Archive for the ‘News & Events’ Category

Donegal Businesses Win Big at the YesChef Ireland Award...

Restaurants and cafes from across Donegal picked up a host of awards at the YesChef Ireland awards recently. Chandpur was named Ulster’s Indian Restaurant Of The Year, while Biddys O’Barnes won Ireland’s Traditional Gastro Pub of The Year and Blas @ The Gateway in Donegal Town was awarded Local Restaurant of The Year 2022.



The Donegal Winners and Finalists at the Yes Chef Awards

The award ceremony, which celebrates the hospitality industry in Ireland, took place in the Limerick Strand Hotel on Tuesday 31st May. On the night, over 140 awards were delivered covering all aspects of the industry. Other Donegal winners on the night included Kitty Joe’s Café Mountcharles, (Café of The Year 2022 for Ulster), The Rusty Mackerel, (Front of House Team of The Year 2022 for Ulster) and The Railway Tavern, (Steakhouse of The Year 2022 for Ulster, and Casual Dining Restaurant of The Year 2022 for Ulster). The Market House Restaurant at The Abbey Hotel in Donegal Town won Hotel Restaurant of The Year 2022 in Ulster, while Quay West won Ulster Seafood Restaurant of The Year 2022.

The team at Biddy’s O’Barnes celebrating their win at the Yes Chef Awards.


Quay West won Ulster Seafood Restaurant of The Year 2022

Chandpur was nominated for four awards at this year’s ceremony. Discussing their success, Rana and Susan said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won Indian Restaurant of the Year in our beautiful Ulster! As always, we thank our wonderful customers. We are so proud to receive both this award and the Indian Takeaway of the Year Award.”


The Chandpur team receiving Ulster’s Indian Restaurant Of The Year Award at the 2022 YesChef Awards.

Proprietor and Head Chef Rana Miah was born in Chandpur, Bangladesh and decided to name the restaurant after his birthplace. Rana was taught to cook at an early age by his mother Razia and one of her favourite recipes is now a best seller in Chandpur in Donegal Town, the Indian Railway Curry. Rana moved from Bangladesh and settled in Ireland with his wife Susan, who is front of house. Find out more about Chandpur here:


YesChef is a unique publication which showcases the talent of chefs, restaurateurs and hoteliers across Ireland and each year celebrates these businesspeople with their Takeaway and Restaurant Awards. See the full list of winners below:


Indian Restaurant of The Year 2022 – Ulster – Chandpur

Traditional Gastro Pub of The Year 2022 – Ulster and Ireland – Biddys O’Barnes

Café of The Year 2022 – Ulster – Kitty Joe’s Café Mountcharles

Front of House Team of The Year 2022 – Ulster – The Rusty Mackerel

Local Restaurant of The Year 2022 – Ulster and Ireland – Blas@thegateway

Casual Dining Restaurant of The Year 2022 – Ulster – The Railway Tavern

Steakhouse of The Year 2022 – Ulster – The Railway Tavern

Hotel Restaurant of The Year 2022 – Ulster – The Market House Restaurant at The Abbey Hotel

Seafood Restaurant of The Year 2022 – Ulster – Quay West

YesChef Social Media Award – Ulster – The Railway Tavern

Donegal Signature Seafood Event A Great Success


The Donegal Signature Seafood Event was held at the Atlantic Technological University Killybegs campus on Wednesday 12th May. The event celebrated local Donegal chefs, local produce and food businesses and promoted the wonderful teaching and courses offered by our third level university, Atlantic Technological University.

Donegal Person of the Year, Noel Cunningham hosted the event and John McLaughlin, CEO of Donegal County Council welcomed attendees. He was followed by Margaret Campbell from the Donegal Food Coast and the event was officially opened by Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Jack Murray.


