! Ranging from the traditional flavours of strawberry and vanilla, to the more daring such as sea salt and brown bread – no matter the weather – Murphy’s ice-cream should not be ignored! See for yourself why this family run business won the best artisan supplier at the Food and Wine Magazine awards in 2009 and has been growing in popularity ever since!
If cheese is more your thing, why not pop into The Little Cheese Shop which has won numerous awards for their tasty cheeses and run since 1998.
In Dingle on Friday? Make your way to the Dingles Farmers Market on from 9am to 3pm. With an eclectic mix of stalls selling everything from vegetarian specialities to organic skin care products, honey and beeswax products to seafood pies, alongside locally produced craft goods. You will be spoilt for choice!
With the sights and sounds of the Dingle Peninsula still fresh in your mind’s eye you can happily set back on the road to Killarney for your second night in the Kingdom. If you fancy a nice cup of tea when you get back into Killarney why not drop into Miss Courtney’s Tea Rooms? Originally opened in 1909 and more recently again in 2008, it has been run by four generations of ladies from the same family. This multi-award winning tea room specialises in light lunches, breakfast and afternoon tea treats. With a wonderfully colourful and characterful décor, catch what will prove to be a very memorable cup of tea here!
Otherwise park the car, take a walk or just relax and soak up Killarney’s atmosphere while thinking of the Irish recipes you’re going to cook when you get home!
Day 5 - Kerry to Galway via Clare
Rejuvenated and raring to go, it’s time to bid adieu to Ireland’s Southwest. You’re off to the witness first hand the majesty of the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren Region in Clare en-route to Galway. A busy day for you, so set off early so you have time to appreciate the magic before you.
As you make your way into Clare, edging ever close to the Burren Region, take some time to see another of this areas most loved attractions: Bunratty Castle. This 15th Century castle is the acclaimed setting for the 19th Century Bunratty Folk Park. Built in 1425 and restored to its former medieval glory in 1954, Bunratty Castle is the ultimate medieval fortress in Ireland. Within the castle hang many 15th and 16th Century tapestries, furnishings and works of art, which really create a sense of authenticity
Finally, on to the Burren. This truly unique area of limestone rock covers mountains, valleys and stream, each as awe-inspiring as the last. There is a beautiful contrast between the natural flora and fauna and the ancient man made megalithic tombs, which predate the Roman and even Egyptian civilisations. Before you trek out into the unknown, you can visit the Burren Visitors Centre in nearby Kilfenora, where you’ll get an introduction to the many secrets of the Burren.
Another famous product from this region is the salmon so be sure to visit the Burren Smokehouse in Lisdoonvarna. This is a family run business started in 1989 by Birgitta and Peter Curtin. Drop into their visitors centre and have a taste, they’re open all year round and in addition to the smoked salmon, trout and mackerel they also offer Irish cheeses, seaweed products, chutneys and honey. Well worth a visit!
From the Burren to the Cliffs of Moher your trip today is packed full of scenic eye-candy. Atop the cliff, the panoramic views of the Aran Islands, The Twelve Pins, The Maum Turk Mountains and Loop Head will take your breath away. The visitors’ centre, which has been aptly named Atlantic Edge, can be found close to the cliffs within an underground building. Various studies of the cliffs are on display here focusing on four main themes: Ocean, Rock, Nature and Man.
With the best of Clare captured forever in your minds eye, you’ll be back on the road again and heading north to Galway City for your next overnight. The illustrious “City of Tribes” is one of the prides of the West coast and your thrilling tour will continue tomorrow as you explore Galway’s City streets.
Once you’ve checked into your accommodation for tonight, Clodagh’s recommendations for food in Galway are:
- Ard Bia, Spanish Arch, Galway City - http://ardbia.com – probably best described as Irish fusion food – Ard Bia produces traditional food with an exotic flair. Intimate and fun, you will fall in love with buoyant atmosphere and friendly staff.
- Aniar, 53 Dominick Street Lower, Galway http://aniarrestaurant.ie – is the only Michelin Star restaurant on the west coast and it is no surprise! Showcasing Irish food. This terroir based restaurant embraces the beauty and influences of the Ireland’s west coast to produce food indicative of its surroundings.
- O’Grady’s on the Pier, Barna (6km from the city) http://www.ogradysonthepier.com – this two tiered restaurant offers breath-taking views of Galway Bay. Like many on the western seaboard they specialise in sea-fare but also have rich and varied menu for meat eaters and vegetarians. Great view, great food – great restaurant!
Day 6 - Connemara
Waking up in lively Galway city, it’s now time to get acquainted with some of Ireland’s most spectacular scenery and the awe-inspiring Connemara region. Take the Sky Road as you cruise towards Kylemore Abbey and you’ll be astounded by your exquisite natural surroundings, breath- taking views of the islands Inishturk and Turbot along the coastline; the moss covered walls of the Old D’Arcy Castle and the towering Twelve Bens jutting into the skyline behind the town of Clifden.
Clifden is itself a jewel in the scenic delight that is Connemara. You’ll find it nestled amidst rugged peaks and elegant coastlines making it well worth the visit, if only for a jaunt or a spot of lunch in a picturesque setting.
