1 Sligo town, Co Sligo

What makes Sligo such a fantastic destination is the culture that goes hand in hand with the food experience. Explore the countryside, beaches and towns while enjoying local artisanal producers, farmers markets, restaurants and pubs. This is made easy with the Sligo Food Trail, a network of producers that offer food and drink experiences while you’re simultaneously immersed in local scenery. Indulge in Knocknarea honey, wild Mullaghmore lobster, Lissadell oysters, and fresh eggs from Benbulben Mountain.

Sligo town’s array of restaurants and cafés is extensive, including newly opened Afro-Caribbean restaurant, Funké. Plus, a stop in Sligo is never complete without a visit to Shell’s Café in Strandhill.

2. Free range chicken with lemon, garlic and chilli glaze. Percy French gastropub, Newcastle, Co Down.

2 Newcastle, Co Down

Nestled at the foot of Slieve Donard – the highest of the Mourne Mountains – where it meets the sea, Newcastle is picturesque.

The Co Down town has views of not only the mountains, but the Northern Ireland coastline and forests too. Plus, the town is bustling with restaurants, bars and cafés. You’ll have your pick to eat in local favourites such as Great Jones for a casual dining experience; Villa Vinci for classic Italian cuisine; The Percy French for quality gastropub grub; Graphite or Brunel’s for contemporary Irish dining, and for comforting homemade food, there is the Savoy Café. With provenance of high importance on the menu locally, you can also visit producers in the area, like award-winning chocolatiers Neary Nógs and Mourne Dew Distillery and Spirit Experience.

3. Slane Irish Whiskey.

3 Slane, Co Meath

While Slane Castle may have put the town on the map for its concerts over the years, it also draws lots of visitors for its picturesque streets, countryside and vibrant food scene.

Part of the Boyne Valley Flavours food network region, there are lots of ways to whet your appetite in Slane. Try Inside Out for casual Mediterranean bites; George’s Patisserie for delicious pastries and treats; for classic Irish food there is the Conyngham Arms Hotel; and Brabazon Restaurant in Tankardstown Hotel delivers a finer dining experience. Plus, consider a tour and tasting in Slane Distillery to educate you on Irish whiskey (for over 18s, of course) or perhaps glamping in Rock Farm.

4. Dead Centre Brewing Athlone, pizza.

4 Athlone, Co Westmeath

The gateway to the midlands and the River Shannon, Athlone not only provides lots of options for dining and nights out, but you could cruise your way onto Ireland’s main waterways there too.

Athlone is home to what is said to be Ireland’s oldest pub, Sean’s Bar, and is definitely a spot not to be missed on your trip there. Others include Flannery’s, The Snug Bar and Dead Centre Brewing, where you can try out a local brew and pizza.

Award-winning Thyme Restaurant and The Fatted Calf are two institutions of great food. Al Mezza is a popular Lebanese restaurant while Kin Khao serves up great Thai food. Two cafés we love to visit for good food, coffee and chats are Loaves & Fishes and Beans & Leaves.

5. Momo Restaurant, Waterford.

5 Waterford city, Co Waterford

Waterford city has so many experiences, from historical to cultural, and culinary too. One of my favourite things to do is stroll around the city centre checking out Waterford Walls — large-scale murals created for the street art festival held annually in the city.

In-between seeing murals, stop off in spots for coffee, such as Trade, Arch and Blackfriars or Phoenix Yard street food market for an on-the-go quick food stop with a variety of vendors from vegan to Tex Mex. Café favourites include Italian Piadina, for authentic Italian street food including its famous flatbread, Piadina; Bishop’s Palace Café, a great spot beside the Museum of Treasures, and Gallweys Chocolate Café. Restaurants include The Old Couch Café, where you’ll be taken on a culinary journey.

Momo is renowned as one of the best family-friendly restaurants in the country; and Peppers Indian restaurant is worth a visit. And make sure to stop off at The Stable Yard Food Hall and Ardkeen.

