Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer shows strong Tourism growth for 2014

74% of Irish tourism businesses are upbeat about their 2014 performance with business sentiment at a level not seen since 2007 according to the latest Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer which was published today.

The Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer is a survey of tourism businesses designed to provide insight into tourism performance for the year to date and prospects for the remainder of the season or coming year. It has been conducted regularly since 1999.

The survey of tourism businesses was carried out during August and September. The recovery in the tourism industry is now apparent across Ireland with all regions reporting strong increases on last year.

50% of restaurants report an increase in tourism custom on 2013. Overseas business is very strong, with 72% reporting an increase in customers. This is very positive news, as restaurants were hit particularly hard during the financial crisis. Dublin, which has been leading the recovery in tourism fortunes, continues to perform strongly and the South West has enjoyed an exceptional performance this year with 84% reporting business to be up on 2013.

The continued development and promotion of the Wild Atlantic Way is reaping benefits for the tourism industry in the west of Ireland. Around half (47%) in the West cite the Wild Atlantic Way as a positive, as do 43% in both the North West and the South West and 43% in the Shannon region. Comparatively only 6% in the South East, 4% in Dublin and 3% in the East and Midlands report the Wild Atlantic Way as a positive!

Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland

Commenting on today’s research, Shaun Quinn CEO of Fáilte Ireland said: “For now, tourism is back but this has been a very hard won recovery. It has taken a mixture of sacrifice and innovation by many operators – as well as far-sighted Government support for the sector – to make Ireland a competitive destination again. Fáilte Ireland initiatives such as ‘The Gathering’ and ‘The Wild Atlantic way’ have also strengthened our hand as we pitch for visitors from overseas.”

He added, “The danger now for tourism would be to allow complacency to creep back in. To sustain this year’s growth, we need to remain competitive, build on our appeal and continue to aggressively target those segments of our markets with the most potential”.

There is positivity among Hoteliers where own-marketing is the most mentioned positive factor, followed by repeat visitors. Irish people holidaying in Ireland is also cited as a positive factor by over half of hotels. Some hotels also cite that the retention of the 9% VAT rate is positively affecting their business this year while concerns over fuel and energy costs remain. Low-priced NAMA-owned competition was cited as bad for business and other operating costs remain significant issues for some in the industry.

Other points to note from today’s Failte Ireland survey of tourism businesses include:

• A strong majority (79%) of accommodation providers report an increase in visitor volumes so far this year, compared to the same period last year.

• As in previous years, hotels remain the strongest sector with 82% reporting an increase in visitors. However, 2014 has also proved to be a good year for guesthouses with 69% report increased visitors and B&Bs up by 60%.

• The overseas market has provided sharp increases for restaurants with 72% reporting their overseas visitor volumes to be up on 2013.

• So far this year, Germany, North America and to some extent Great Britain are becoming stronger markets and many also report greater volumes and spending within the domestic market.

• For those on the west coast, the Wild Atlantic Way continues to draw visitors and is strongly appreciated by operators along the route for helping develop new tourism businesses.

• For those not along the west coast they are keen to see something similar closer to their operations.

• Decent summers and signs of improved economies in Ireland and overseas are seeing operators becoming more optimistic, with some beginning to reinvest in their own products.

Read the full Fáilte Ireland Tourism Barometer report HERE

Zack

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Solis Lough Eske Donegal Food & Wine Festival Evening 5th October

Lough Eske Castle, is a five-star castle hotel located on a secluded lakeside estate just outside Donegal Town. It has a rich history dating back to the 1400s being associated with the O’Donnell Clan, one of the leading ancient clans in Donegal.

On the 5th October the Solis Lough Eske Castle again host their annual Food & Wine Festival and this is a unique way to experience the food and wine from the northwest and Donegal. Local food producers and wine suppliers will showcase their products and talents in an evening packed full of vareity of food and beverages.

