Here is a holiday recipe that will tickle your taste buds and satisfy your thirst for adventure. Follow the Wild Atlantic Way for some of the wildest, freshest taste experiences around.
Ireland’s first long-distance touring route – and the world’s longest defined coastal drive at 2,500km – is also a culinary road map guaranteed to bring you right to the door of some of the country’s finest pubs, restaurants and artisanal producers.
Whether you break it into bite-sized chunks or swallow it whole in one dramatic adventure, the Wild Atlantic Way is the food trip of a lifetime – just sit back, loosen your belt and enjoy the ride. We have rustled up a few choice morsels here to whet your appetite.
Harry’s Bar & Restaurant, Bridgend, Inishowen, County Donegal
Don’t miss this family-run business that for the past 20 years has been promoting only the finest and freshest local produce: their fish is straight from the Greencastle auctions and their meat comes directly from local farms. With all the growers and foragers named on the menus at this award-winning restaurant, you will be in culinary heaven, knowing that Harry’s has helped to put this beautiful but remote region firmly on the food map.
An Duanai Mara Boat Charters, Killybegs, County Donegal
Catch and cook your own dinner with An Duanai Mara Boat Charters based in the fishing town of Killybegs in County Donegal. It offers deep-sea angling and shark-fishing, as well as sightseeing trips around Donegal Bay, one of the most picturesque stretches of coastline in Ireland. Skipper Colin Campbell has years of experience and is an active member of the Killybegs Sea Angling Club, so he knows where all the best fish are hiding. With around 21 different species running in the area, catch yourself a powerful cod, a feisty ling or a tasty turbot and Colin will help you fillet your ‘fish of the day’ ready for cooking at Kitty Kelly's restaurant nearby – a unique culinary experience.
Kitty Kelly's, Largy, Killybegs, County Donegal
World famous Kitty Kelly's is a unique Donegal gastro experience. Based in a beautifully restored 200-year-old, raspberry-coloured farmhouse it boasts Hollywood stars, Irish and UK celebrities and loyal locals among its customers. On the route to Sliabh Liag, Europe’s highest sea cliffs, Kitty Kelly's offers daytime culinary delights of fresh seafood and locally sourced foods. In the evening time the upstairs rooms come alive with diners, and after dinner, step it out with Donegal step dancing displays.
Yeats Dining Experience, Broc House, Lough Gill, County Sligo
Feed your cultural appetite with the Yeats Dining Experience at Broc House. This is a private dinner in the private home of well-known local foodies Damien Brennan and Paula Gilvarry. The couple share a passion for fine food and entertaining as well as for the poetry, culture and heritage of Sligo, all of which they combine with a chef’s flair into a wonderful evening out. Paula sources the best of local and organic produce, while Damien feeds the soul, between courses, with some of WB Yeats’ best-loved poetry for a truly magical evening.
The Beach Bar, Aughris Beach, Sligo Bay
For a steaming bowl of seafood chowder washed down with a creamy pint of Guinness, look no further than The Beach Bar at Aughris Beach in Sligo Bay. Don’t let the name deceive you: this is no regular beach bar, but a traditional thatched cottage that sits peacefully on an unspoiled stretch of quiet beach, the Atlantic waves rolling outside the front door and the Ox Mountains keeping guard from behind. One of Ireland’s truly old-style pub restaurants, it’s the place to go to unwind with a cool beer on a summer’s day, to warm up with an Irish coffee in front of an open fire on a chilly night or to relax and revive over a home-cooked meal after a day’s surfing.
EITHNA’S BY THE SEA, MULLAGHMORE, COUNTY SLIGO
You’ll have to wait until Easter for Eithna’s by the Sea to reopen in popular Mullaghmore, but it is well worth the wait. Food critic Georgina Campbell commends it for ‘the best of local seafood, cooked simply and skilfully’, with lobster a speciality. Just 10 minutes from Bundoran, this family-run seafood restaurant works with local farmers, growers and fishermen to produce delicious, home-cooked, seasonal food in a great atmosphere. Don’t forget to take home some of Eithna’s healthy pestos, made using local and seasonal land and sea veg – the perfect souvenir.