6. Curracloe Beach, Rosslare Strand.

6 Wexford town, Co Wexford

The east coast, in particular Wexford, draws many visitors during summer months with Curracloe Beach, Rosslare Strand, Kilmore Quay and Fethard providing seaside fun. Seafood is obviously going to dominate menus and for good reason with fresh Irish-caught seafood available. La Côte Seafood Restaurant is probably the best example of this, where you’ll find contemporary cuisine with a European influence.

Wexford also has a wealth of other types of producers so expect to see lots of provenance on menus in general and those national treasures that are Wexford strawberries, when they are in season. Two other must-visits are Table Forty One, offering a fine dining experience but without the fuss, and Westgate Design Centre is a great spot for lunch and coffee with gorgeous home baking to boot.

7. The Bunratty Inn, Schull, Co Cork

7 Schull, Co Cork

When it comes to gastronomic locations in Ireland, it doesn’t get much better than West Cork. Each town has its own individual character but there is something very special about Schull.

Home to one of Ireland’s most legendary farmhouse cheeses, Gubbeen, it is also a great place to enjoy good food and craic. Sitting outside of a local café or pub here, enjoying food, people watching and scenery is so satisfying. Although perhaps not as fun as plunging into the sea on the coastline nearby. The Bunratty Inn is one of its most famous pubs and their chowder is infamous, or Hackett’s has just as much charm and a great trad session to boot.

8. Pot Duggans, Ennistymon, Co Clare

8 Ennistymon, Co Clare

A beautiful market town in the west of Ireland, Ennistymon has become a haven of great food and craic. Plus, its proximity to Lahinch Beach and the Wild Atlantic Way means there is a good anchor spot to explore the region.

Highlights to add to your list include the Market House — a butcher, gourmet delicatessen, food hall and café. Meanwhile, Byrnes restaurant has one of the prettiest views from its outdoor terrace looking out over the river and serving delicious homecooked fair; An Teach Bia is a cosy and friendly spot to enjoy an afternoon; Oh La La café has classic French crêpes on the menu; and The Cheese Press is a speciality grocery and organic café. Pot Duggans is a very cool spot for pints and food and their summer dinner series sees Ireland’s best chefs pop-up for special events.

9. Keatings Bar, Kilbaha, Loop Head, Co Clare.

9 Loop Head, Co Clare

Driving around Loop Head Peninsula is like that postcard image people have of Ireland, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean with stunning scenery and sparse population.

It lives up to the postcard and gives us more because the local food scene is something to write home about too. In particular, the local shellfish — oysters, lobsters, crab and crayfish, but you might also see mussels, periwinkles and seaweed on menus. The Long Dock in Carrigaholt is a must-visit to enjoy the local hospitality and great food and drink; other spots include Myles Creek, The Diamond Rocks Café, Lir Restaurant and Harris’s Bar. They are all in Kilkee town, where you can set off from on a cliff walk nearby. Keatings Bar in Kilbaha is the nearest bar in Ireland to New York as it sits on the very edge of the bay. You’ll be blown away by the views.

10. Browns of Bond Hill, Derry.

10 Derry city, Co Derry

Perfect for a weekend city break, Derry is a gem when it comes to food and drink; it is brimming with choice. On the shores of the River Foyle, it’s a city full of history, tradition, and vibrancy.

While you can enjoy much-loved local delicacies like Doherty’s Meats pork sausages and sweet cream horn pastries, you’re also going to see trendy food trucks, bistros, and breweries. Notable mentions are Pyke ‘n’ Pommes; Michelin-recommended Browns of Bond Hill; and Brøn, the chic Scandinavian coffee shop and restaurant — a great spot for brunch, lunch or just coffee. Artis restaurant focuses on modern Irish food in a fine dining experience; Soda and Starch Pantry & Grill is a great outdoor dining spot; and in Mekong you’ll think you’re eating food in Bangkok or Hanoi. Walled City Brewery is also a unique food and drink experience. CL