Each food producer takes over a hotel room to showcase their own products and the guests explore the gastonomic delicacies of the region as they journey throughout the amazing interior of the 17th century castle.
The evening includes an impressive banquet of culinary delights from the hotels Culinary team who are joined for the day by some of Donegal’s renowned local Chefs from other local hotels and restaurants. Included in the day are exquisite wines from around the globe and some special Craft Beers by Donegal producers.

The Lough Eske Food & Wine Festival Evening kicks off with a cocktail reception at 7pm and Stations will be set up around the lobby lounge, Red & Green Rooms, Oak Bar and cedars restaurant offering Food and Beverages. Guests meander through the Castle finding a progression of Starter dishes, Soups, Meats, Poultry, Fish, Desserts, Cheese and Tea/Coffee on the route.
The main Kitchen will be showcasing two Local Eateries as the chefs all team up to provide local foods paired with local Donegal Craft Beers and the evening finishes with local musicians in the Gallery Bar.
The event €60pp including all food and beverage offerings.
Bookings in advance are essential and to make your reservation please contact (074) 97 25100
or Email: reservations.lougheske@solishotels.com (Book a Table of 10 and get 1 Free Ticket).
For more see: www.solislougheskecastle.ie  or their Facebook page HERE
You can Follow the Solis Lough Eske Hotel on Twitter on @SolisLoughEske
Zack
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Seafood in September this weekend in County Clare

Carrigaholt, in Co Clare, is one of the destination points on the Wild Atlantic Way and is a classic example of a traditional Irish fishing village. It is a perfect setting for a Celebration of Irish Seafood, on The Loop Head Peninsula. This beautiful location has been well recognised of late, winning the Irish Times Best Place to holiday last year and being named as finalist in Ireland’s Foodietowns 2014.

Every September the village celebrates its long history with the sea, with this “Seafood in September” food festival. The festival began as a gathering of local people at the end of a busy summer season but has grown into something that attracts tourist’s interested in seafood and a friendly atmosphere.

Irish Food writers and publishers, John and Sally McKenna, will open the festival

This year their Special Guests for the festival are John and Sally McKenna of the McKenna Guides, they will spend the weekend with us and will take part in many of the events such as the guided food trail and launch the festival with a Shellfish and Craft Beer night in the award winning Long Dock Restaurant. Sally McKenna will be signing copies of her book “Extreme Greens” on the Sunday of the festival as part of the food and craft fair.

There is nothing like the thrill of catching your first couple of Mackerel

Friday 19th September: 

Evening Mackerel Trip with Luke Aston of Fishandstay.com – boat departing from Carrigaholt outside pier 6pm. Price €25pp – fishing equipment included. Trip weather dependent contact 0876367544.

Cook Your own Catch in the Long Dock Restaurant – Bring in your catch after the trip and have it cooked and served with a choice of sides for only €10.

Festival Launch with John and Sally McKenna at 7pm followed by a Shellfish and Craft Beer party Price €30pp. Booking essential. Messy fun guaranteed. Crackers and bibs included.

Guided Foraging Walks on Saturday

Saturday 20th September: 

Guided Food Loopers Food Trail Meeting at Carrigaholt Outside Pier car park at 12am, come hungry. booking 0864099624, €25pp. Exploring the hidden gems which helped Loop Head to the finals of the Top 10 Foodie Towns in Ireland. Sample some tasty seafood treats at Sealyons Seafood and enjoy a filleting lesson from the experts. A trip to Brid Hettermans market garden Rahona roots. Tea and cake at Glencarrig Farmhouse bakery. Wild food foraging with the Long Way Round Guided walks.

Dolphinwatch Seafood Cruise – time to be confirmed. Dolphin and Nature Boat trip including delicious seafood supper served with a glass of wine. €60pp, €100 per couple. Booking essential contact 0659058156 Gala Seafood Buffet – arrive at the Long Dock to enjoy a bountiful display of fish and shellfish. The Gala buffet is always a fantastic event. Booking is essential 0659058106 Price €50pp (alternative menu available).

