Fourth place for Cong in Foodie Destinations 2016 competition

CONG, a new entry to the Foodie Destination competition this year, finished in a very creditable fourth position.

The winner, announced last night in Hotel Doolin, Co. Clare, was Boyne Valley, ahead of runner-up Derry (for the second year in a row) and The Burren in third, with Sligo rounding out the top five behind the south Mayo village of Cong.

The five remaining finalists, in no particular order, were: Dublin Coastal Villages, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Monaghan, and Loop Head Peninsula.

After a rigorous few weeks of applications, town visits and over 10,000 online votes, Boyne Valley beat off all competition to win the title.

Dee Laffan, a freelance food journalist, editor and Foodie Destinations judge, said it was a privilege to witness the amazing effort and excitement that the top 10 finalists contributed to their visit.

“Of course, the visit simply acts as a showcase of the collaborative work that is happening on a daily basis in these locales, representing an ethos that has been embraced as part of their food culture, livelihoods and future.

“What is very apparent from our visits, and while reviewing all of this year's applications to the Foodie Destinations competition, is the overwhelming sense of community, grown through a passion for their local food and region and the pride that springs from this.

“This could be found in a city as large as Derry and a village as small as Cong; their enthusiasm and ambitions are inspiring and what has helped create the food island that Ireland has become.”

Each Foodie Destinations finalist received a trophy while the top five destinations were presented with a certificate. Boyne Valley and Derry also received an engraved Newbridge Silverware plaque for their achievements.

The CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins, said it is great to see so many places putting local food at the forefront of the visitor experience, while Aoife Carrigy, chairperson of the Irish Food Writers Guild and Foodie Destinations judge, stated that what is striking about so many of the communities in the top 10, including Cong, is the clear-sightedness of their ambition.