Foodie Destinations is an initiative by the Restaurants Association of Ireland which celebrates Ireland’s unique and wonderful food offerings and encourages local food tourism initiatives across the country. The ‘Foodie Destinations 2018’ competition will see towns, villages, regions and communities from all over the country battle it out to be named Ireland’s top destination for a foodie experience.

‘Destination’ refers to a region. The Restaurants Association of Ireland along with their independent judges will determine if exceptions can be made or if an applicant cannot qualify as a destination – for example Dublin as a whole city could not be considered as there are so many different areas within which could qualify. The Burren – although considered a large region – does qualify because they work together to market themselves as a singular food destination. Small towns and villages are spread out over the sparse landscape but combine to offer the same values when it comes to food tourism and use of the land.

This year, not only will there be a ‘Foodie Destination’ winner, there will also be the addition of a new category ‘Foodie Town’. This new category refers to both towns and villages. Tourism or vacationing should be a primary component of the local culture and economy. These towns offer a stand-alone, unique food and tourism visitor experience which does not expand out to the surrounding areas.

The winner will be a destination that actively promotes itself through joint promotional activities such as food festivals, gourmet trails or farmers’ markets as well as great dining experiences for locals and visitors alike. They will have established a local producer/supplier network which is utilised and promoted by local businesses. Plans for future growth and investment into the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by the judges. Education, training, development and employment will be key components of the ultimate food Foodie Destination.

Communities across the country are urged to get involved and work with local businesses, foodie groups, Chambers of Commerce and other working groups to submit their applications and promote their area to both local people and visitors. There are 10 finalists, chosen from the applicants, who will receive a visit from our judges. Online voting also takes place which counts for 50% of the overall score.

Collaboration is vital for the success of any community based project, and will mean the difference between the winner and runners-up of the ‘Foodie Destinations 2018’ competition. The more people that work together on this project, the greater the potential for prosperity and progress.

Last year, West Cork proved to be the top Foodie Destinations for 2017.  CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, presented the award to an elated bunch of West Cork representatives. He commented, “It was incredible to see the high calibre of applications for this year’s Foodie Destinations. As food tourism grows in popularity – it is great to see so many places putting local food at the forefront of the visitor experience and like West Cork, enhancing their offering year on year. I would like to congratulate West Cork as winners of the 2017 Foodie Destinations award which is sure to further boost their profile as an outstanding food destination.

The winner will be announced on the 29th of August 2018

Applicant destinations and towns can download and complete the application form here:

Click Here for Application Form