Food producers and restaurant owners surrounding Lough Derg have joined forces in an effort to promote the region as a food tourism destination. ‘A Taste of Lough Derg 2014’, a pilot initiative for 2014, features 13 separate food events taking place in villages and towns along the shores of Lough Derg in counties Clare, Galway and Tipperary.
Commencing this week and continuing through mid-September, the series includes a Sunday Picnic at the lake in Killaloe, a butcher masterclass in Terryglass, farm walk and cheese tasting in Portumna, a BBQ garden party and talent show in Garrykennedy, and chocolate making and tasting in Tuamgraney and Newtown. The series also highlights the excellent country and farmers markets around Lough Derg.
The initiative is one of the recommendations of the Roadmap for Lough Derg, which was launched by the Minister in conjunction with the Lough Derg Marketing Strategy Group (LDMSG) and Fáilte Ireland in March 2014. The strategy has identified a number of areas to focus on over the period of the plan in order to achieve the vision for Lough Derg which is to develop it as a key destination for superb water based activities combined with a range of very high quality walking, cycling, heritage, culture and food experiences that will entice the domestic and international visitors to stay longer.
“One of our objectives early on was to establish an initiative that showcased the local food sector, something that has not previously been done in a coordinated fashion,” explained Joe MacGrath, Chairperson of the LDMSG.
He added: “The local food tourism sector is fortunate to be served by a number of high quality artisan food producers and established chef-led restaurants. ‘A Taste of Lough Derg’ brings these various elements together as a method of promoting Lough Derg as a destination for food and illustrating the food produce in the area. As well as being aimed at attracting new visitors to the region, we hope this series will also inform people in the surrounding area of the quality food providers and suppliers that exist on their own doorstep.”
The participating stakeholders from around Lough Derg include Brookfield Farm, Tuscany Bistro, The Derg Inn, Lough Derg Chocolates, Sunny Meadow Farm, Good and Green, The Wooden Spoon, Larkin’s Bar & Restaurant, Killeen Farmhouse Cheese, Irish Seed Savers, Wilde Irish Chocolates, and Paddy’s Bar & Riverrun House & Cottages.
Áine Mc Carthy, Tourism Marketing Coordinator for Lough Derg commented: “The development of a new food tourism initiative is one of the objectives of the Roadmap for Lough Derg which seeks to enhance the overall visitor experience around Lough Derg and to establish an identity that is unique to this region. We are delighted to partner with local businesses to develop this initiative and further enhance the Lakelands ‘Lough Derg’ experience.”
‘A Taste of Lough Derg’ includes ‘Walk, See & Taste’ on Sunny Meadow Farm with a BBQ and Killeen Cheese Tastings, Portumna (Sun 13 Jul); ‘Taste & Make’ at Wilde Irish Chocolates Real Working Chocolate Factory, Tuamgraney (Thu 17 Jul); Pizza Picnic, Riverrun House & Cottages (Sun 20 Jul) Chocolate Demonstration and Tastings, Lough Derg Chocolates, Newtown (Fri 25 Jul); Tuscany Bistro World Cup of Forrestal Wines & Feast of Local Produce, Ballina (Thu 31 Jul); Scariff Harbour Festival 2014 feat. cooking demo with Chef Adrian Martin (Sat 2 Aug); Farm walk on Brookfield Farm All Ireland Permaculture Gathering feat. workshops, foraging, wild swimming, Coolbawn (8-10 Aug); ‘Meet the producer’ organised through Paddy’s Bar, Terryglass (Tue 12 Aug); ‘Making the most of it – 50+ foods from an Irish garden’ at Good and Green, Annacarriga (Fri 15 Aug); Larkin’s BBQ Garden Party & Talent Show, Garrykennedy (Sun 24 Aug); A Celebration of Tipperary Beef and Lamb feat. Master Butcher demo & craft beer tasting, The Derg Inn, Terryglass (Sat 6 Sept); ‘Apple Week’ at Irish Seed Savers, Scarriff (11-14 Sept); and Sunday Picnics at the lake with The Wooden Spoon Killaloe (Sun 14 Sept).
A nominal charge applies to some events while others are free. Pre-booking is recommended. For complete details on each event, visit www.facebook.com/ATasteofLoughDerg.