Wow: Kilkenny shortlisted in Ireland's top ten 'Foodie Destinations'

Overall winner to be announced following a round of online voting and judges' visits

Kilkenny People


Kilkenny People



Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland and John Reade, Head of Business at FBD Insurance

Kilkenny has been shortlisted in the top ten 'Foodie Destinations 2018', by the Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI).

The ultimate winner of the competition 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. Plans for future growth and investment in the food and hospitality industry at a local level will also be taken into consideration by the judges.

The Top Ten Shortlisted Finalist are:

Boyne Valley
Galway Gastronomy
Mid & East Antrim Borough
Monaghan and Glaslough

The top ten shortlisted towns and destinations will now move on to the second and final stage of the competition. This will include a visit to their individual region by the Foodie Destinations 2018 judges, along with a nationwide public vote.

Entrants are encouraged to campaign within their local vicinity in order to encourage public involvement. The Foodie Destinations judging process will focus on seven key areas to establish a clear winner from the shortlisted finalists.

The judges will be examining whether the entrant offers a unique visitor experience, local knowledge and participation, local producers, promotion, festivals and community events, the prospect of future projects, along with education and training.

The RAI highlight that the purpose of this project is to encourage food tourism initiatives across the country. The judges will look for evidence of an established food culture/identity of the destination and they will assess how the destination collaboratively utilises and promotes this identity.

There are many ways destinations can achieve this - either through special dishes in restaurants that make use of local/unique ingredients to the area or a food festival/food trail. There must be evidence of a calendar of events in the area aimed at promoting local food and drink.

Food festivals, gourmet trails, farmers markets and special dining experiences are some traditional events that are typically seen in a foodie destination. The Association notes that there must also be plans in place to continue to support and develop future food culture in an entrant’s chosen region.

“We are delighted to move forward into the next stage of Foodie Destinations 2018 and this year the standard of competition couldn’t be higher," says  Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the Restaurants Association of Ireland.

"Foodie Destinations is an excellent opportunity for regions across Ireland to promote what makes them unique and the judges can’t wait to see what the ten shortlisted finalists have to show them.”

Online voting begins nationwide next Wednesday, July 25, followed by finalist judges' visits. Online voting for the 2018 competition will end on Tuesday, August 21. The overall winner of Foodie Destinations 2018 will be announced at an event at the end of August.