Hugh and Bridget Mulhare, Mulroy Bay Mussels
Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Ireland’s Seafood Development Agency and Fáilte Ireland, have announced that the ‘Taste the Atlantic- a Seafood Journey’ trail, which was piloted in parts of the West of Ireland over the last two years, will now expand to run along the entire Wild Atlantic Way route.
The immersive visitor experience will offer a platform to showcase 22 of Ireland’s exceptional seafood producers from the Inishowen Peninsula at the top of Donegal right down to Oysterhaven Bay in Cork. The announcement was made on the closing day of Seafest, Ireland’s national maritime festival, which saw 100,000 people descend on Galway over the last three days.
The ‘Taste the Atlantic’ seafood trail will offer visitor attractions designed to highlight Ireland’s seafood and coastal heritage while encouraging consumers to develop an appreciation about how our seafood is caught and farmed. Features include experiencing seafood caught by local fishermen direct into port; oyster tasting fresh from the water; learning about the craftsmanship involved in producing fresh shellfish; and how traditional smoking methods can incorporate local flavours such as Donegal turf and Burren oak.
According to a report issued by BIM earlier this week, Ireland’s seafood industry is estimated to be worth €1.1 billion with 11,000 people employed directly and indirectly by the sector around the coast.
Speaking at the launch of the extended trail, Jim O'Toole, Chief Executive Officer of BIM said, “The clean and clear waters along our Atlantic coast provide ideal conditions for cultivating excellent fish and shellfish which have contributed to the growth of many exceptional family seafood businesses right along the western seaboard. While these producers may already be experiencing success on the export market, the ‘Taste the Atlantic’ trail along the Wild Atlantic Way links the product with the people and the place allowing visitors to celebrate the cultures, customs and traditions which have developed over centuries in these coastal communities where there are such strong links to the sea.”
The seafood journey will also be supported by local restaurants and cafés where fresh, locally caught and farmed produce can be sampled overlooking the sea. Seafood products available along the trail include the finest Irish rock oysters, rope-grown mussels, clams, organic salmon, trout, mackerel and herring; and the shellfish delicacy, abalone.
Sinéad Hennessy, Fáilte Ireland said, “The expansion of the ‘Taste the Atlantic’ seafood trail only serves to reinforce the success businesses along the Wild Atlantic Way have been experiencing since the inception of the route. Food plays a leading role in the visitor experience and the ‘Taste the Atlantic’ Seafood trail delivers the Wild Atlantic Way on a plate to visitors ensuring they have unforgettable memories they can take home with them. Now that the trail has extended to the full length of the route even more businesses in these coastal communities will be able to reap the rewards of the Wild Atlantic Way and we are delighted to be part of that success.”
The ‘Taste the Atlantic’ seafood trail will be marked by a number of signposts in key viewing areas along the Wild Atlantic Way route. BIM and Failte Ireland are also planning to build on the success of visitor attractions along the route such as the Oyster Exhibition at Lissadell House in Sligo with another display on the history of oysters in Ireland opening in July at the Doagh Famine museum in Donegal and a Mussel House in Kenmare.
The seafood producers featured in Donegal are: Crocknagee Oysters, Clonmany; Mulroy Bay Mussels, Buncrana; The Haven Smokehouse, Carrigart; Irish Premium Oysters, Lettermacaward; Bluestack Seafood, Donegal
For a full list of producers on the trail, visit www.bim.ie/tastetheatlantic . A ‘Taste the Atlantic’ brochure and map are also available to download.
For further information visit www.bim.ie.