New Champions Chosen to Build Ireland’s Food Tourism Reputation

Failte Ireland Food Champions-3

Fáilte Ireland announced the names of 16 new emerging food champions who will represent the importance of food to tourism and visitors to Ireland. They will join six existing food champions as part of the Food Tourism Network Development programme. The group will work together with their local community to help build Ireland’s food tourism reputation, sourcing and activating ideas to encourage visitors to stop more, spend more, and stay longer.

These new food champions were chosen from over 400 nominations following a detailed selection process. The tourism authority had sought nominations for emerging food champions with a resounding passion and belief in Irish food who actively influence and shape the future of Irish cuisine and food tourism in their region.

The focus for the initiative in 2016 is on food champions from Fáilte Ireland’s two newest brands Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin – A Breath of Fresh Air with an addition of four new food champions to those already located along The Wild Atlantic Way.

John Mulcahy, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Hospitality, Food & Standards, said –  

“There was a phenomenal response in our quest to find Ireland’s food champions.  In fact we received over 400 nominations from a diverse group who are members of wider food tourism communities, committed to playing a role in the continuing development of Ireland’s food tourism proposition and reputation from across Ireland – many thanks to both the nominees and nominators for the interest that they have shown.  

The ‘emerging’ food champions have already been working hard in their regions and can now become a part of our network which we will support and guide as they continue to develop food tourism experiences.

The New Food Champions are:

Irelands Ancient East  
Anthony O’Toole Culinarean Press WEXFORD (Ferns)
Claire Dalton Dungarvan Brewing Co. WATERFORD (Dungarvan)
Gearóid Lynch The Olde Post Inn CAVAN (Cloverhill)
Judith Boyle Beer Sommelier, Publican KILDARE
Patrick Ryan Firehouse Bakery WICKLOW (Delgany)
John Relihan Holy smoke CORK
Kevin Ahern Sage CORK (Midleton)


Garrett Fitzgerald Brother Hubbard Capel Street, DUBLIN
Ivan Varian Dalkey Food Company Dalkey, Co DUBLIN
Niall Sabongi Klaw Restaurant Temple Bar, DUBLIN
Ketty Elisabeth French Foodie in Dublin Ltd DUBLIN
Seáneen Sullivan L. Mulligan Grocer Stoneybatter, DUBLIN
Wild Atlantic Way    
Áine Maguire The Idle Wall MAYO (Westport)
Gabriel Faherty Aran Islands Goats Cheese GALWAY (Aran Islands)
Chris Molloy The Lemon Tree DONEGAL (Letterkenny)
Tom Flavin The Strand Hotel LIMERICK
Existing Food Champions    
Mark Murphy Dingle Cookery School KERRY (Dingle)
Jacinta Dalton Dept of Culinary Arts, GMIT GALWAY
Olivia Duff The Headfort Arms Hotel MEATH
Pádraic Óg Gallagher The Boxty House DUBLIN (Temple Bar)
Ruth Healy Urru Culinary Store CORK
Brid Torrades Osta Cafe SLIGO

For detailed bios of  food champions see LINK

As they embark on their role as Fáilte Ireland food champions, the candidates will be offered a unique opportunity to attend an international benchmarking trip later this year to learn how food is promoted in competing destinations and to assist in the development of new food experiences in their area.

Mr Mulcahy continued –

“The focus this year is from within our two newest propositions – Ireland’s Ancient East and Dublin: A Breath of Fresh Air and how we can further develop the visitor experience by promoting our local and regional food experiences in these areas.”  

In a recent report from the Skift Travel Megatrend for 2016 it says – “Food is now the leading hook of travel in a time in which almost every experience can be digitized, food stands alone as stubbornly analogue.  Perhaps that’s why culinary travel experiences are now the most popular method for driving tourism business.  Food has an unmatched ability to communicate a unique sense of place.  Local cuisine provides a direct connection to the history of a region, the soul of its people and the rhythm of daily life.” Read the full report HERE.

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