On a recent trip home to my dear Donegal, I had the simple pleasure of eating my way around Letterkenny! It all began with the Artisan Market in Lismonaghan, a market that was set up in August but only had it’s first official launch on the fourth of March. From talking to a few locals, it has become increasingly popular in recent times and it’s clear to see why. The atmosphere is friendly – as you would expect from the fellow Donegal folk but it’s also a place where you can lap up some live music, sit at a picnic bench (indoors, may I add) and chat over some homemade cake and coffee while taking in the sights and sounds and scanning for your next port of call. It has a very relaxed vibe to it and more importantly, you have space to move around and not get tangled in a web of people. Comfort at a market is so often a rarity these days, so that in itself is enjoyable.
Obviously my main focus at any market is the food but I have to say, it’s a great place to scour for beautiful homemade crafts and wood turned furnishings too.
My first stop was to the Spicy Bird, where I was greeted by the effervescent lady herself! I’ve met Paula a few times before and needless to say – her quirky stall matches her personality. Curries are the main focus at her stand and there’s always two options – that’s if they haven’t sold out by the time you get there! I opted for her Apricot and Chickpea Curry, which was a delicious and welcome feast after four hours on the road! Paula will dish up there and then or you can take it away and relish in the deliciousness at home if you’d prefer.
Second on my list was Siobhan Ward’s stall, Clean and Sweet. As someone who makes healthy treats on a regular basis, it’s clear to see how hard Siobhan works on her stall. She’s doling out treats to suit gluten-free, paleo and dairy-free eaters and boy has she got an array to choose from! To my surprise and delight, Siobhan told me that she uses some of my recipes for her stall sometimes, so that was a pleasant discovery. Her Twix Bars are insanely good and her cupcakes are heavenly, this is a gem of a place if you want to stock up on healthy treats for the week ahead.
A huge draw to the market is the abundance of fresh produce available, so if you haven’t yet stopped by – it’s definitely worth a visit. Get out there and support local – there’s a great buzz that you won’t find at the supermarket!
The market is open every Saturday from 10:00am – 3:00pm.
Another place which was high up on my list of new food premises to visit was Wholegreen. Located on Church Lane, which is neatly nestled just off the Main Street, Wholegreen is your ultimate health food haven. With energy salads galore, multiple vegetarian main course options and a mouth watering selection of gluten-free and dairy-free treats – the offerings could have you in a serious decision dilemma, like it did me! I ended up having a bit of everything from the salad bar alongside some lentil balls. The helpings were so generous, that we ended up with a take-away lunch for the next day too. The food is clean, it’s healthy and most important of all in my book – it’s tasty and filling.
Next up on my food trip was Florence Food Co, a place which is very easy to find as it’s located a stone’s throw from Letterkenny Court House. This was a somewhat unplanned pit stop, so it was like hitting jackpot when we stepped inside. I was immediately sucked in by the décor and bright airy feel of the place. It has that certain touch of class without being pretentious and over the top. The food matched up to the quality of the vibes and I’d definitely recommend Florence for a casual yet classy dining experience. In terms of the food, I didn’t get to try as much as I wanted to but the chicken dish that I did have was perfectly cooked with delicate flavours and a nice serving of baked sweet potato fries – good food without the grease!
So, the next time you’re on the Wild Atlantic Way or pottering about town, be sure to remember that Letterkenny has plenty of healthy food options to suit everyone.