Brendan from Dicey’s in Ballyshannon spoke to Noel Cunningham about Donegal Blonde and Chef Gary Anderson from Anderson’s Boathouse Restaurant in Killybegs prepared a seafood dish live at the event. Following this, Chris McMenamin and Colin McKee of Biddys O’Barnes cooked up a Seabass dish.


Peter Campbell from Outside Catering Donegal then prepared a seafood nage. The final chef to cook on the night was Tim Dewhirst of Atlantic Technological University who prepared delicious platters of canapes. Thanks to everyone who participated in the event and worked so hard to make the night such a great celebration of Donegal seafood.


This Autumn, Teagasc will be running a selection of courses to help you upskill and improve your knowledge of the food and beverage industry.

The first of these courses is Microbiology for non-Microbiologists on Thursday, 8th September from 9:30am – 5pm. This course is designed to help those in the food industry with little formal microbiology training to gain a better understanding of the microorganisms that are associated with different foods, their characteristics and their implications for food safety and food spoilage. This is a great course for those working in the food industry, including those involved in quality control, new product development and training. Find out more about the course here.

Teagasc is also hosting an Introduction to New Product Development for the Food and Beverage sector on Wednesday, 12th October from 9:30am – 5pm.  Whether you are new to food innovation and new product development, or you want to improve your pipeline of innovative food products, this workshop delivered over two half day sessions will introduce you to a wide range of best practice methods and real-life case studies. Ideal for entrepreneurs and small food producers and food technologists, brand managers and development chefs. Find out more here.

On Thursday, 13th October, Teagasc will host a Management of NPD (New Product Development) training session. Innovation and the development of new products is essential to the success and profitability of Irish food businesses. This course is designed for individuals who are involved in the development of new food products and the innovation process within their companies, those who already have a basic understanding of NPD or who have attended the Introduction to Food Innovation & New Product Development course, and for food companies who are developing an NPD process or want to streamline and improve their process. Find out more about the course here.

Get an Introduction to Sensory Principles on Thursday, 17th November. Whether you are new to sensory science or want to improve your knowledge, this training course will introduce you to a wide range of best practice methods and real-life case studies. This course is designed for technical and quality assurance staff, food technologists and development chefs and researchers. Participants have the option of taking an IFST Foundation exam which is included in the course fee and will take place on Tuesday, 22nd November. For more information, click here.


Over the coming months, Local Enterprise Office Donegal has a range of courses and workshops to help you improve your knowledge of everything from starting and running a business to trading online, food photography and starting a food business.


The monthly Business Information Session and Grant Aid Workshop will be held online via Zoom on Friday, 24th June at 10am. This is an introduction to the supports and services available from the Local Enterprise Office and explains the Grant Aid process and criteria. This is free to attend and you can book your place here.

Our Food Photography and Styling Workshop takes place on Monday, 27th June in the Local Enterprise Office from 9:30am – 5:30pm. Participants will learn essential food photography tips and find out all about natural lighting, styling techniques, various shooting styles and about the photo editing techniques that will result in mouth-watering food photos of your product. Book your place here.


The next Trading Online Voucher Workshop will take place on Wednesday, 13th July. It is compulsory to attend a Trading Online Information Session if you want to make an application for a Trading Online Voucher. Trading Online Vouchers are grants of up to €2,500 to assist your business in developing online sales. Find out more here.


Prepare Your Business For Customs with our online seminar on Wednesday, 27th July. This workshop will help you become familiar with the customs compliance requirements that affect your company on trading with countries outside the European Union, such as the United Kingdom. Reserve your spot here.

The next Food Starter Programme will begin on Monday, 19th September. If you are thinking of setting up as a food producer you will benefit from this programme greatly as it will help you get your food business off to the right start. The programme will be delivered over four half-days in September. It costs €50 to take part and you can reserve a place here.


Local Enterprise Office Donegal will be hosting a Small Business Accounts Programme which begins on Monday, 5th September. Learn how to set up and update your accounts and understand and manage the finances of your business. This programme will run for three hours over ten nights throughout September, October and November. Book your place here.