Continuing on your expedition around Connemara, at the foot of the Druchruach Mountain (529m/1,736ft), in the very heart of the Connemara Mountains, you’ll find Kylemore Abbey and Walled Gardens. This is a fantastic place where you could easily spend half a day. After visiting the house, you can see the amazing gardens there, have a look in the shop and lunch in one of the two lovely restaurants. The Benedictine Nuns still reside in the estate despite the closure of their boarding school and are still very much a presence at Kylemore, evidence in their creation of a cottage industry producing jams and chocolates which have proved to be a roaring success! Sister Genevieve takes pride in her handmade candles and skincare, so be sure to pick up a little something for the folks back home!
An aura of romance surrounds the estate. Explore the illustrious and spectacular grounds, which were originally built in 1867 by Mitchell and Margaret Henry as a means to fulfil their wish to one day live in Connemara permanently (which they visited numerous times during their courtship, honeymoon and subsequent marriage). Ramble through the same beautiful grounds, which stand as a testament to the couples’ love for each other and the beauty of the region; and discover its rich history involving tragedy, gambling debts, royal visits, engineering initiatives and above all else an enduring amour.
In the Connemara region you’ll also find the Connemara National Park – a captivating expanse that covers some 2957 hectares (that’s roughly the same surface area as 7,304 American football fields!). You’ll find mountains, heaths and woodlands in this scenic domain, alongside megalithic court tombs, a 19th century graveyard and Tobar Mweelin - a well which was Kylemore Castle's main source of water in the 1800’s.
From here you can visit Maam Valley. In the shadow of the Maamturk Mountains, Maam is a quaint wooded townland which is beside some great fishing lakes. Dotted around the area you’ll find many pre-historic and early historic sites and Killary Fjord – the only fjord in Ireland.
After all the excitement of Connemara, it’s back to Galway again for the night. If you haven’t already enjoyed a traditional Irish music session, than Galway is the place to find one! With a whole host of music venues on offer, countless restaurants and cafes offering some of the best seafood you will ever taste – immerse yourself in this captivating town! Visiting in September – check out the famous Oyster Festival running from the 27th to the 29th.
Alternatively, try another of Clodagh’s recommended Galway restaurants.
Day 7 Galway City and Dublin via Clonmacnoise and Kilbeggan Distillery
Today, you will be leaving the west behind you as you make your eastwards towards Dublin. This is your penultimate day, so stock up on a mouth-watering breakfast, as you leave Galway behind. If you are thinking of visiting some markets in Dublin today, we would recommend that you head straight for the capital – around 2 hours 30 minutes away. However, you may prefer to walk Galway’s streets one last time before you make a gradual move towards Dublin– or even just jump straight into the car for your first stop of the day - Clonamacnoise in County Offaly – an hour away.
This impressive early Christian site dates from the 6th century and was founded by St. Ciarán, and is located on a remote part of the meandering River Shannon – Ireland’s longest river. It flourished from the 7th to 12th century and was known as a both a centre for learning, piety, politics and craftsmanship.
It’s fortunate position both at the an intersection of River Shannon, and lying in between the 2 great provinces of Meath and Connaught meant that it was ideally situated to gain the patronage and indeed protection of these powerful kingdoms - clearly evident in the fact that they successfully halted both Viking and Norman onslaughts. Sadly, however, it did eventually succumb to an English invasion in 1552 and fell into decline.
Today, you can walk through the ruins of the once great cathedral and seven churches, gaze at the imposing round-towers – (2 in total) and admire the intricate skills of the stone-masons who created the striking and towering high crosses. If you happen to be passing through on September 9th St. Ciarán’s feast day – you should (as per tradition) walk around the site three times!
The site has an excellent visitor-centre housed in 3 buildings including a timeline for the site, with the original crosses and several grave-slabs on display inside to protect them from the elements. Excellent copies are instead located in their original locations around the site. An audio-visual is definitely worth a look and an on-site café will provide you with subsistence for your next part of your journey!
Kilbeggan in County Westmeath is the home of Kilbeggan Whiskey and also your next stop – just 40 minutes away. Whiskey first came to Ireland with a band of French monks in the 6th century, and while the French may have given it to us – we have certainly perfected it and it and made it our own! Learn all about the history of whiskey in Ireland, the processes involved in its production and if you are lucky enough, you may be able to indulge in a little sample! The Kilbeggan Distillery is the oldest licensed whiskey distillery in the world, dating from 1757 and it’s tumultuous history is both lively and entertaining. The distillery has its own restaurant The Pantry, so you can enjoy a coffee there before heading onto Dublin just over an hour away.
Arriving back in the capital, you have will have seen all the very best that Ireland has to offer enjoying the best of our culinary and scenic treasures. Perhaps there are some attractions you would still like to visit, last minute souvenirs to buy or cafes or restaurants to sample.. Or maybe you are just craving to wander the streets of this wonderful city. Enjoy your last night in Dublin and indeed Ireland as you prepare for your visit home, make sure to pack everything including all of those sensational memories!
Day 8 – Departure
We hope that the taste buds have been tickled and your senses indulged on Clodagh’s wonderful Food Trails! No doubt your recipe journal is absolutely brimming with ideas, recipes, hints and tips for you to try for yourself and impress your family and friends with!
Watch out for Clodagh’s new TV series in 2013 – Clodagh’s Gourmet Ireland which will begin filming in September 2013 and airing in 2014…another reason to come back maybe?!
For a full listing of food markets in Ireland and their own individual websites see.
For a listing of food related festivals in Ireland see
For anything else foodie related that you’re interested in – please don’t hesitate to contact Liz for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll be happy to assist.