Galway County – European Area of Gastronomy 2018.

In 2018 Galway became a European Region of Gastronomy and will be the first region in Ireland to be awarded the honour of this designation. The official award ceremony was held in Aarhus, Central Denmark in August 2016 , the first region in Ireland to receive this designation. The award was presented by Phil Hogan, European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Gastronomy is defined as the relationship between culture and food and nothing would define food in Connemara  more than the reliance in Connemara on locally sourced ingredients coming from farms, fishermen and local food producers. This has resulted in some very interesting restaurants and eateries developing in the Connemara area and some wonderful and unique styles of cooking.

A Short Food Ramble Through Connemara:

Here is a tour of few eateries in Connemara, chosen to show the variety and quality of the food, particularly seafood, in the area.

Blackberry Restaurant Leenane

Blackberry Restaurant LeenaneRight in Leenane village at the top of the Killary Harbour the Blackberry is at the heart of mussel country, mussels are farmed in the pristine waters of the Killary, and there is nothing better to pass the afternoon than their huge pot of mussels and a glass of flinty white wine.


The Misunderstood Heron, Killary Harbour

misunderstood heron

Alongside the road and overlooking the Killary Harbour is one of the most interesting food trucks that you are ever likely to see, in business since Easter 2017 “The Misunderstood Heron” has a menu to interest and  satisfy. Serving Lamb from the Killary sheep farm, Local smoked salmon and of course Killary mussels results in a food journey that is measured in yards rather than miles.
Check their Facebook page for details.

Paddy Coynes Bar Tully Cross

Paddy Coynes Pub is a beautiful traditional pub set in Tullycross, on Renvyle Peninsula, Connemara.
The pub is perfect for anyone looking for a good pint. This pub is where the Idea for the Connemara Mussel Festival began, and Gerrard Coyne has been a driving force behind the festival for the last 13 years. Every May bank holiday weekend natural seafood and local produce is celebrated in Tully Cross as this festival brings families and friends together.
The menu in this cosy pub reflects this commitment to locally sourced and fresh produce and seafood, with local lamb, Killary Bay Mussels and Connemara smoked salmon featuring very highly, and for this reason they have received a number of prestigious awards including Galway Pub of the year at the Connaught regional Irish restaurant awards 2017 , Best Traditional Gastro Pub in Ireland 2018, “Yes Chef” Seafood Restaurant of the year in Connacht, and a certificate of Excelence from Tripadvisor.

Veldons Seafarer Bar Letterfrack

Veldons SeafoodVeldons is a popular bar in Letterfrack that has evolved over the years to cater for a busy lunchtime trade and the demand for good food in the evenings in the village which is both a popular tourist destination a lively local centre and a busy outpost of Galway University.  If it swims they have it on the menu, and their menu features oysters, callamari, crab and mussels to entice anyone to indulge a taste in seafood.


Olivers on Cleggan Pier

olivers bar and restaurantIf you stay in the Cleggan or Claddaghduff area you will certainly end up in Olivers Bar. Olivers is a family friendly bar that has a great pint of Guinness and a great menu. Nooreen and Peter Higgins own the bar, and Nooreen’s brother, Cathal , owns Kings of Connemara, who buy and sell shellfish from the local fleet literally at the doorstep of the pub so there is  always a plentiful supply of fresh shelfish. The crab salad in Olivers is legendry and the portions generous. A great smoked mackerel platter and superb fish and chips add to the appeal of a great seafood menu.

Mitchells Restaurant Clifden

Mitchells restaurant is a modern Irish style of restaurant having a very real focus on local food, relying on nearby fishermen to source their fish and seafood and supplying their meat from local butchers. Recommended by the Bridgestone Guide, Georgina Campbell and a member of the BIM Seafood Circle Mitchells is a dining experience not to be missed. Although the emphasis is on local fish from sustainable sources there is also meat dishes such as Bacon and Cabbage Mitchells Style, and much of the menu has an Irish twist such as black pudding
or colcannon (potatoes mashed with kale ) combined with scallops or monkfish.  It has to be said that Clifden has a good number and variety restaurants and the healthy competition ensures a very high standard throughout, so it is well worth exploreing.

O’Dowds Bar Roundstone

odowds chowder
Last but not least O’Dowds is a family run bar and restaurant in the fishing village of Roundstone. The restaurant has thrived over the years and has a varied and interesting menu. The pub won “Pub of the Year” in 2017 , being very popular with locals and visitors alike. There is lots of great food here, but one of their dishes stands out and is known all over the world as a favourite. Long journeys have been made to sample it. O,Dowds Seafood Chowder has had a unique place in food history going back more than twenty years as being the best you will taste.