This time last year, there was the Ballycastle Food Tour, a wee AirBnB and a couple of walks at/around Carrick-a-Rede and a ‘business’ called North Coast Walking Tours. It took a fantastic, inspiring course from Tourism NI delivered by Kate Taylor to make me see that I didn’t have a business - I was in a badly paid, self employed job. Despair.
Except that, through this course, regular networking and collaboration, thinking and acting, Irish Feast was born. ‘Irish’ had to be in the title as I wanted to appeal to an International market which wouldn’t ‘get’ ‘North Coast’ (I still have a lot of followers from Australia and Mendocino!); wouldn’t find me with ‘Giant’s Causeway’ or any variation of that; and would wonder about ‘Ulster’ or ‘Dalriada’ etc. Also because (deep breath), I now have dreams of providing fabulous, fun food tours in towns and villages across not only the Causeway Coastal Route but the whole of Ireland. There, I said it. I am a woman with ambitions.
'Feast’ came from my very erudite, word driven sister - Food Experiences And Small Towns - geddit?! I am also a woman with a bad sense of humour.
So, although I still guide for others and have a wee B&B, the guiding is for pleasure and the B&B will decline as Irish Feast grows and the working with local festivals will be a larger part of Irish Feast’s repertoire.
So, what else? The Ballycastle Food Tour grows and is now mentioned in the Lonely Planet guides as proof that Ballycastle is a 'foodie destination'. Woo hoo!
And, the portfolio of food tours has grown.
The Bushmills Food Tour was walked out, scripted and agreed by Easter 2017 and a gaggle of trusted return customers enlisted to give me feedback and ideas. This is a wonderful tour and I’m glad that my idea was right - every town or village with a decent food scene will have pride in their place and offer and welcome guests with open arms. I’ll give you more information on this tour in a future blog.
The Rathlin Food Tour, having been created for the Rathlin Sound Maritime Festival in 2016, continues to grow in demand. I’m so pleased to be working with a really great bunch of people on the island. There’s a couple of reviews that bloggers and guests have done - have a look on the website!
As I can’t be in two (or three) places at once, I’ve worked with local guides who are now delivering tours for Irish Feast. You’ll not be surprised to know they’re even better than I am!! (Grrr...) I am looking forward to bringing more on board in 2018 to deliver the new tours being planned.
I am a woman with hope and determination and the ingredients for a very good food tourism company. #BringItOn2018