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A Taste of Donegal Chairpersons Message 2019

It’s absolutely worth making the journey North to visit “The Coolest Place on the Planet” by National Geographic and “The most beautiful County in Ireland” by the popular website ‘” Ireland Before You Die” situated along the starting point of the Wild Atlantic Way. It has the best of everything that Ireland has to offer first class hospitality in Award Winning Hotels, unspoilt wild and wonderful scenery, outdoor attractions and pursuits, warm welcomes and Craic!!

A very warm welcome awaits you in Donegal Town when you discover the biggest hidden gem and Premier Food Event that is A Taste of Donegal 2019. As we approach our 11th year this has become the must attend Food Extravaganza Party of the North West equally rivalling the major Food Events on the Island of Ireland.

From humble beginnings we now attract Food Lovers from all over the world to our beautiful tented village on the Pier in Donegal Town with the backdrop of the Blue Stack Mountains and the Atlantic Ocean.

This year’s Festival has once again gathered together Top Restaurants, Hotels, Food and Drink Providers. With an excess of 130 exhibitors, over the course of the weekend you can taste and purchase some of the finest food and drink available from all over the island.

As I prepare our 11th event Chairpersons message we are almost at full capacity with an ever-expanding waiting list of exhibitors.

Over the weekend we will have premium tutored Whiskey, Gin, Vodka and Irish Liquor Masterclasses with tastings by Sliabh Liag Distillery, Muff Liquor Company, and Coole Swan. New for 2019 a Coffee Roasting Demonstration by Mark Langford Triskele Coffee. Also, Cookery Demonstrations by high profile Celebrity Chefs such as Neven Maguire, Gary O’ Hanlon, Catherine Fulvio, Kevin Dundon, Brian Mc Dermott, Edward Hayden, Oliver Dunne, Joe Shannon & Frank Forde, Maire Dufficey. We will also have our Local Celebrity Chefs, Anthony Armstrong, Christopher Molloy, Martin Anderson, Paul Brady, Chef Influencer Zack Gallagher,Food Enthusiast Pauline Sugrue, Richard and Andrew Mc Kee. Our cookery demonstrations will be hosted by Brian McDermott an award-winning celebrity chef and author from Co Donegal, as well as chef-proprietor of the newly restored Foyle Hotel in Moville.  

Light entertainment over the weekend will be provided by the timeless music of Dean Martin and The Rat Pack performed by the wonderful Adrian Cullen and highly acclaimed and accomplished musician Zara Montgomery. There’s going to be some buzz about when Comedy Dance Walkabout Duo Queen B & Honey Bee from Inyour Space Circus arrive with Loads of attitude and sass, music and stunning dance moves… these 2 are the bees knees… or so they bee-lieve….

Enjoy hilarious side-splitting comedy by Irelands Comical Celebrity Chef Joe Shannon & Comedian Frank Forde in our Cookery Comedy Theatre. Maybe a bit of singing and dancing thrown in!! “Everything in the culinary world that you most probably don’t need to know!!

With over 300 years in entertainment Corvenieo’s will add some innovative and unique visual audio to the event with their Comedy Chef Mascot, Juggling Stilt Walkers and Moving Robots. Off course Mickey & Minnie will make several appearances throughout the weekend to meet and greet young and old. Add in a bit of professional live Children’s close magic with balloons and music by Mr Majestic.

New to this year’s festival we have introduced a Children’s Kids Kitchen Programme which we are excited about with Fun interactive workshops, cookery demonstrations by award winning celebrity chefs, experts on Education, Sustainability, & Biodiversity with some balloon magic and an open Farm.

Also, to celebrate Heritage Week the Committee in association with The local Authority Waters Programme have planned an awareness nature walk around the River Bank in Donegal Town recently enhanced in the hope of nurturing a feeling of protection and appreciation in children and adults for the plants and animals in thishabitat. This will be conducted by Aengus Kennedy of Nature North West.


We will once again be seeking out the best Chef in the area with our now coveted “A Passion to Inspire 2019 Competition”. The contestants will be tested by a world class judging panel led by our very own Anthony Armstrong C- G WAC, Peter Griffiths M.B.E. President, British Culinary Federation, Bob Mac Donald, C – G Master Chefs of Great Britain. It was with great sadness that we had to announce the untimely death of one of our judges Gerard Molly, The American Culinary Federation. Gerard a New York born chef but with strong family roots in the Donegal Town Area will be missed at this year’s event and it is hoped to have a special Chefs Award in Our Passion To Inspire Competition in his memory to celebrate his love of food and his outstanding contribution to A Taste of Donegal Food Festival over the last ten years. This competition attracts entries from all over the North West Region and may I take this opportunity on behalf on the Committee to sincerely thank all the judges for taking time out of their busy schedules to judge this event for us and of course wish the best of luck to all our participating chefs.

Our Exhibitors will also be scrutinised over the Festival weekend with two competitions. The most attractive stand will be judged by The Local Enterprise Office and the best product will be judged by Bord Bia, LYIT Killybegs and Dave Lang Butcher Magazine. Once again good luck to all in these competitions and many thanks to our judges.

This year’s Festival opens on Friday 23rd August at 4pm. The Official Opening will take place at 7 pm and our MC for the evening will be TV3’s Star and General Manager of Harvey’s Point Country Hotel, Mr. Noel Cunningham. Brian McDermott an award-winning celebrity chef and author from Co Donegal, as well as chef-proprietor of the newly restored Foyle Hotel in Moville will perform the Festival Opening. Music will be by Adrian Cullen “The Dean Martin Tribute Show” This will be followed immediately by our first demonstration of 2019 by Gary O’ Hanlonaccompanied by Eoin Murphy Entertainment Editor The Irish Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday after which there will be a Wine Pairing Masterclass by Wine Expert & Sales Director Eoin Murphy Wines Direct. We are delighted to be partnered with Wines Direct for this Food & Wine Pairing Extravaganza at our Chefs Table for 2019.

The night will conclude with a fantastic Fireworks Display over Donegal Bay.

On behalf of the Committee I would like to thank all our loyal Sponsors, Financial Contributors, Donegal Local Enterprise Office, An Garda Siochanna, Donegal County Council, Fáilte Ireland, Bord Iasciagh Mhara, Donegal Local Development CompanyThe Media, Volunteers and anyone who helped to bring this project to fruition.

A Taste of Donegal is truly a food lover’s dream and will showcase Donegal Town and the surrounding area as a region of high-quality restaurants and hotels with avibrant and growing Artisan Food Production Family. So why not put us on your to do list for August 2019. All that is left for me to say is come along and tantalise your taste buds and as our caption says, “Discover, Dine and Delight in Donegal Town” over the Festival weekend and indeed every time you visit the region.

All relevant information about this year’s event is contained in this website or follow us on Facebook which is being constantly updated.

Ernan Mc Gettigan


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