Sunday 21st September: 

Artisan Food and Craft Fair in Carrigaholt village 10am-4pm – Over 20 local stall holders will be attending with a range of locally produced crafts and delicious home made food. John and Sally McKenna will be signing copies of their books “Where to eat and stay on the Wild Atlantic Way” and “Extreme Greens – Understanding Seaweed”.

Cooking Demonstrations and Talks 11am – 4pm

Cooking demonstrations by members of Loop Head Food Circle throughout the day. Talks and demos include Local Seaweed and their uses, developing your Market Garden, Seafood Preparation and fish Filleting!

For more information see: www.facebook.com/seafoodinseptember and www.loophead.ie

Zack

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Mixing Irish Beer Cocktails at the Generator Hostel Dublin

Six months ago, European Bar Tender School launched their Ticket to the World competition offering a once in a lifetime opportunity for two lucky people to explore the possibilities of an international career in bar tending, with rigorous training in a number of cities across 5 months.

 


The European Bartender School (EBS) is the largest and most professional bartending school in the world. Throughout it’s 14-year history they have trained thousands of bartenders to be able to travel the world and work wherever they like. Alternatively, many former EBS students use their skills to comfortably finance their way through college and get to know as many people as possible during their shifts!

 
 
Jesper Rydberg is a 19-year old Swedish national and Skye Burkin, a 21-year old Australian are the two winners of this amazing competition and they will be mixing up some super new Irish Craft Beer Cocktails, with 8-Degrees Brewing, in the Dublin Generator Hostel, Smithfield Square, on Thursday 18th September from 6pm until late!
Jesper Rydberg and Skye Burkin – Mixing 8-Degrees Cocktails in Generator Dublin on the 18th September
The organisers of this yummy event would like to extend
an open invitation to you all to come along for the evening!
 
The two winners of the European Bartender School Ticket to the World competition will be mixing two beer cocktails created especially for the event and for you to enjoy and to vote for. 
 
 
The Beer Cocktail, voted the winner by those present on the evening, will stay on the permanent bar menu at Generator Dublin.
 
Niall d’Arcy is currently a Resident DJ at Hidden Agenda and The Workman’s Club

 

There will be some complimentary drinks and food, a cash bar throughout the night, live music and a performance from Niall D’Arcy from 9pm.

Generator Hostel Dublin, Smithfield Square, Dublin

Looks like the makings of a great night!

Zack
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Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards 2014 Winners Announced

350 guests, entrants, judges and spectators came together last night to celebrate the achievements of Ireland’s best food and drink producers at the Irish Quality Food and Drink Awards (IQFA). Held at the Round Room, within Dublin’s grand Mansion House and 57 products from the North and the Republic of Ireland were awarded the title of IQFA 2014 winners.

The awards were presented by popular TV chef and author Catherine Fulvio who congratulated the winners on their contribution to the Irish food and drink industry. The IQFAs represent a unique collaboration between Food and Hospitality Ireland (formerly SHOP) and the UK Quality Food and Drink Awards, which have been rewarding excellence in food and drink flavours, textures and aromas for more than 35 years. The awards are renowned among multiple grocery sectors and food producers for their trustworthy and rigorous judging process which provides truly honest winners.

TV chef and Author, Catherine Fulvio, hosted the Irish Quality Food Awards event
The awards set out to recognise excellence in product development for food and drink producers, retailers and catering companies in Ireland.

Dunnes Stores and Tendermeats received the prestigious Overall Gold Q for their ‘Simply Better French Trimmed Connemara Hill Rack of Lamb’. The Gold Q is awarded to the one product that stands out among all the other entries and represents “the very best of the best”. Awarded Gold Q Highly Commended was Roll It Pastry’s ‘Sweet All Butter Shortcrust Pastry’.
The Christmas Gold Q was awarded to Dunnes Stores and Wexford Home Preserves for its ‘Simply Better Ham Glaze’.

