From food festivals to foodie tours to hooking up with artisan food producers, there are many ways to taste and savour the excellent local produce – and one of the most interesting is to visit a traditional farmers market.
Among the biggest and the best is the Milk Market in Limerick, in the southwest of the island.
Located in an award-winning building, which provides shelter against the weather while still retaining an outdoor atmosphere, the historic market, dating back 160 years, is open all year around.
Its three main markets take place at the weekend with smaller markets during the week.
The Friday City Market presents an exciting mix of produce from the finest of artisan foods to fashion and craft surprises.
On Saturday the region’s most famous food market assails the senses with the aromas and colours of fresh, locally grown, quality food and special artisan produce.
It is a haven for gourmands who will find there the very best of produce from great farmhouse cheeses, jams, chutneys, fresh fish, breads, meats and organic fruit and vegetables, to delicious gourmet snacks and freshly brewed teas and coffees.
Sunday’s Riverside Market has something for all the family with a wide range of arts, crafts, clothes, jewellery, antiques, bric-a-brac and curiosities on display, while face painters magicians, jugglers, mime artists and buskers provide an entertaining ambience.
The stalls and shops in the market read like a who’s who of local artisan food, with the likes of the Gourmet Tart Company, Rose Cottage Fruit Farm, Marie Murphy´s Cheese and O´ Driscoll Bros. West Cork Fresh Fish and many others in attendance.
Limerick is the third largest city in Ireland with a long history and a multitude of attractions to suit all interests. At the heart of its medieval district is the impressive 13th-century King John’s Castle.
It is also home to the renowned Hunt Museum and was the setting for Frank McCourt’s best-selling novel Angela’s Ashes.
And having been designated the European City of Sport in 2011 it is also a favourite destination for sports enthusiasts.