Christmas Markets in Ireland

Christmas Markets in Ireland

It’s that time of year again – artisans, craft makers and all types of cottage industries are feeling the excitement in the run up to the most important business time of the year. This time of year brings the biggest opportunity to welcome both old and new customers. There’s something magical about Christmas Markets so we’ve come up with a guide to help you support these creative cottage industries across their many varied fields.



Top Tips For Christmas Market Visitors

  • Make sure you have cash, credit cards machines are few and far between
  • Bring your own bags for purchases, recycle, recycle, recycle
  • A pram for small children is advised
  • It’s getting chilly so wrap up warm.
  • If the market has a website or social media page, check it before you go so that you can plan what to look forward to.
  • There’ll most likely be food stalls so make them a highlight of your visit.


Here is a list of just some of the many markets in the west













Strandhill People’s Christmas Market

Sligo Christmas Market



Letterkenny Christmas Craft & Food Fair


baker boys sligo

New Sligo Eatery from the Creators of Award-Winning Shells Café in Strandhill

On Thursday 11 July, Jane & Myles Lamberth, creators of Strandhill’s renowned Shells Cafe open the doors on their exciting new Sligo town eatery.

Baker Boys, Cafe & Deli, located in the heart of Sligo’s working quarter in Finisklin, is designed to be Shells’ urban cousin. A little bit more hip, quick and focused on providing the best experience for those on a quick lunch-break or looking for a great coffee on the run.


As is their style, the core ethos of Baker Boys is to delight with a fresh modern style of interiors and food as well as offering a social, fun and inviting space to take a break from the daily working grind.

With the grab-and-go type of diner in mind, the takeaway service offers awesome barista-prepared coffee, fresh salads, home roast–on-a-roll and a lot more besides.

For clientele with a bit more time on their hands, they have created a beautiful space to sit, relax and be served the most delicious local and seasonal food. 

Baker Boys has a dedicated bakery on-site, so customers can expect the same standard of sumptuous in-house baking they are familiar with from Shells.  Early morning customers will be treated to home-bakes, breads and scones that are still warm and waiting to be eaten. 

Given its location in the heart of Sligo’s IDA Business Park, the new cafe aims to attract clientele from the working district of Finisklin while also attracting people from Sligo town and beyond.

According to Jane “we were especially proud to dip into the brilliant creative local talent that Sligo is now home to. We worked with NOJI Architects, garden designer Leonie Cornelius and graphic designer Trevor Finnegan to achieve our vision for everything from the interior architecture, outdoor space and the beautiful branding”. 

Opening Hours:

Week #1 Opening Hours (11-12 July) Baker Boys opens from 9am-3pm.

From Monday, 15 July, Baker Boys opens Monday-Friday from 7.30am – 5pm and is also set to open on Saturdays for an all-day brunch in the near future.

Follow @bakerboyssligo for updates or visit

galway food tours

A Taste 4 Success with Galway Food Tours

How you too can develop a Food Tour Business in Ireland

The award-winning Galway food Tours is heading back to the classroom this May.  The Galway company in conjunction with Taste 4 Success Skillnet is launching a training programme that will teach you how to Develop a Food Tour Business.

The program of work will cover a range of food and business-related topics. The course will provide an in-depth analysis of what a food tour business is, how it runs and what are the professional and personal traits required to translate the success of the Galway Food Tours business model to other parts of Ireland.

The course will outline the process of setting up a food tour business, it’s operational details, nature the business and opportunities created through the local and national food and beverage scene.

If you have an entrepreneurial like-spirit and have dreamed of starting your own business working with food and people, this is the course for you.

“We are looking for a ‘People Person’ with strong connections, passion and knowledge of local foods, producers and businesses. We are looking for people who have a knowledge of local history, telling stories and who can showcase the Irish Culture,” said Gosia Letowska of Galway Food Tours.

“There are so many elements to running any small business now but with Food Tours is really need to be a good communicator with excellent people skills, able to engage a group of tourists, domestic or international customers. You should have a creative personality, think outside the box and have a flair for business, marketing and social media, “explained Sheena Dignam of Galway Food Tours.

Bridie Corrigan-Matthews of Taste4success said, “This course has been created to attract candidates looking at taking back control of their lives. People who are unemployed, motivated, curious and have a sparkle for adventure who want to get back into the workforce.”

A Taste for success, developing a Food Tour Business will run on 7, 14, 21, 28 May and the 4th June at the Clayton Hotel, Ballybrit, Galway.