This year, for the first time, a panel of judges from Musgrave Retail Partners Ireland chose finalists for the Small Producer of the Year Award – designed to celebrate artisanal foods and drink in Ireland and sponsored by SuperValu. ‘On the Pig’s Back Chicken Liver Pâté with Garlic & Brandy’ beat off stiff competition to win the award and will see the range extended across SuperValu stores, as well as receiving significant sales and marketing support from SuperValu. Other finalists included Sweet BBQ Pulled Pork from Jack & Keith Molloy Bros and Scotts Irish Cider from Big Hand Brewing Company.

The Round Room at The Mansion House, Dublin

The Irish Quality Drink Awards were judged in Dublin for the first time this year, with the Irish Quality Drink Award Gold Q given to Aldi Clontarf Classic Blend Whiskey and its supplier Castle Brands Inc, beating Highly Commended Dundalgan Irish Whiskey from Lidl Ireland and Terra. Independent Stout won the Lagers & Ales category, ‘Tempted? Summer Sweet Irish Craft Cider’ from dj’s juice and cider won the Cider category and Lidl Ireland won the Sparkling Wine, Wine and Spirit categories with their Cremant d’Alsace Brut AOC, St. Emilion Gran Cru AOC 2011 and their Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur. Suppliers were S.C.V.B, Union de Producteurs de Saint-Emilion and Terra respectively.

To ensure complete equality within the judging process, the IQFA’s kitchen team of home economists at Dublin’s Institute of Technology prepared all the products as per the supplied manufacturers’ instructions before presenting to the judging panel. Working through each delicious category across two weeks, one session at a time, a judging team of over 70 respected food journalists, chefs, producers, retailers, NPD specialists, cooks and bloggers from across Ireland tasted over 600 products.

Helen Lyons, organiser of the Irish Quality Food Awards 2014

Organiser, Helen Lyons, commented, “Last night was such a success for all involved. The whole process has been fantastic and I’m so proud of our team and the contestants. It’s great to be given the opportunity to truly congratulate those in the food and drink industry that make a difference in our everyday lives and ‘compliment the chef’ so to speak! Well done to all of the winners and commiserations to those who didn’t quite make it – we received an outstanding amount of high-quality entrants, so it certainly wasn’t an easy process.”

The awards are open to all retailers, food producers, wholesalers and food service operators across Northern and Southern Ireland. They are a unique collaboration between Food and Hospitality Ireland and the UK Quality Food and Drink Awards (now in its 35th year) and sponsored by top UK packaging manufacturer, Benson Group as well as Dairymaid, Invest Northern Ireland and MLS Labelling & Printing Systems.

All excess food from the judging was given to The Capuchin Centre for Homeless People, which provides warm food each day and more than 1800 food hampers a week to vulnerable people in Dublin, and FareShare. The table decorations at the awards dinner were provided by www.livingcolours.ie.

The awards repeat last year’s trade media partnership with Retail News magazine, while forming a consumer-media partnership with Easy Food magazine.

For more information visit the website: www.irishqualityfoodawards.com Follow them on Facebook: at www.facebook.com/IrishQualityFoodAwards or on Twitter @IrishQFAs Hashtag #IQFA14

Learn more about The Capuchin Centre for Homeless People here, www.capuchindaycentre.ie.

And so, The Irish Quality Food Awards Winners’ List 2014 is…

Bagged Snacks

Sweet Chilli & Irish Red Pepper Potato Crisps – Keogh’s Crisps

Biscuits – Savoury

Dunnes Stores Simply Better Irish Wholemeal Crackers – Sheridans Cheesemongers

Biscuits – Sweet

Dunnes Stores My Family Favourites Milk Chocolate & Hazelnut Wafer – CKS

Bread – Small Breads and Rolls

Tesco Black Olive Roll – Panelto Foods

Bread – Large Loaves

Lidl Low GI Multiseed Cob – Mannings Bakery

Bread – Morning Goods

Tesco Finest Muesli Bread – Aryzta Bakeries

Bread – Speciality Breads

Four Cheese Loaf – Cuisine de France

Bread – Wheaten and Soda Breads

Toaster Wheaten – Genesis Crafty

Cakes and Morning Goods

Tesco Apple & Blackberry Lattice Bar – Golden Bake

Cereals

Aldi Kavanagh’s Luxury Fruit Porridge with Apple, Raisin & Cinnamon Dusted Cranberries – Stafford Lynch

