Ireland isn’t the obvious vacation destination for foodies. However, the culinary choices have been expanding in recent years thanks to inventive local chefs and a reliance on getting fresh ingredients from both the land and the sea.
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Some of the staples of the Irish diet include Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty, Irish soda bread, coddle and colcannon.
Today’s Irish chefs are taking these dishes a step further, with much of that reflected in the food tours that you see below.
Most of the food tours in Ireland listed in this blog post (except for the private yacht experience off the Kinsale coast and the two-night stay in Waterford) range in price from €55/$60 US/£47 Sterling/$80 CAD/$90 AUD to around €120/$132 US/£102 Sterling/$175 CAD/$196 AUD per person.
Not all food tours listed here are suitable for everyone, so it’s best to ask beforehand if you have specific dietary needs.
There are several food tours to experience in Belfast, once known as the industrial powerhouse of Northern Ireland and famously associated with The Titanic.
The Belfast Food Tour
This four-hour guided food tour through the city center includes some of its top food and drinking spots.
The tour begins in the historic St. George’s Market, where you can expect to meet local food producers and then taste some of their delicious products.
The 5 Stop Brunch Tour
This is another Belfast culinary tour favorite that includes three hours of grazing in the city’s best quirky cafes, restaurants, and bars. Also includes cocktails.
Crafty Beer and Street Eats
A 3-hour walking tour of Belfast’s best beer bars and street food venues.
More information on the above tours can be found on the Taste & Tour website.
Belfast Food Tours – Secret Food Tours
This 3 to 3 ½-hour excursion starts in front of Belfast City Hall and takes you to a number of eateries in the city, where you’ll dine on a freshly baked breakfast with locals and later enjoy some classic Northern Ireland dishes.
The Cork Tasting Trail
Experience the city’s traditional food and drink establishments on this popular tour while also savoring delicious Irish dishes, in addition to learning about Cork’s culinary heritage along the way.
Six venues are included in this guided tour that will also give you an insight into the local culture and architecture.
Cork Historic Doughnut Tour
You’ll start this tour at the Dulce Bun Bakehouse, a family-owned café that sells some of the best doughnuts in town.
After that, expect to hear about the incredible history of the city while stopping at two other doughnut specialty shops as well as well-known attractions in the city, including the National Monument Grand Parade, the English Market and the Crawford Art Gallery.
Cork on a Fork Festival
Taste your way through the city by enjoying food trails, cooking demonstrations, tasting masterclasses, talks, special events and more at this annual food festival, which takes place Aug. 16-20.
Kinsale, County Cork
Make Kinsale a definite stop on your Ireland vacation itinerary and while you’re there, choose between three food-related tours offered in this colorful West Cork town.
Kinsale Culinary Half-Day Tour
This includes a walk through this pretty seaside village where you’ll learn about the history of Irish food and then sample some traditional fare, including local cheese, oysters and craft beer.
Coastal Foraging and Folklore Tour
On this coastal walk, learn how to identify seaweeds, shellfish, and wild plants, some of which are used for beauty, food and medicinal purposes, and hear some local coastal legends as well.
This dog-friendly walking food tour starts at the Sandycove Slipway, about 5 km/3 miles outside Kinsale. Look for the guide wearing the green “Kinsale Food Tours” jacket.
This is also available as a private experience, with a wild foods picnic included. Email [email protected] for more information.
Private Yacht Picnic Charter
This half-day sailing experience (available in the morning and afternoon) includes having your own skipper and a private guide, in addition to a gourmet picnic as you take in the spectacular views along the County Cork coast.
This is not a budget experience. Charter yacht tours cost approximately $1,400 for up to 4 people.
There are several food tours that you can avail of in the Dingle area.
Dingle Tasting Tours
Wander through the beautiful town of Dingle and experience its local food and drink, including seafood right off the boat, Irish beef from local farms and locally crafted gin and beer.
Tours are offered at 11:30 a.m. and at 2 p.m. The morning tour is the shorter of the two available.
Kingdom Food Tour
Italian native and certified tour guide Giulia Visciani is enthusiastic about sharing her knowledge of Irish food and in particular, her passion for Dingle and its fare.
Expect to stop at a local brewery, fusion food restaurants, food trucks, a butcher shop, and an ice cream store on this food tour.
Visciani also offers private tours and a guided coastal walk together with a gourmet picnic.
Deelish Food Tours by Deirdre Harman
Meet the Maker
The Dingle Food Festival
This is an annual highlight in Dingle, which will take place Sept. 29th through October 1st.
Activities include a combination of cookery demonstrations, workshops, a craft beer and cider trail, a farmer's forum, street entertainment, a taste trail, over 50 market stalls, children's events, wine tastings, and more.
Meet and Eat Dublin: Dublin Food Walking Tour
Stop at 6 to 7 different venues in the city to get a literal taste of Dublin’s current food scene. Meet food artisans, chocolatiers, and cheese mongers, among others.
This tour includes 5 to 6 food tastings and 1 to 2 drink tastings.
Dublin Walking Tour with Secret Tours
Take a half-day food tour visiting authentic pubs, cafes, markets, and food shops while savoring a traditional Irish breakfast, artisanal cheese, even an Irish liqueur.