This course is fully funded by Skillnet, but there will be an interview process in order to attend. For more information or to book your spot contact Breda on 043 6687289 or email

Leitrim’s Lena’s Tea Rooms wins Bronze at the World Marmalade Awards

Deirdre O’Connell, of Lena’s Tea Room, Carrick on Shannon, Co. Leitrim is celebrating this week as her Pink Grapefruit and Cranberry marmalade won the Bronze Award for “Marmalade for Savoury Food” at the prestigious World Marmalade Awards. The ceremony took place over the weekend at Dalemain Mansion, a stately Georgian home on the outskirts of Penrith, in Cumbria, England.   Founded in 2005 by Jane Hasell-McCosh, the World Marmalade Awards seek to preserve and expand the tradition of making marmalade. The Artisan Awards promote small scale marmalade makers using the open-pan method and the winners were decided by an esteemed panel, which included Pam Corbin (River Cottage) and Dan Lepard (The Guardian). Deirdre was one of two Irish winners of the Artisan section of the awards.

Lena’s Tea Room is a vintage inspired tea room in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. Every Christmas, Deirdre prepares a limited quantity of festive chutneys, preserves and dressings that are sold exclusively in Lena’s Tea Room. For Christmas 2018, Deirdre decided to prepare a Pink Grapefruit and Cranberry Marmalade, following an interesting recipe she discovered. This is only the second time Deirdre has tried her hand at making marmalade.

“I thought The Pink Grapefruit & fresh Cranberry marmalade was a quirky recipe and that it could be lovely for breakfast or could go well with dark meats such as duck or pheasant”, said Deirdre. “As a small business, we can make only small batches and this marmalade is no exception. Before it sold out completely, I reserved two jars to enter into The World Marmalade Awards.   And It was a spur of the moment decision! To win an award is absolutely amazing and a huge honour. This is especially more so as in two weeks myself and my 8 team members – who are the best people to work with – will celebrate 8 years since we first opened the doors at Lena’s Tea Room”, explained Deirdre.

Lena’s Tea Room is a vintage inspired tea room, where all goods are made and baked on a daily basis.  Over the years, Lena’s Tea Room has accumulated numerous accolades, among which Goodall’s Best Scone in Ireland Runner Up – 2015 and Today FM ‘Best Café in Ireland’ – Overall winner – 2014. The Pink Grapefruit & Cranberry Marmalade is available to purchase in Lena’s Tea Room.

Sligo Food Tours Set To Take On The Streets Of Sligo This Summer

  • New 3.5 hour tour will visit 7-8 of Sligo’s most inventive food establishments
  • Led by trailblazing husband and wife duo Hans & Gaby Wieland
  • First tour kicks off on Friday April 12th

Sligo Food Tours, a new venture by Hans and Gaby Wieland, is set to launch this April 2019. With a lifetime dedicated to real food, the husband and wife duo have set up a new tour business visiting Sligo’s most inventive and innovative restaurants and cafes over a 3.5 hour walking tour.

Having moved to Sligo from Germany in 1985, Hans and Gaby have been at the cutting edge of Sligo’s food revolution. Producers of organic vegetables, sourdough breads and artisan farmhouse cheeses for more than 20 years at their organic small-holding Neantog Farm, near Cliffony, they have developed relationships with cafes, restaurants health food and delicatessen shops across the Northwest.

Hans has been at the helm of Leitrim’s Organic Centre for over 20 years, and Gaby has led workshops on everything from fermenting to cheesemaking. Together, they bring their lifetime experience and interest in real, whole food, to new audiences in 2019.

Sligo Food Tours is their latest venture showcasing their favourite food hot spots in Sligo town which has seen an explosion in innovative eateries in recent years. Their main aim is to encourage visitors to experience Sligo’s real food offering, just like a local. They are committed to supporting family-run businesses, Sligo’s unique cultural icons and encouraging visitors to discover the real Sligo.

The first season of dates has been announced, kicking off on Friday, April 12th 2019. The Sligo Food Tour is the perfect opportunity to discover real local insights for the rest of a great trip to County Sligo. All tastings are included in the price of the tour, so all you have to do is relax and enjoy the delicious food experience with expert guides. One can expect to meet the proud personalities behind Sligo food, hear fascinating local stories and gain some insider knowledge on where the food comes from and how it is produced.

Gaby and Hans can’t wait to share their love for food and Sligo;  they will make sure visitors don’t miss any of the delicious treats Sligo has to offer. They only work with independent small family businesses and have selected them for the quality of their offering, their story and relevance to the Irish food scene.