Cheese

Lidl Irish Extra Mature Cheddar – Dale Farm Dairies

Chocolate and Confectionary

Lidl Irish Chocolate Selection – Lir Chocolates

Christmas Q – Christmas Cakes, Bakery and Desserts

Dunnes Stores 6 Deep Filled All Butter Mince Pies – Sargents Bakeries

Christmas Q – Christmas Chilled, Grocery Ambient, Meat, Fish & Savoury

Dunnes Stores Simply Better Ham Glaze – Wexford Home Preserves

Cold Beverages

Dunnes Stores Simply Better Valencia Orange Juice – Keeling F Juices

Dairy and Milk Products – Butters and Spreads

Dairy Manor Irish Creamery Butter – Town of Monaghan Co-Op

Dairy and Milk Products – Yogurts

Aldi Specially Selected Handmade Farmhouse Raspberry Yogurt – Killowen

Delicatessen – Antipasti

Tesco Pastrami Irish Beef - O’Brien Fine Foods

Delicatessen – Other Deli Counter Products

Musgrave Retail Partners Wiltshire Cured Ham on the Bone – O’ Brien Fine Foods

Desserts and Puddings

SuperValu Signature Tastes Panacotta – Prestige Foods

Fish – Fresh Fish

Burren Smoked Irish Organic Salmon with Seaweed Marinade – Burren Smokehouse

Fish – Fresh Fish Dishes

Lidl Seafood Chowder – Galmere

Food To Go

Tesco Finest Open Salmon Sandwich – Freshways

Free From – Chilled & Savoury

Aldi ‘Has No’ Delicious Soft White Bread – Gallaghers Bakery

Free From – Sweet

Aldi ‘Has No’ Lemon Muffins – Gallaghers Bakery

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Bacon

Dunnes Stores Simply Better Dry Cured Irish Rashers – Callan Bacon

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Beef Steaks

Aldi Specially Selected 28 Day Dry Aged Rib Eye – ABP Cahir

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Poultry

Confit of Duck – Silver Hill Foods

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Sausages, Burgers and Meatballs

Dunnes Stores Simply Better 6 Superior Honey & Mustard Irish Pork Sausages – Arthur Mallon Foods

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Pork, Lamb and Other Joints: Retail Winner

Dunnes Stores Simply Better French Trimmed Connemara Hill Rack of Lamb – Tendermeats

Fresh Meat, Game and Poultry – Pork, Lamb and Other Joints: Catering Winner

Musgrave Wholesale Partners Butchers Select Lamb Rack French Trim – Kepak

Fresh Produce – Fruit

SuperValu Fruit Salad Mix – Freshcut Foods

Fresh Produce – Salad

Tesco Finest Irish Piccolo Cherry Tomatoes – Jim O’Rourke

Fresh Produce – Vegetables

Easy Cook 7 Minute Baby New Potatoes – Keogh’s

Frozen Food – Savoury

Aldi Specially Selected Irish Beef Quarter Pounders with Cheddar Cheese and Sweet Chilli – Kepak

