Irish Food Writers’ Guild celebrates 30 years Of Food Awards

Group of winners, including Pat Close, Lough Neagh Fishermans Cooperative, Adrienne Heslin, West Kerry Brewery, Eoin Bird Wooded Pig, Mark Wright, Ballylisk Dairies, Gabriel Faherty, Aran Islands Goats Cheese, Aisling Flanagan, Velvet Cloud with Nicky Green (left) and Debbie Kelleher (right) Down Syndrome Cork Field of Dreams

Spotlight shines on cheese, eel and ale at 2023 Awards, with the Lifetime Achievement Award presented to well-known cheese-making brothers



9 March 2023

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From eel and ale and sheep’s milk yogurt to eco-friendly pig farming, the winners of the 30th Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards are a diverse group that represent a commitment to provenance, sustainability, quality and flavour above all else.

With just eight prestigious awards presented, the biggest winner of the day was Irish cheese, with Ballylisk of Armagh, Gabriel Faherty of Aran Island Goats’ Cheese and brothers, Kevin and Seamus Sheridan of Sheridan’s Cheesemongers all picking up awards at the 2023 Irish Food Writers’ Guild (IFWG) Food Awards.

Speaking about this year’s awards, Caroline Hennessy, chair of the IFWG said: “Since the Food Award’s inception, each winner has been chosen independently and anonymously by IFWG members, recognising the best in Irish food by shining a light on smaller producers who might otherwise slip under the radar. From traditional products of the highest quality to new innovations, this year’s winners exemplify what is so exciting about Ireland’s food and drink industry right now.”

The winners of the 2023 Irish Food Writers’ Guild Food Awards are:

  1. Food Award:Smoked Lough Neagh Eel, Co Antrim
  2. Food Award:Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, Co Mayo
  3. Food Award:Ballylisk of Armagh, Co Armagh
  4. Irish Drink Award:Beoir Chorcha Dhuibhne for Béal Bán, Co Kerry  (photo attached)
  5. Notable Contribution to Irish Food:Gabriel Faherty, Aran Island Goats’ Cheese, Co Galway  (photo attached)
  6. Environmental Award:The Wooded Pig, Co Meath
  7. Community Food Award:Field of Dreams – Down Syndrome Cork, Co Cork
  8. Lifetime Achievement Award:Kevin and Seamus Sheridan, Co Galway (photo of Seamus Sheridan attached)

Three decades on from the first IFWG Food Awards, Caroline Hennessy took a moment to celebrate how the industry has evolved and how this has been reflected in the Food Awards each year.

“When the IFWG Food Awards began in 1993,” she said, “it was with the aim of promoting and celebrating Ireland’s indigenous food producers and, as Ireland’s artisan food scene has developed and flourished, our core principles have remained true.

“Guild members have always shared a passion for nurturing a proud and vibrant Irish food culture,” Hennessy continued. “Thirty years on from those first awards, we are fortunate to live in a country where there is more attention paid to the food we eat, to who is producing it and how it is produced. Many of the winners from the early years are still familiar names today, proof of their enduring quality and we have no doubt that this year’s cohort of winners will continue that legacy.”

Una Fitzgibbon, director of marketing at Bord Bia, which sponsors the IFWG Food Awards, said, added that Bord Bia is delighted to support the IFWG as it “consistently highlights the outstanding quality, craftsmanship and innovation in Ireland’s artisan food industry through these awards.

“Now in their 30th year these awards have honoured those in the sector that take ingenuity and entrepreneurship to the next level,” Fitzgibbon added. “Congratulations to all those involved in these prestigious food awards and, of course, to the very deserving winners.”



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