On a gentle 3 to 3.5 hour stroll traversing Sligo town, the tour will visit seven to eight different food businesses and will include a tasting in each place, meeting the owners and food producers. As one enjoys the food, you’ll also learn a little about the culture of Sligo’s lively and charming city from your local guide.

To coincide with the newly launched Cologne to Ireland West flight launching this summer direct into the Northwest, Sligo Food Tours will also be available in German on request. Special group booking rates are also available.

The 3.5 hour tour is priced €60pp plus booking fees and available to book via or through Sligo Tourist Office.

Hans & Gaby Wieland are available for interview. Please call directly: +353 87 902 9893


marine businesses

Marine Industry Businesses – Get Listed in the Marine Institute Directory

La Tene Maps has been contracted by the Marine Development Team through the Marine Institute to
compile a complete Directory on Marine Related Business in Ireland to be delivered in Electronic and
Printed format. If you are a marine related business and you would like to be included in this directory please complete this short 5 minute survey HERE .

This information is required to support the work of the Marine Development Team an initiative of the Government to promote and support the development of marine related business in Ireland. This is laid out in the Government’s integrated plan for the marine industry, Harnessing our Ocean Wealth.

As part of this mission it is critically important that there is a single, complete and updated source of information on:

  1. What are the companies active in Marine Ireland
  2. Where are they and what parts of the marine business are they active in
  3. How can they be contacted

La Tene Maps will compile and produce a printed directory whilst the data from the directory will also be made available for free access online by the Irish Maritime Development Office in early 2018.
To help complete this directory please complete this short 5 minute survey HERE. La Tene Maps will keep you informed about progress about the directory.


strandhill food festival

Airport Takeover For First Strandhill Food Festival

The inaugural Strandhill Food Festival is set to take place in the unique setting of Sligo Airport on Saturday 7th October 2017.

Presented by the team behind the hugely successful Strandhill People’s Market, the event will showcase the very best of local and emerging food companies, as well as attracting some of Ireland’s leading food producers and suppliers to the Northwest. The one-day foodie event will take over Sligo Airport with food demonstrations, live music, kids entertainment and an array of hot food stalls. Taking place at a time usually associated with Harvest time, the first year of the festival will draw a hugely successful summer season in Strandhill to a close.


The Connacht Gold stage will host a full day of demonstrations from local chefs, food bloggers and cookbook authors. The event will welcome food consultant cook and creative Ali Dunworth (; writer, chef and marine scientist, Finn Ni Fhaolain;  presenter and style, beauty, and plantbased blogger, Holly White (; seaweed guru and cookbook author Prannie Rhatigan (Irish Seaweed Kitchen), cafe owner and chef, Carolanne Rushe (Sweet Beat Cafe), food bloggers Nicola Halloran (The Wonky Spatula); Tanya Halloran (The Tiny Vegan Kitchen), and last but not least, wild herb and foraging expert, Gaby Wieland (The Organic Centre and Neantóg Farm).

Upon the announcement of the food festival, Karen McGarty, Aurivo Communications and Brand Manager, said: “Connacht Gold is delighted to team up with the Strandhill Food Festival for its first year; bringing together some of the best tasting food in the west of Ireland. Champions of dairy and with a range of award winning butter products, the Connacht Gold brand has gone from strength to strength, and today is a brand that has something to say; it’s a brand that is different and unique.  With some of the most talented chef’s and unique products originating in the west of Ireland, the Strandhill Food Festival is providing a platform to champion some these tasty treasures, and that is something we are proud to be a part of.”


For the festival, Hangar 1 at Sligo Airport will be transformed into a bustling food hall, hosting up to 30 food stalls from across Ireland. Festival attendees will get to choose from a range of delicious producers including local cafes such as Sweet Beat Café, Shells Cafe and Pudding Row, as well as Shaka Poké, serving Dublins take on the Hawaiian staple the Poke bowl; The Ploughman’s Daughter, serving raclette and cheese plates; and LaLa Poutine food truck, offering hungry attendees the chance to taste delicious French cuisine meats and cheeses melted on fresh chips.

Allan Mulrooney, event co-ordinator, commented: “We are really excited for the first Strandhill Food Festival this October. We’ve been running Strandhill People’s Market at Sligo Airport for over three years now and the launch of this food festival marks the next chapter for events we have planned for the unique space that is Hangar 1. We are fortunate to have secured such a strong line up for our demo stage with a focus on vegan, plant based, paleo, fermentation, and the use of wild herbs and seaweed in our cooking. We want to champion the amazing food scene both here in Sligo and along The Wild Atlantic Way and we’re sure our food offerings will have something for everyone. Set against the backdrop of Strandhill, we are focused on creating a family friendly environment in a really unique space. We’re confident that over the next three years, The Strandhill Food Festival can become one of the biggest family orientated food festivals in Ireland.”