Frozen Food – Sweet

Roll It Sweet All Butter Shortcrust Pastry – Roll It Pastry

Grocery Ambient – Savoury

Honeyed Fig, Rhubarb & Chilli Savoury Jam – Irish Bee Sensations

Grocery Ambient – Sweet

Lidl Blackcurrant and Rum Jam – Abbey Farm Foods

Hot Beverages – Coffee

SuperValu Signature Tastes Colombian Supremo Coffee Beans – United Coffee

Hot Beverages – Other

Aldi McGrath’s Reserve Blend Tea – Robert Roberts

Pizzas

Pizzado – Choice Pizza

Ready Meals

SuperValu Signature Tastes Lamb Tagine – Ballymaguire

Sauces and Salad Dressings

Vine Tomato & Jalapeno Pasta Sauce – The Scullery

Seasonal Occasions

Aldi Luxury Irish Chocolates

Side Dishes

SuperValu Signature Tastes Braised Red Cabbage – Ballymaguire

Soups

Lidl Cream of Tomato Soup – Princes

Value Q

Dunnes Stores My Family Favourites Strawberry Jam – Histon Sweet Spreads

SuperValu Small Producer of the Year Award Winning a listing with SuperValu:Chicken Liver Paté with Garlic & Brandy – On The Pig’s Back

Ales & Lagers

Independent Stout

Independent Brewing Company of Ireland

Cider
Tempted? Summer Sweet Irish Craft Cider – dj’s juice and ciderSparkling Wine
Lidl Crémant d’Alsace Brut AOC – S.C.V.B

Spirits – Liqueurs and Speciality Spirits
Lidl Deluxe Irish Cream Liqueur – Terra

Spirits – Whiskies
Aldi Clontarf Classic Blend Whiskey – Castle Brands Inc

Wine
Lidl St. Emilion Gran Cru AOC, 2011 – Union de Producteurs de Saint-Emilion

The Gold Q Awards

Drink Gold Q
Aldi Clontarf Classic Blend Whiskey – Castle Brands Inc

Christmas Gold Q
Dunnes Stores Simply Better Ham Glaze – Wexford Home Preserves

Overall Gold Q
Dunnes Stores “Simply Better” French Trimmed
Connemara Hill Rack of Lamb –  by Tendermeats

There you go!  A varied and diverse mix of Irish Quality Food products received awards tonight, so get out and have a look for them in your local shop, tomorrow!

Zack

 

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Euro-Toques launch search for Ireland’s Young Chef of the Year 2014

The search has officially begun to find Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2014.

The most coveted culinary title in Ireland will this year focus on the theme “No Chef is an Island” and asks young chefs to embrace all the influences associated with their gastronomic adventures in the kitchen. 23 rising Irish culinary stars (including Neven Maguire in 1994) have held this coveted title since the competition began in 1990.

The overall talented winner will receive an all expenses paid stage, at the world-renowned The Square London, where they will work under the direction of two star Michelin chef Philip Howard – this year’s guest judge.

Guest Judge, 2 Michelin Star Chef Philip Howard of The Square Restaurant in London

Young professional chefs between 18-26 from any catering background can enter online via www.youngchef.ie. Entry closes on Tuesday, September 30th at 12 noon. Candidates will later be notified if they have made it to stage two of the competition.

Euro-Toques Ireland is looking for three key ingredients when selecting candidates:

  • a passion for Irish produce and food heritage
  • outstanding cooking talent
  • the ability to showcase their creations as a sharing experience.

Ireland’s top 5 young chefs will compete for the title at a culinary skills test Final, on Sunday 23rd of November, in Dublin and will cook for guests at an exciting event that evening where the winner will be announced.

Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year 2014, in association with Fáilte Ireland and industry sponsor La Rousse Foods, is the perfect launch-pad for a fresh young chef to walk in the footsteps of Ireland’s most recognised culinary artists such as Myrtle Allen, Ross Lewis, Kevin Thornton or Derry Clarke.

The Euro-Toques Ireland judges are looking to be enthralled this year by exciting tastes, interesting traditions and refreshing experiences.

The 2013 Young Chef winner Mark Moriarty will be one of this year’s judges

Successful candidates will be involved in a number of competition stages and events between now and the end of November and will be judged by some of Ireland’s most respected chefs including Wade Murphy, President of Euro-Toques Ireland, Domini Kemp.

