Get set for a mouthwatering tour around the south of Ireland.
Travelling with the ocean by your side, discover the distinct flavours and exciting producers that have made East Cork a top destination for food.
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME
Take a break at the Cliff House Hotel in nearby Waterford. It clings to the edge of a ridge overlooking Ardmore Bay, and its Michelin-starred restaurant is a favourite go-to for foodies.
Craft and cookery go hand in hand in the village of Shanagarry, which is as famous for its pottery by Stephen Pearce as it is for its renowned cookery school. It's here that you'll find the world-famous Ballymaloe, which attracts budding chefs from all over the planet to its hallowed kitchens! You can opt for a short weekend course in everything from "Afternoon Tea and Cakes" to "Summer Foraging". But if you prefer to consume rather than create, head over to Ballymaloe House, one of Ireland's best country houses. Here, surrounded by stunning gardens and using the very best homegrown produce, three-course lunches and five-course dinners are served to the delight of guests, many of whom make a weekend stay of it.
Detour to the tiny village of Ballycotton to watch the local fishermen offload their catch, and if you have time, you could take the boat trip to Ballycotton Island Lighthouse. It's worth it for the view alone.
Beach at Youghal
Midleton is your next stop – this small east Cork town has got a big foodie pedigree. Every Saturday, some of the island's top food producers gather for the farmers' market – a perfect place to get the inside scoop on Irish food's next big thing. Meet some of the artisan producers, scoop up some cheese and enjoy the community atmosphere at this unique event. Great restaurants including the acclaimed Sage and the long-standing Farmgate have made Midleton a food destination in its own right, but the town also has a big whiskey heritage and is home to Jameson Irish Whiskey. Drop into the Jameson Experience and take the guided tour of the Old Midleton Distillery or go for the Behind the Scenes Tour with visits to the Micro Distillery, Cooperage and Distiller's Cottage.
Enjoy the ambience of afternoon tea at Castlemartyr Resort – it's a special treat.
Next stop, the English Market in the heart of Cork city. This Victorian gem has been faithfully serving food to the people of Cork for over a century and is a go-to for great cheeses, charcuteries and award-winning patés and terrines. Pay a visit to Frank Hederman for some of the most sublime smoked fish around, before heading upstairs to the Farmgate Café for a gourmet lunch. You'll get a great sense of Cork's esteemed food culture at the intriguing Cork Butter Museum, which traces the industry's history back to its very early days. And if you're looking for somewhere for dinner, you've come to the right place – match craft beers with culinary creativity at Elbow Lane, feast on some of Europe's finest vegetarian food at Café Paradiso or try the seafood delights of the Fish Bar at Electric. An ideal way to end a foodie day? Try a craft beer or stout at the excellent Franciscan Well Brewpub.
Sample the Cork Tasting Trail from Fabulous Food Trails – it's a great way to meet the people who are fuelling Cork's lively food scene.
Embark on a mouth-watering trip into the heart of West Cork, famous throughout Europe for its excellent cheese and gourmet hideouts.
FARMERS' MARKET TREATS
Stop for lunch at Pilgrim's in Rosscarbery, it's a fabulous little spot with a loyal following who flock here for its seasonal, local produce.
Kinsale Harbour, County Cork
English Market, County Cork
Farmgate Cafe in the English Market, County Cork
Need more resources? View our images and videos from across Ireland
Durrus and Macroom
Durrus, a pretty village on the wild, rugged and remote Sheep’s Head Peninsula is home to the Good Things Café and Cookery School. Sample the fish soup or let Carmel Somers teach you how to cook a lobster first-hand. Just outside Macroom, in the heart of the Cork countryside, you’ll find a dairy making Ireland’s first buffalo mozzarella cheese. Toons Bridge Dairy produces a deliciously milky mozzarella, as well as a range of other cheeses, all of which you can sample at their shop and café.
On the way from Durrus to Macroom, stop off in the buzzing town of Bantry, which is famous for its great seafood restaurants and excellent Friday Food Market.
Nestled between two hills, and the rivers Allow and Dallow, the town of Kanturk is surrounded by the type of countryside that has made West Cork such an exceptional producer of cheese. But in Kanturk, the local delicacy is Cork's other famous food hero – black pudding. At McCarthy's traditional butchers in town, Jack McCarthy has created a black pudding that is so exceptional it has won the prestigious old medal from the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Blackpudding.
For over 30 years, Peter and Mary Ward have been promoting the pleasures of good, wholesome cooking at Country Choice delicatessen and café in Nenagh. A must-visit while in the area...
You'll get a great sense of local produce at the apple farm just outside the town of Cahir. This is where Con Traas produces his award-winning Karmine Apple Juice, a blend of Karmijn de Sonnaville and Bramley Seedling apples. Stock up on some of Con’s produce at the farm shop, including cider vinegar and various jams made from fruit grown on the farm. For something delightfully delectable, pop into the Old Conventin Clogheen, a small village outside Cahir. Chef Dermot Gannon’s Irish artisan tasting menu is a love letter to the produce of this region. Savor the Aga Roast Nenagh Hereford Beef Filet or go veggie with Ballyhoura Mushroom Puff Pastry, fondant potato and parsnip purée. Finish off your food trip with a visit to Cahir Castle, one of the largest castles in Ireland. And afterwards? Carry on exploring Ireland's Ancient East, for even more adventure...