Further information on the festival can be found online at or follow the event on Twitter @strandhillSPM and join the conversation by using #StrandhillFoodfest

Strandhill Food Festival Poster

Minister Ring launches Westport Food Festival 2017

Gala Banquet Taking Place in Westport House

23-25 June 2017

The annual celebration of gastronomy that is Westport Food Festival takes place from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th June 2017. The organisers are promising a programme with something for all ages, from mini chefs right up to fully fledged foodies. Highlight of the busy festival weekend is an exclusive Midsummer Banquet at Westport House. Fittingly Westport House was the location for the launch by Michael Ring T.D. Minister for Regional Economic Development.

“I’m very pleased to launch Westport Food Festival 2017”, said Minister Ring at the launch event, “It has become a stalwart on the town calendar and really shines a light on the exceptional food, producers and chefs in the county. The festival promises to be even bigger and better this year than ever before”.

Midsummer Banquet at Westport House
The festival kicks off on Friday night, 23rd June, with a stunning new event – the Midsummer Banquet in the glorious setting of Westport House. This elegant and exclusive evening will feature a seven course tasting menu, live music and all the trimmings. Numbers are strictly limited to 120 guests and tickets, costing €100 each, will be available through Hotel Westport. Appropriately it is a black tie event, in keeping with the stylish surroundings.

“We’re overwhelmed by the response to our Midsummer Banquet”, said festival chairman Eoin McDonnell (head chef at the Wyatt Hotel), “Demand for tickets is already high and we’re expecting it to sell out very quickly. It’s a once off opportunity to experience Westport House as visitors would have in its heyday”.

Fairgreen Food Village

Once again the Fairgreen is the venue for the busy Festival Food Village on Saturday 24th June. It will be choc a bloc with market stalls and a busy programme of cookery demonstrations and children’s events will run all day in the Festival Marquee. Other attractions include the Fast Food Race, Seaweed and Mushroom Foraging, Gourmet Kayaking with Clew Bay Bike Hire and Gin, Wine and Whiskey Appreciation with Foody Tours.

 The full programme and further details will be available on the website Keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter too, for up to the moment festival updates and foodie information.


Sligo Food Trail

Sligo Food Trail spring into summer with new brochure

Sligo Food Trail has just launched an informative spring brochure in anticipation of the tourist season which traditionally kicks off on St. Patrick’s Day. The A5 glossy production is a catchy combination of useful information, gorgeous photos and a helpful map. It will be available from all 70+ members, from Fáilte Ireland Tourist Information Offices and Sligo Tourism.

Chairman Anthony Gray said, “This brochure is the first of two seasonal brochures which Sligo Food Trail will produce this year. It focuses on the spring and early summer season. The second brochure which we will launch in May, will focus on summer and early autumn”.

The Sligo Food Trail spring brochure is aimed at all visitors to the county with any interest in good food. Apart from a quirky but very usable map, it also highlights some of the more than 30 interactive Food Experiences, combining activities and food on Sligo Food Trail. These encourage people to truly engage with the wonderful landscape and local food making the Trail a really memorable part of their holiday.

Food Experiences are available for adults and families, and sometimes just for the younger foodies like the pizza making workshop for kids. There really is something for everyone from dining in the dark to whiskey, wine or craft beer tastings and from surfing and SUPping to foraging on the seashore or inland. Discover the superfood that is seaweed with an expert guide – and learn how to harvest and cook with it too. Some Experiences are just an hour long, others a full day and several involve overnight accommodation – along with a tour of a deer farm or a chance to find your inner shepherd. Go into the wild outdoors in the caves or megalithic tombs of the Ox Mountains or whet your appetite for adventure, paddling on Lough Talt. Stay indoors and try wood turning, fermenting or jam making. Or sit back, relax and enjoy a traditional afternoon tea in style. They’re really worth checking out.