The 2013 winner, Chef Mark Moriarty, will also be judging. Mark, in his role as Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year has cooked at Taste of Dublin, Electric Picnic and events in Paris and Boston this year. Mark is currently teaching in Cooks Academy having previously worked in The Greenhouse Restaurant.

Chef Wade Murphy, President of Euro-Toques Ireland

Speaking at the launch Wade Murphy, President of Euro-Toques and proprietor of Restaurant 1826 Adare, said: “Sourcing of top quality local and seasonal food is at the core of what Euro-Toques is about and that will always be there, but we also need to start recognising the huge culinary talent that exists in this country and that is creating a really exciting food scene across Ireland. I feel very passionate about passing on knowledge and skills to the next generation of chefs and nurturing their raw talent and ability – that is what the Euro-Toques Young Chef of the Year is all about.”

Helen McDaid, Food Tourism Manager at Failte Ireland

“Ireland has long been recognised for the beauty of its landscapes, the buzz of its cities, and the warmth of its people” said Helen McDaid, Food Tourism Manager at Failte Ireland. “Now visitors are coming for its food and drink too. Ireland’s culinary reputation is growing both at home and abroad and so it is important to continually seek out young chefs who champion Irish cooking and nurture their talents. Fáilte Ireland is delighted to be involved with the Euro-Toques Young Chef for a third year as it provides the opportunity to identify and celebrate this new wave of inspired chefs who represent the future of Irish cuisine.”

This year’s Industry Sponsor is La Rousse Foods

Closing date for entry is September 30th 2014 at 12.00 noon.

Watch & Share this Euro-Toques Young Chef 2014 Promo Video HERE

For more information on the competition and details on entry log onto www.youngchef.ie
Follow Euro-Toques on Twitter @eurotoquesirl and check the #youngchef14 hashtag

Zack.

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Failte Ireland announce Ten Top Tourism Towns in Ireland 2014

Fáilte Ireland has just announced their shortlist of the “Ten Top Tourism Towns in Ireland” which have been selected for the 2014 Tourism Towns Award. The shortlist was announced as part of the National Tidy Towns Awards, which were held in The Helix, Dublin, today.

The shortlisted towns are:

Ardmore, Waterford [small town]
Carrick on Shannon, Leitrim [small town]
Glengarriff, Cork [small town]
Kinsale, Cork [small town]
Lismore, Waterford [small town]
Portmagee, Kerry [small town]
Killarney, Kerry [large town]
Cobh, Cork [large town]

Westport, Mayo [large town]
Kilkenny, Kilkenny [large town]

As part of their shortlisting, the selected towns have already been subject (over the last few weeks) to a series of unannounced inspections from a crack team of independent ‘secret shoppers’ who visited each location and assessed the quality of visitor experience to be had.

The Tourism Town Award focuses on how participating towns have developed their local area in the following key tourism areas:
• Sense of Place – How the town tells its own unique story to visitors, what’s special about it and what distinguishes it from other towns.
• Tourism Experiences – What the town has to offer visitors.
• Local Involvement in Developing Tourism- How the local community works together to provide an authentic visitor experience.
• Development and promotion of the town – How the town takes a unified approach to marketing and developing the town into a “tourism town”.

Welcoming the shortlist, Minister of State for Tourism & Sport Michael Ring emphasised the important premise behind the Award scheme: “This award is all about recognising those Irish towns, villages and communities which are putting their weight behind tourism and working hard to make their town even more attractive for tourists. I hope that the towns and villages shortlisted today will be an inspiration for other communities around Ireland”.

Fáilte Ireland - National Tourism Development Authority logo

Fiona Buckley from Fáilte Ireland, speaking at the launch today said, “This award provides a tangible recognition of those magic ingredients which give the Irish welcome a unique advantage – people, place and passion.”

Two overall winners will ultimately share the ultimate accolade of Ireland’s top Tourism Town, one for the best large town and the best small town, when the winners are unveiled in November by Fáilte Ireland following further assessments from the independent panel of judges.

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