Kinnegar Brewing Strike Gold At The 2022 World Beer Cup...

Kinnegar Brewing has claimed a gold award in the 2022 World Beer Cup, a global competition that evaluates entries from around the world and recognises the most outstanding brewers and their beers. Awards were given in 103 beer-style categories during the World Beer Cup award ceremony on Thursday, 5th May at the Minneapolis Convention Centre in Minnesota, USA and Kinnegar Brewing’s Black Rye IPA, Black Bucket was awarded gold in the American-Style Black Ale category.



Kinnegar’s Black Bucket which won gold in its category American-Style Black IPA at the 2022 World Beer Cup.


“Naturally, we’re delighted with every award we win but there’s one accolade that matters more to a brewery than any other, and this is it,” said Founder and Head Brewer Rick LeVert. “We are consistently improving what we do at our base off the beaten track in Donegal and it’s exceptionally rewarding to receive this level of recognition for our effort.”


Until Kinnegar’s triumph last week, no Irish brewery had ever achieved a gold award since the inception of this most demanding competition in 1996. A black Rye IPA, Black Bucket is part of Kinnegar Brewing’s core range of 12 beers. “Kinnegar is quite well known for rye beers – any of our beers with “Bucket” in the name feature rye”, explains co-owner Libby Carton. “We first made Black Bucket in 2014 and it’s one of the more challenging styles in our core range; it’s actually a remarkably drinkable beer that beautifully balances rye and roasted malts with fresh hop aromas and flavours.”



Beer tasting at the newly opened Taproom in K2.


On Saturday, 23rd April, the team opened the Taproom at the K2 brewery in Letterkenny. The walls are bare, and the furnishings are sparse, but the beer is flowing. You can visit the Taproom and enjoy a beer after taking one of the three types of guided tours. You can also call into the Taproom to buy beer for your own fridge, or to purchase some Kinnegar merchandise including T-shirts, Beanies and glasses.


Kinnegar Brewery also host brewery tours which offer an overview of the brewing process; by the end of the tour you will understand what gives your favourite Kinnegar beer style its particular colour, flavour and aroma. There are three tour options to choose from starting with the Introductory Tour which costs €1 and takes around 5 minutes. The tour is available from Wednesday – Saturday from 1-7pm and Kinnegar donate the proceeds of the Introductory Tour to a local charity, chosen by a different member of staff each month.


There is also an option to do an Advanced Tour which lasts for 45 minutes or a Deep Dive Tour which takes 90 minutes and is available once a month.


You can find out more here:

Even More To Choose From With Sinless Snacks

Sinless Snacks produces a range of healthy food snacks that are dairy, gluten and refined sugar free and are suitable for vegans and coeliacs.


A selection of the delicious product offering from Sinless Snacks.


Caroline Doherty created Sinless Snacks in March 2019 in her home kitchen: “We could see the lack of snacks currently available on the market for anyone with dietary requirements or those seeking a healthier diet and lifestyle. Our snacks are tasty, nutritious, and perfect for an active lifestyle.”


Sinless Snacks products are made exclusively in Chapter 63 Deli and Coffee Shop, located on the main street in Buncrana. In May, Sinless Snacks introduced a number of new flavours to their product range and now offers Bounty, Twix and Snicker flavoured snacks. The new popular flavours also include the Goji Berry Ball, which is high in Vitamin C and Zinc which helps to boost the immune system, and Chia Seed Balls, which are a source of omega 3 and contain alpha linolenic acid which helps maintain normal cholesterol levels.


Goji Berry Balls and Chia Seed Balls are the perfect healthy snack for when you’re on the go.


The range is ever expanding, and Sinless Snacks are now stocked in various locations across Donegal including Coffee Inc in Letterkenny, Supervalu in Buncrana and Callaghan’s Gala in Burt. “As a Donegal made product with the aim of ensuring everyone has access to delicious, healthy snacks, we are available for stocking in food businesses, especially coffee trailers across the county who struggle to meet the growing demand for dietary specific requests. We can help businesses stand out by providing a specialist product on a weekly basis” Caroline added.


