Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Monday 28 May 2018

Future's bright for the Kilkenny Food Trail

Miriam O'Callaghan (centre) and chefs Anne Neary (left) and Edward Hayden launch the Kilkenny Food Festival
Miriam O'Callaghan (centre) and chefs Anne Neary (left) and Edward Hayden launch the Kilkenny Food Festival

The Kilkenny Food Trail is a worthwhile project that could be replicated in every county across Ireland.

It brings together 29 businesses connected with food, including a wide range of food producers, speciality food shops, restaurants and even Kilkenny's Cillín Hill livestock mart.

Such has been the success of the food trail that there is now a queue of people wanting to join. The food trail came about through a Food Network initiative that was established by the County Enterprise Board two years ago.

The Board is now in the process of developing an iPhone application to help guide people around the trail.

According to one of the members of the food trail, Mag Kirwan of Goatsbridge Trout Farm, the food trail has not only added to sales, but it has also helped producers to showcase their products.

Experience

"It means that when, for example, a school visits, the children go home talking about trout and tell their parents about the experience. It has similarly been a positive experience for other producers on the trail," Ms Kirwan said.

There are also other spin offs for the rural economy, such as Amy McDonald's tour company, www.aruralexperience.com, which sells organised tours for the food trail.

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Amy said that tours to members of the Kilkenny Food Trail have doubled and there is a great local demand for the package.

Amy started her business in 2007 by providing one-day tours of Co Kilkenny to places such as Jerpoint Abbey, Woodstock Gardens and Graiguenamanagh.

She has now expanded to providing custom-made tours, which include a full itinerary and transport across Ireland and Britain.

Amy's one-day food trail package includes visits to Highbank Organic Farm, Knockdrinna Cheese, Goatsbridge Trout Farm, Cramer's Grove Ice-Cream, Lavistown Foods and afternoon tea in Mount Juliet, all for €40.

As part of the Savour Kilkenny Food Festival, Amy is taking bookings for a Kilkenny Food Trail package for Monday, October 25. Bookings can be made by calling 056 772 7590. Visit www.trailkilkenny.ie.

Paul McCarthy

Irish Independent