Where stories start, and where yours begin

Write your own South East Food Story with a trip throughout the wonderful counties of Tipperary, Carlow, Kilkenny, Waterford and Wexford. Capture the tastes, tales and traditions of this verdant region of Ireland, packed with trails, hikes, heritage and waterways.

It’s almost impossible to pick, so we’ve helped you out with a few of our favourite options to get the best of each area’s locally sourced foods and producers, so you have your own stories to write home about.

For detailed information on these five packages, click on the pictures below.

Carlow

If you’re curious about Carlow culture, how small businesses manage sustainability and the ethics of foraging, there’s plenty here for you. Stay at the beautiful Woodford Dolmen Hotel and wake up to a locally sourced, award winning breakfast each morning. A well fortified stomach is definitely advisable for the one hour guided tour and tasting at O’Hara’s Brewery. This is a working brewery which lets visitors get hands-on experience of the brewing process and taste a variety of beers and ciders straight from the tank while putting all your questions to the experts, who are all incredibly passionate about making great local products.

That night, refuel with a mouth watering four course evening meal at the Plum Tree Bistro, which is known locally for its fresh, quality food, and a night cap in the lively Dolmen Bar.

It’s back to basics for day two with the chance to forage with local botanists Mary and Robert White at Blackstairs Eco Trails exploring the natural fauna and flora at this stunning location. Head out across fields and woods to find out how to pick out the best wild, organic plants and berries – as well as what to avoid. They’ll show you how to prepare and cook what you find, and let you get stuck in!

Kilkenny

Write your own food story and get a taste of culture, heritage, and nature with a food trip to Kilkenny.

Start your culinary journey with a memorable visit to the five-star Mount Juliet Estate. This Georgian country estate, set on 500 acres is home to the Michelin Star awarded Lady Helen Restaurant and the Michelin Plate awarded The Hound Restaurant. Offering exquisite, award-winning dining experiences, to the relaxed dining experience of The Hound Restaurant at Hunter’s Yard, guests can immerse themselves in the vibrant dining experiences at the Mount Juliet Estate for a true taste of Kilkenny at it’s finest.

Set up base at the five-star Mount Juliet Estate, with lovingly maintained historic buildings such as the elegant Georgian Manor House and the sophisticated of Hunter’s Yard. During you stay in Mount Juliet Estate, you will experience the seven-course tasting menu in the Michelin starred Lady Helen Restaurant. Just like the former Lady of the house after whom it is named, The Lady Helen restaurant is an iconic part of Mount Juliet Estate. The Michelin-starred restaurant has become a true destination for diners, who long to experience the way that Head Chef John Kelly takes locally sourced produce to soaring new heights.

The following morning you will enjoy breakfast in the Manor House before you head out to enjoy the highlights of County Kilkenny.

Kilkenny is teeming with excellent food producers and crafters.

Take a tour of Highbank Orchard to find out how the gin is processed and produced. Explore the orchard and the ancient castle on the ground with an owner Guide Tour.

Enjoy some fresh country air at Jerpoint Park, a local farm, to find out how they manage their flock of sheep and make use of the old stone buildings that have supported the farm for generations. After an impressive demonstration of how the sheep are rounded up by the well-trained dogs, and restorative coffee and scones.

Experience the wonderful skills of the Jerpoint Glass Blowing Experience, where local craftspeople know how to blow their own horns!

Tipperary

The best way to start your trip to Tipp is to check a true icon off your bucket list. The Rock of Cashel, perched majestically at the top of a grassy hill, is stunning to look at and fascinating to learn about so gen up on its long history and significance with a short tour of the remaining remnants.

Follow that with a quick trip over to visit Cahir to one of Ireland’s few full time honey farms. The Galtee Honey Farm, nestled next to a 1,200 acre forest packed full of ancient trees and oak wood, is home to the native and endangered Irish Black Honey Bee. You can get stuck in, donning a bee suit and lighting the smokers, before tasting the variety of honeys and learning all about the conservation of these important little pollinators.

Take time for lunch at the popular gastropub Mikey Ryan’s Bar & Kitchen where they serve up high quality, organic food sourced from local farmers and producers. The food is full on fresh and seasonal and gives a real taste of what Tipperary is all about. Savour a delicious two-course lunch with a glass of wine.

Stay right in the heart of Tipperary at the well named Horse and Jockey Hotel – so good, they named the village after it. With impressive culinary experiences at breakfast, lunch and dinner made from locally sourced food and their onsite artisan bakery, you’ll be in foodie heaven. Book a two night stay with breakfast, one evening meal, access to the pool, gym and spa and a take away Tipperary Food Box to see you on your way.

Waterford

Waterford has the advantage of being able to source its food from the luscious land and clear seas right on its doorstep. This area has a long tradition of producing great food and drink and sets the bar for innovative, sustainable food.

Treat yourself to a two night stay at the 4* Granville Hotel, located right at the heart of Waterford and an ideal base for exploring. Breakfasts here have that little edge, particularly the popular Granville Porridge Experience which blends locally milled oats with Waterford Muldoon Whiskey Liqueur.

This will set you up for a truly unique experience: hook up with the Sea Gardener for an hour-long forage along the beach, exploring rocks and shoreline to get the lowdown on edible seaweed. They will fill you in on how it’s used in cookery, skincare, gardening and folk remedies and give you a taste of why seaweed is such a valuable source of nutrition.

It’s time to explore the gardens and natural woodland that surrounds GROW HQ. Pick up the audio tour where GROW COOK EAT TV Presenter Mick Kelly will take you on a journey through the ethos and operations of their sustainable food system. The tour is designed both to get you up to speed with how they operate and to inspire you to try it at home. You’ll get real taste of the goods with a seasonal meal at the café overlooking the kitchen garden with home produced savoury sharing platter, homebrewed Kombucha and delicious desserts.

Dine out at Everett’s Restaurant where local ingredients and products are at the core of an exclusive fine dining experience. Look out for the locally foraged seaweed!

Wexford

With a distinctive character, rich farmland and 250km of spectacular coastline, it’s no surprise that Wexford does an excellent line in locally produced food and drink.

With acres of farmland and vegetable gardens, the 4* Ashdown Park Hotel brings sustainable food right from the source directly to your table. You can get a feel of how this land has been farmed over the years at the Johnston Agricultural Museum and Castle, and check out modern day practices at the hotel’s Redmond Farm whilst snacking on their homemade scones.

Get the lowdown on food heritage in the south east with a guided folklore and foraging walk in the ancient Courtown Woods. You’ll be shown the best way to forage for organic food and herbs that grow throughout the woods, and pick wild garlic to produce your own pesto. This will be served up as part of the 30 mile menu which contains ingredients sourced from within a 30 mile radius of the hotel. The hotel will pair the delicious menu with a selection of wines and send you home with a food hamper for the road.