You can contact Caroline Doherty for more information by calling 086 446 6222 or email


Ballyholey Farm’s annual Dig Your Dinner event returns this year on Saturday, 23rd and 30th July. The aim of the event is to highlight the importance of buying local and knowing where your food comes from, which is at the heart of what the Food Coast Donegal is all about.



The Dig Your Dinner event has become a highlight of the Ballyholey Farm calendar and is a great opportunity for foodies and families to enjoy a few hours in the outdoors. You literally dig your dinner of potatoes and a selection of vegetables, put it in a crate to take home and enjoy a delicious dinner of freshly grown produce. After the event, there are refreshments to reward everyone’s hard work.


Based on the main Letterkenny to Lifford Road, Ballyholey Farm set up its farm shop in December 2014 in response to a change in the market. The business continued to grow, especially through the pandemic and lockdown as more people began eating real food and going back to basics. Ballyholey Farm is all about being able to pass the benefits of seasonality and seasonal food to the customers.


Donegal County Council has an excellent opportunity for Donegal food vendors to highlight their business and product to thousands of tourists this August.



The Irish Legends Tour presented by the McGinley Foundation returns to Rosapenna Hotel and Golf Resort in Downings, Co. Donegal from Monday, 15th until Saturday, 20th August. Donegal County Council is seeking to invite a limited number of food vendors to provide onsite food services at both the golf and community festival events with expected audience numbers of over 1000 people per day.


In addition to this, Go Visit Donegal is hosting a community festival on the adjacent site on Friday, 19th and Saturday, 20th August, at which there will be a selection of performances from 5 – 8pm on both evenings which will also have space for some food vendors.


To submit your expression of interest, please include a detailed outline of the type of food service or menu you provide along with a price list. Please include a minimum of four photographs of your stand or vehicle. Businesses must hold a valid certificate from the HSE’s Environmental Health Office.


Submit your details via email to by 12pm on Wednesday, 8th June.


Find out more here:

Take Your Business To New Heights With Enterprise Irela...

On Wednesday, 8th June, Enterprise Ireland will be hosting a webinar “Scaling the Heights: Growing Food and Drink Start-Ups in Time of Change”.


This two-hour webinar will explore how food and drink start-ups can scale new heights. It will highlight Enterprise Ireland’s role in the Irish Food Start-Up Ecosystem, and how Enterprise Ireland can help fund and scale innovative food, beverage, nutraceutical and petfood start-ups. Participants will also hear from real world entrepreneurs on their journeys of growth and success including food entrepreneurs Niall McGrath, Co-Founder of Fulfil and Cali Cali, Noreen Gallagher, CEO of Plant-it, and Catherina Butler, Co-Founder of The Naked Collective as they navigate their business in times of change.


The webinar will discuss the supports and advice available from Enterprise Ireland, how you can win through branding and marketing, growing internationally with ambition, securing investment in a challenging environment and the importance of sustainability in manufacturing and the supply chain.


Find out more and register here.

Savour the Flavour of Donegal Town


26TH – 28TH AUGUST 2022

A Taste of Donegal Food Festival has not taken place in the last two years due to the Covid 19 Pandemic. Following the Government announcement regarding the decrease in restrictions a committee meeting was held to decide whether to proceed with the 2022 festival.

The consensus was that as a voluntary organisation it would be too risky to go ahead given the apprehension that still exists in the public because of Covid 19. For A Taste of Donegal to be viable we need to have full occupancy of the marquees over the festival weekend, even though restrictions are lifted, we don’t feel the public will be confident enough to attend an event where large numbers of people will be gathered in close proximity to each other. There is also the uncertainty of emerging variants which may pose a threat to the event resulting in cancellation.

