Kerry holds the heart of so many of us that live in Ireland or love to visit. It is located along the Wild Atlantic Wad rises sharply from sea level to Ireland's highest mountains. I first began visiting County Kerry as a child when we camped or stayed in old stone cottages on local farms, enjoying the amazing scenery, beaches and fresh air. The chowder is second to none, there's a lively music scene in local pubs and you can immerse yourself in nature whether walking the beach or cycling Moll's Gap. County Kerry is the perfect relaxing destination!
The country’s warm climate, unusual for its latitude, makes it paradise for foodies, and the mountains, lakes and shoreline become the perfect backdrop for extraordinary food experiences. Here are some of my favourite food experiences in County Kerry which I highly recommend you try!
The Dingle Food Festival: Famous for its great food heritage, the Dingle Food Festival highlights include cookery demonstrations, over 50 incredible market stalls, workshops, street entertainment, wine tastings, whiskey tastings and plenty of kids events to entertain the little ones! The best way to experience the festival? Get your hands on 'The Taste Trail'. Festival goers can buy a book of taste trail tickets and then visit over 70 venues around Dingle. You can then eat and drink the best food the Peninsula has to offer! Sold yet? www.dinglefood.com
Atlantic Irish Seaweed Foraging Stroll: Join John at historical Derrynane Harbour for a seaweed Discovery and tasting Walk along the shoreline.Enjoy some seaweed nibbles including the flavoursome Duilleasc, which sustained the monks on the Skellig Island which sits 12km way on the horizon and their only international visitors in 600 years – The Norse Vikings! Graze on fresh seaweeds including Sleabhcán, most commonly used as Nori the famous Sushi roll wrapping. Learn about the rich history of seaweed use from gunpowder to medicine and from fire fighting to brewing. Visit an ancient ‘Shell Midden’, an archaeological site that may date back to 8,000 BC. www.atlanticirishseaweed.com
Listowel Food Fair is one of the oldest and most celebrated food festivals in Ireland. It brings together quality food products from all over Kerry. Over the past 25 years, the event has grown in prestige and is now firmly established as one of the premier food fairs on the Irish Calendar. From farm to fork and tide to table, this event brings together local Kerry food that you don't want to miss! www.listowelfoodfair.ie
Kenmare Foodies Tour: Join TV Cook and Irish Food Blogger Karen Coakley for a Walking Tour in one of Kerry’s much loved and best known food towns – Kenmare. Kenmare Foodie Tours is born out of a love for food, Kenmare and the people behind the food, who with such an eclectic mix of backgrounds make Kenmare’s food scene the thriving industry it is today. Artisan food is produced by local shopkeepers and traders alike, from locally roasted coffee to organically grown veg, there is much to explore and even more to taste. www.kenmarefoodies.com
Dinner at Croi Restaurant, Tralee: End your day at Croi Restaurant where they pride themselves on their locally sourced, wild and foraged food. What better way to end the day than by eating a Wild Atlantic chowder or sharing a platter of mussels and scallops. As they say themselves: "When we opened our doors here at Croí, the plan was and is to make people feel like they are at home. Greeting people, seating people and giving them the story behind our creation. Coupled with amazing local food and a good wine and beer list we offer 3 things. Quality of food and service, space and time." www.croirestaurant.com
Kerry Premium Oysters: Join Liam and Breda Hayes on their farm tour for a first-hand insight into creating the perfect oyster. Experience the various steps, equipment and methods used as they nurture oysters from seed; select oysters directly from the sea and try your hand at shucking (opening) them before a tasting under the magnificent Kerry mountains. www.kerrypremiumoysters.ie
Killarney Brewery: Guides at this brewhouse tour are true Killarney characters with in-depth knowledge of the brewing process and a passion for local folklore and history. The hour-long tour includes an introductory film, brewery walk-through with the brewer, beer tasting and storytelling experience. www.killarneybrewing.com
West Kerry Brewery: At the most Westerly brewery in Europe, visitors can soak up the atmosphere of the West Kerry Gaeltacht. Their unfiltered beers reflect the ‘rawness’ of the area’s natural beauty, brewed with natural well water, fresh yeast and native Irish grain. www.westkerrybrewery.ie
Dick Mack's Brewery Tours: Dick Mack’s is one of Dingle’s most historic and beloved pubs; their newly opened brewery, taproom and brewhouse provide groups with a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours. Afternoon tours begin and end in the taproom with a generous sampling of their latest beer. www.dickmackspub.com
The Dingle Distillery: Dingle is famed for its hospitality and Dingle Distillery takes pride in an excellent tour that brings you into the heart of the working distillery. Visitors enjoy a tour of the facility where the entire production process for each product category is explained before a gin/vodka sample is enjoyed. www.dingledistillery.ie
Dingle Cookery School: A lovely mix of food history, demonstrations and hands on cookery giving a deep understanding of Irish food. A welcome with scones and tea, the wonderful aroma of brown bread straight from the oven while learning how to handle and prepare local fish, meat and dessert before sitting down to a wonderful meal. Guided experience and recipes in English and Irish. www.dinglecookeryschool.com
Smokehouse Workshop: A group experience where visitors learn about the smokehouse process from filleting and salting, to smoking, cutting and preservation. The smoking is all done by hand using a traditional oak wood smoker which gives it its authentic taste. The group is then brought over to Con’s Bar and Restaurant on site for a smoked salmon tasting. www.staroutdoors.ie
Treyvaud’s Restaurant, Killarney: Specialising in International cuisine, sample mouth watering delights such as locally sourced succulent Kenmare Bay Scallops, Organic Kerry Beef, Pan Fried Medallions of Venison. For those with pure food indulgence in mind, they can try out their internationally and seasonally inspired small plates. www.treyvaudsrestaurant.com
Have you packed your bags yet? I hope you enjoy a mouth-watering time in County Kerry and all this amazing county has to offer!