Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Business (Research)


Cork Institute of Technology

First Advisor

Ms. Colette Murphy


Kinsale is a small fishing village in West Cork. During the summer months, the population increases from three thousand to over twelve thousand, due to the influx of tourists. This may be attributed, in no small way, to Kinsale’s reputation as the gourmet capital of Ireland. Kinsale has been at the core of Ireland’s food circles for many years, and has successfully branded itself as a food tourism destination.

Despite Ireland’s long association with agriculture, food tourism is a relatively unknown concept in the country. Food tourism includes visiting food producers, attending food festivals, restaurants and specific locations for food tasting or experiencing the attributes of specific food. Food tourism as a market in Ireland is valued at over two billion euro. There is much potential for regions in Ireland to grow this significantly. Literature on food tourism, such as branding regions as food centres, is a growing area.

Traditionally, it seems Ireland has held an inferiority complex in relation to food. Much evidence now exists to suggest that this is changing. There are certain key tourist markets with an interest in Irish food, namely, the domestic market with an older demographic. Kinsale’s success as a food destination was found to be due to a number of factors, including its proximity to Cork Airport and the ability of all stakeholders to work together. There is potential for other locations in Ireland to replicate Kinsale’s success. This may be possible if regions work with their own unique advantages. Food on its own is not enough of an enticing factor to get tourists to visit Kinsale, but rather is seen as another asset.

Food tourism in Ireland is a little explored concept and this research hopes to contribute to its growth as an area of study.

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