Therefore, we have decided to air on the side of caution and not host the 2022 festival but look forward to the return of A Taste of Donegal Food Festival in 2023.

However, we did decide to create a new foodie themed event which will take place over what would have been the food festival weekend. The dates for this will be Friday 26th – Sunday 28th August 2022 called “Savour the Flavour of Donegal Town”

The Concept of ‘Savour The Flavour of Donegal Town’ was part of the ‘Taste the Island ‘Initiative by Failte Ireland. It consisted of various events taking place throughout the town over 3 days. The programme involved foodie themed events with other activities.

Donegal Town became Irelands ‘Foodiest Town’ in 2019 and due to Covid 19 we never really got an opportunity to take advantage of this accolade. We are very conscious that we want to continue to maintain Donegal Town and County’s image as a foodie destination, we feel that this event will create a sense of pride locally of what we have to offer in the food space and generate confidence that things have returned to normal and looking forward to being able to host our flagship event A Taste of Donegal Food Festival 2023.


We will have outdoor cookery demonstrations on the Diamond which will include local and celebrity chefs.

A Donegal Food & Drink Producers market will take place in a location to be decided.

Our local Hotels, Restaurants, Food & Drink Producers, Food Outlets will create” Savour the Flavour “offers for their menus and on their premises.

We are hosting a long table event with a menu showcasing Donegal Food and Drink Produce in association with The Food Coast Donegal / Donegal Local Enterprise Office.

Donegal Food Tours will organise a food and drink tour of local eateries and food outlets to highlight the quality of local produce and offerings available within the town and surrounding areas.

Following the success of the introduction of our Cherrymore Kids Kitchen marquee to A Taste of Donegal 2019 we intend to continue with a full two-day programme of events with various experts concentrating on an appreciation of food and where it comes from and sustainability and biodiversity in a fun and interactive way which will include Children’s Cookery Classes in several locations throughout the town.

Let’s Play Donegal Town outdoor Play Event will be part of the weekend activities. This is part of the URBACT Playful Paradigm / Playful Town Initiative being led by Joy Harron Acting Senior Staff Officer, Strategic Funding Donegal County Council encouraging play in our public spaces e.g. The Diamond.

Nature Walk; connecting locally with Nature along the Donegal Town Bank Walk by Nature Northwest.

Free admission to Donegal Castle on Sunday 28th August 2022

Free Admission for children to Donegal Railway Heritage Centre on Sunday 28th August 2022

Entertainment to suit all ages.

Chairperson Ernan Mc Gettigan is quoted as saying,

“The Committee sees this 3-day event as an important commercial platform providing inspiration and encouragement for local food and drink producers and entrepreneurs following the consequences of the Covid 19 Pandemic on themselves and their businesses.

This is the perfect opportunity to showcase why Donegal Town became Irelands Foodiest Town offering a unique standalone Food and Tourism visitor experience” Savour the Flavour of Donegal Town will create a distinctive experience by immersing visitors in the best Food and Drink Donegal Town has to offer. Local hotels restaurants, cafes will be creating dishes with local produce that will create a sense of place to include seasonal food and drink pairings, interactive experiences e.g., cocktail making, Wine appreciation

The benefits of hosting a number of children’s foodie themed activities is twofold as it will bring families to the town and at the same time educate children in a fun and interactive way on how to appreciate food.

By including elements of play / activities in public spaces e.g., the Diamond the committee feel that they will have helped to achieve some of the aims and objectives of the URBACT Playful Paradigm / Playful Town Initiative. Whose aim is to develop an innovative concept for promoting social inclusion, active healthy lifestyles & energy awareness, intergenerational & cultural mediation, place-making & economic prosperity, so that we may include play/activity elements to the public spaces. It is all about enhancing the space for physical and mental well-being for all users of the public space”

A warm welcome awaits you so come along Discover Dine & Delight in Irelands Foodiest Town.

Ernan Mc Gettigan
A Taste of Donegal Food Festival