A wander through Clonakilty’s buzzing Friday market is a good starting point to understanding the food culture which infuses the town’s many restaurants, hotels, pubs and food outlets. Local organic farmers, cheesemakers, foragers, fishmongers, bakers and coffee roasters jostle shoulder by shoulder with procurers of exotic treats from Europe and the East. A soundtrack of banter, the crackle of the wood-fired pizza oven and the hiss of an espresso is backed by the strains of a fiddle or guitar, so sittting down for a bite or a coffee is a vital element of your market shopping.
The fact that many Clonakilty restauranteurs can be found running around the market on a Friday hints at things to come, as do the many awards which can be seen outside restaurant doors, from Michelin, Bridgestone, Georgina Campbell, Lucinda O’Sullivan, Bord Bia, BIM, and many others. Whatever you’re in the mood for, be it a toastie and pint beside a roaring fire, a warm scone and cappuccino, excellent deli products for a picnic or holiday home tea, a casual meal en famille, real fish and chips at the end of a night out, or a fine dinner of local specialities, you’ll find some of the best food the country has to offer along our colourful streets, or overlooking the wild Atlantic. If you’re inspired to improve your kitchen skills, come for a cookery course, and you’ll find beautiful ware on which to serve it in one of our many craft and homewares shops.
Clonakilty was Ireland’s first Fair Trade town, and is now part of the Cittaslow movement. This is an organisation which promotes taking time to think about and enjoy everything we do, and respecting seasonality and authenticity in our food. This philosophy is shared by the many people who work to ensure your culinary experience in Clonakilty is one which is rooted in a true connection to our land and sea, and an instinctive understanding of the real meaning of hospitality.