Shells Cafe, Strandhill, County Sligo
A great pitstop to enjoy a meal, treat or just a glass of wine while you look out at the sea, Shells Café is right on the seafront in Strandhill, a surfer’s paradise. Owners Myles from Cape Town in South Africa and Jane from Dublin have created a warm, welcoming spot to enjoy local ingredients and home-made bread – even the herbs are grown in their own back garden. They specialise in cakes and sweet treats too, including wheat-free breads and cake.
Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours, Killala Bay, County Mayo
Forage for your food along the Killala Bay shoreline with Wild Atlantic Cultural Tours in County Mayo. Take one of owner Denis Quinn’s fantastic guided tours, including wild food foraging, recipe sharing and, best of all, outdoor feasting, in one of the most scenic parts of the country. It’s a tailored tour of Mayo for people with taste! Denis is a Fáilte Ireland approved guide with a degree in heritage studies who is happiest outdoors sharing his knowledge and love of the stunning north Mayo coast. Feed your body and sate your curiosity on one of his foraging forays, all of which culminate in a seafood feast.
Oliver’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant, Cleggan, County Galway
Feast your eyes on the wonders of Connemara and then feed your belly with fresh seafood in Oliver’s in the unspoiled fishing village of Cleggan on the edge of the Atlantic. It’s the perfect base for a holiday, with a ferry running from here to Inishbofin, a must-see for visitors. Or just stay put and enjoy their specialities: seafood straight off the boat, locally produced foods, cheeses and the finest Connemara lamb and prime beef. With homemade desserts and Irish coffees a speciality, you won’t want to leave.
Ballynahinch Castle Islands & Lobster Experience, Roundstone, County Galway
Rest up in style at Ballynahinch Castle and book the services of local fisherman John O’Sullivan to take you on a half-day boat trip around Roundstone Harbour, Inishnee island and the local seal colony. O’Sullivan will lift lobster pots as he passes and, if the mackerel are running, will have rods on board for you to try your hand. Stop off at the deserted island of Inishlacken and walk the trail that loops the island. Return to Roundstone village in time for lunch in one of its lovely pubs – perfect if you’re still trying to come to terms with the one that got away.
Linnane’s Lobster Bar, New Quay, County Clare
Situated on New Quay Pier overlooking the sea, with Aughinish Island to the rear and the stunning landscape of the Burren to the fore, Linnane’s Bar was built over 300 years ago. Today it’s the place to go for those exploring the Burren region and looking to relax over fresh seafood. Sit outside on a sunny day, or inside by the fire when it’s chilly. Whatever the weather, the welcome is always warm and the shellfish is spectacular.
Kilshanny House, Kilshanny Village, County Clare
Sample delicious Burren Béilíní (Baileenee) – the Irish for ‘little snack’ – in magnificent Kilshanny House. It’s tapas with a Celtic twist: seasonal and local, Burren Béilíní are made with Burren Smokehouse salmon, St Tola Cheese, seasonal greens, Wild Atlantic seaweed, local beef, lamb and free-range pork. Meals are served up with preserves from Clareville House Kitchen Garden, hedgerow berries, hazelnuts, wild garlic and home-grown herbs – along with a warm welcome and a smile.
Global Village, Dingle, County Kerry
Martin Bealin and Nuala Cassidy’s restaurant Global Village opened in 1997 and has been winning rave reviews ever since. The Michelin-recommended, award-winning eatery is ranked best in Kerry by the Irish Restaurant Awards, and proudly serves local produce, seafood and sustainably farmed meats. The restaurant even has its own garden on the slopes of Mount Eagle on the Dingle Peninsula, where its vegetables are grown using biodynamic principles. An extensive wine list is complemented by a range of craft beers.
For more tasty temptations along the Wild Atlantic Way check out our Feast of Food Stories.