Irish food and drink showcased to US audience of 6m

Irish food and drink has been showcased to a collective audience of 6m people in the US.

‘The Road Less Travelled’ examined Ireland’s unique food and drink experiences with presenter Jonathan Legg touring the country sampling Irish cuisine.

On an itinerary designed by Fáilte Ireland, the crew looked at some of the new and unusual experiences on offer in Ireland.

The crew visited the Dingle Cookery School and took on milking cows and butter-making. They also got to experience cooking with Rachel Allen, the Ballymaloe Cookery School Chef.

Irish whiskey was a focus of the show with Legg and the crew looking at several distilleries, including Jameson, Tullamore Dew and Dingle Distillery.

Microbreweries were also featured on the show, including The Burren Brewery, Lisdoonvarna and Dingle Brewery.

Legg said that the food in Ireland was a highlight.

“Once you put a forkful in your mouth it immediately impresses. After speaking with some of the country’s top chefs I understand why.

“Irish chefs are taking real pride in locally sourcing their food and the quality of the ingredients comes directly from the quality of the land on which it was farmed or raised,” he said.

The butter, steak, and cabbage jump to my mind as the best I’ve ever had.

Fáilte Ireland planned, hosted and managed 1,358 bespoke itineraries for overseas media in 2014 which had an EAV of €86.3m and an estimated reach of 1.1 billion people.

Speaking about the rationale for supporting such a visit, Fáilte Ireland’s Head of Publicity, Ciara Sugrue said that partnering with high quality travel shows such as ‘The Road Less Travelled’ provides Ireland with a publicity opportunity that would rival any traditional marketing.

“Just over one third of overseas visitor expenditure in Ireland is spent on food and drink equating to €1.2 billion in 2014 so it is an extremely important part of the visitor experience.

“The importance of the place, as well as what is on the plate, is what distinguishes Ireland from other culinary destinations and we were delighted to be able to showcase both to a top American TV programme,” she said.

The visiting Americans also managed to enjoy other aspects of Irish life – enjoying a sheepdog demonstration at The Famine Cottage in Dingle; playing road bowling in Fenor, Co. Waterford and playing hurling in Nolan Park before returning to Dublin to film the city pub scene.

“I’ve always heard great feedback about Ireland from travellers and now I get it. The landscape is as lush and green as imagined and the sights are plentiful, but what really makes the experience are the people.

“They are eager to learn something about you, share something about themselves, and have a laugh in the process. That human connection always makes for the most life affirming situations,” Legg said.