Sligo Food Trail members are an exciting mix of producers, markets, cafes, restaurants, craft beer, gastro pubs and accommodation scattered all around the county. Many are on the Wild Atlantic Way and others draw visitors inland to discover less known areas of this lovely and fascinating county. Since the Trail was launched just over a year ago, a steady stream of awards has been won by different members. A small sample of the awards:

  • Ethna Reynolds at Nook Cafe in Collooney was chosen as Best Newcomer 2016 by Georgina Campbell.
  • Raw food and vegan eatery Sweet Beat was judged Best Vegetarian Restaurant by the Irish Times in December 2016 and owner Carolanne Rush was a finalist in the Best Young Entrepreneur competition.
  • Eala Bhán starred in the Yes Chef Awards 2017 winning the Rising Star award, Best Chef (Regional), Best Newcomers (Regional & Overall).
  • Hargadon Brothers pub is included in the prestigious Michelin Eating Out in Pubs Guide 2017. Only 32 pubs in the whole country are listed.
  • The Draft House gastro pub in Strandhill are the Bord Bia Just Ask Restaurant of the month for February 2017.
  • The White Hag Brewery was announced as Best Overall Brewery by Beoir.
  • Knox & Pudding featured in Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants.
  • Tra Bán won best Golfers Restaurant Connaught region at the Golfers Guide Annual Awards 2017.

Good food is nothing new in Sligo; in fact the name is derived from ‘Sligeach’ (meaning ‘a shelly place’) from the abundance of fresh shellfish along the coast, rivers and estuaries. In Culleenamore, there is evidence of shellfish being consumed by humans 5,000 years ago. Sligo Food Trail is the best introduction to this food lovers’ paradise, abundant in the fruits of this magnificent landscape and the wild Atlantic, served to you with pride.

Information on Sligo Food Trail is readily available through the website and on social media. #SligoFoodTrail

The project is funded by CEDRA, Dept. of Agriculture, Sligo County Council, LEO Sligo, Food Trail Members, Fáilte Ireland and Sligo Tourism Ltd.

Photo Caption

Two of Sligo Food Trail’s award winning young members, Ethna Reynolds of Nook in Collooney and Carolanne Rushe of Sweet Beat in Sligo Town pictured at the launch of the Sligo Food Trail Spring Brochure. 

Photo: Richard McCarthy Photography


Sligo is a Top 10 Finalist in 2016 Foodie Destinations

Sligo is delighted to be named as one of the 10 finalists in the 2016 Foodie Destinations Competition.

Food Trail member Dervla James from Pudding Row states “Sligo has transformed over the last 2 years. There’s increasing access to homegrown organic foods and people take a wonderful pride in their product here. We’re a small county with a big food community, everyone helps everyone. The food trail is a perfect example, a large group of eateries sharing a platform and supporting one another. There is more variety than ever in Sligo with great Irish food, amazingly fresh seafood, plant based delights, authentic Asian cuisine as well as quality meats, honey and organic ingredients all being produced on our doorstep in Sligo. We’re thrilled to have Sligo shortlisted in the top 10 Food Destinations of Ireland for a second year now. Sligo has proven that it can attract and cater to large numbers from two successful Fleadh Ceoil and the annual Sligo Food Festival. Winning this award would show the people of Ireland and further afield that Sligo is the place to go for a great food experience. So please vote Sligo at“.

The ‘Foodie Town of Ireland’ award recognises a destination that actively promotes itself and is coordinated by the Restaurants Association of Ireland. Last year Sligo town was named best food festival by the acclaimed food writers John and Sally McKenna for the SÓ Sligo Food Festival. Sligo was also runner up in the Eden Project by Fáilte Ireland. Sligo Food Trail work closely with Fáilte Ireland and together with Sligo Tourism looks forward to extending the season campaign, a new initiative by Fáilte Ireland.

Sligo was delighted this year to launch the new Sligo Food Trail Sligo Food Trail treats your palate to an abundance of culinary treasures. You can map your own route to choose the cuisine that you love best. What makes Sligo such a fantastic foodie destination is the culture that goes hand in hand with your food experience. The Sligo Food Trail is a collection of 68 business and growing, which is made up of producers, farmer’s markets and restauranteurs as well as wine and craft beer specialists. Promoting a host of food experiences for the visitor to enjoy from craft beer tour (with tastings of course), a guided seashore walk to identify seaweeds and enjoy lunch on the seashore, to a pizza making workshop for kids. The Sligo Food Trail video brings these food experiences to life, showcasing seaweed harvesting, foraging, afternoon tea treats, bread making, wine tasting and more.

We are looking forward to our visit by the judges in the coming weeks. This assessment will be combined with a national public voting campaign (50% judges/ 50% voting) where the public can choose their winning foodie destination out of the ten finalists. Please vote now for Sligo at

The voting will close at 12pm on Friday 9th of September. Vote Sligo!