Delicious Dublin Food Tour
This tour will give you a good introduction to the food scene in Ireland and Dublin.
It includes tastings and samples at award-winning restaurants and cafés.
Food on Foot Tour
You’ll find a blend of food, history and culture on this tour.
Irish Craic & Cuisine: Cooking Class and Dinner in Central Dublin
Learn how to make Irish soda bread, a beef and Guinness casserole and an Irish favorite, colcannon with Dublin native Ann Tomlin.
The experience is more than just a cooking lesson; it’s an evening of fun and the chance to experience genuine Irish hospitality.
Afternoon Tea Bus Tour
While not a food tour, per se, this delightful activity is still totally worth doing.
Enjoy a variety of afternoon tea delicacies, including freshly made sandwiches, desserts, cakes, and pastries, with 1950s jazz playing in the background while you breeze around the city on a double decker bus.
Galway Food Tours – Daytime Food Tour
This 2 ½-hour culinary walking tour will introduce you to Galway’s cheese makers, artisan chocolatiers, creative beer makers and more.
Other culinary tours offered by Galway Food Tours include an Evening Food Tour, the Sweet Tooth Food Tour and its 4 ½-hour Food and Cycling Tour.
You’ll more information on the Galway Food Tours website.
Foodie Walking Tour of Galway City
This small group tour, which is offered in both English and French, includes six food and drink stops across the city where you’ll learn about traditional Irish food, in addition to exploring the Galway Market where local producers sell Galway Bay oysters, cheese, craft beer and more.
Taste of Sligo Food Tours
Follow well-known Sligo restauranteur Anthony Gray through the streets of Sligo and into its popular eateries on this popular food tour.
Over 2 ½ hours, learn about the multicultural flavors that are defining the town’s position as a culinary destination.
Tours are available Wednesday through Saturday, at 12 p.m. and again at 2:30 p.m. for groups of up to 8+ people.
Tours are also available for singles and groups smaller than 8.
Private Oyster Tasting One-Hour Experience
This 1-hour experience includes an oyster shucking demonstration and an oyster tasting provided by Aisling Kelly, owner of WB’s Coffee House.
Sligo Oyster Farm Tour
This oyster farm tour will give you exclusive access to a working oyster farm where you will learn about Sligo's ancient seafood while taking in stunning views of Benbulben and Knocknarea, popular hiking attractions in County Sligo.
The Burren, County Clare
The Burren in County Clare is where you’ll find an abundance of caves, cliffs and fossil sites, and it also where you will discover a number of food-related attractions.
In recent years, this area has attracted several artisan farmers, beekeepers, gardeners, cheesemakers, perfumeries, and chocolatiers, which has resulted in the creation of The Burren Food Trail, a series of themed driving tours that can be easily downloaded for on-the-go traveling.
Choose from The Market Garden Trail, the Farm to Fork Trail, Taste of the Ocean Trail and more.
Mountain Splendour Taste Tour
Take a tour of the Comeragh and Knockmealdown mountain region with guide Johnny Landers.
This food tour also includes a visit a sheep farm where you will learn about sustainable farming and see the farm’s distinctive Scottish Black Face sheep and then dine on lamb when in season at Cooney’s Yard.
If you want a more immersive experience, you can spend two days exploring County Waterford’s food, drink, and landscapes.
The Waterford Food Story Experience includes two nights bed and breakfast at the Granville Hotel in Waterford together with an evening meal in the award-winning Everett’s restaurant.
Take a foraging tour along the nearby beach, part of Waterford’s Copper Coast, with The Sea Gardener Marie Power and later explore the region’s gardens and natural woodland.
If you’d like to discover more of County Waterford’s culinary treasures, be sure to take the Coastal Discovery Taste Trail.
If you want to discover the culinary delights of County Donegal, taking a food tour with Donegal Food Tours is worthwhile. Here is a sampling of what you can expect.
Taste the North
This guided excursion highlights the chefs, foodie destinations, and delicious produce in the northern part of the county.
On this food tour, you'll spend an afternoon traveling through the Inishowen Peninsula that is known for its stunning sea views, and along the way, you'll find some of Donegal's best foodie gems.
The Killybegs Food Tour
Meet local fishermen, products and restauranteurs on this 3.5-hour walking food tour of Killybegs, the main fishing port of County Donegal.
Border Hop Food Tour
This 5-hour excursion will take you to the Donegal/Tyrone border where you'll meet the innovative producers and chefs behind the food scene in Northwest Ireland, in addition to numerous tasting opportunities.
Email [email protected] to book any one or more of the above tours.
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In addition, Donegal hosts several food festivals.
They include A Taste of Donegal, A Taste of Inishowen Food Festival, the Dunfanaghy Food Festival, the Dungloe Street Food Event, the Killybegs Hooked Festival, and Off the Street Food Festival.
Find more information on all of them here.
If you’d like to take a food tour of Ireland, Vagabond offers an excellent one called the 6-Day Epic Ireland Food Tour that will take you to places like Galway, Clare, Dingle and more.
No doubt there are many more food tours in Ireland, way more than I can fit into this blog post.
If you know of a worthwhile food tour anywhere on the island of Ireland, do let me know in the comments below.