On-Trade Progress delves into how you can incorporate classic touches of Irish hospitality in your venue.

The hospitality industry is booming across the world, and one country where this is no different is Ireland. Famous for its striking coastline and quaint cities; Ireland has its own association with being friendly and hospitable and this is reflected in its booming industry.

A 2017 interim report, conducted by IHF, uncovered that there are over 16,000 enterprises in hospitality-related accommodation and the food services sector in Ireland. Which is comprised of hotels and other accommodation (14 per cent), restaurants and bars (41 per cent), catering and other food service providers (45 per cent).

Moreover, since 2013, job vacancies across the nation are up 200 per cent, making it one of Ireland’s most resilient sectors. The Irish hospitality sector is already worth 7.2 billion euros to the economy and supports more than 235,000 jobs.

A lot of this money comes from tourists who are keen to get a taste of Ireland’s famed hospitality sector; whether it’s dancing the night away in Dublin or keeping cool in Cork. Either way, hospitality venues have a lot to learn from the Irish about how to keep guests feeling welcomed and entertained. So in this ‘Taste of’ feature, we explore how you can give your venue an Irish makeover.

Keeping authentic

One of my favourite past times when I go on holiday (and this might seem pretty odd), is to spot the town’s Irish pub. Last month, when I was in Toulouse, we visited a great establishment called The Danu, its environment was great. And this is the taste of Ireland that you can instantly access around the globe.

If you’re looking to bring a feel of the Irish straight to your venue; then consider adding an eclectic mix of interesting wall decorations. Often Irish pubs are jam-packed with different prints, images and pictures all over their walls that reflect on who they are as a venue. It’s a real change from more sterile establishments, and with walls becoming part of the statement of the venue, you create a homely and welcoming atmosphere.

Another typical aesthetic of the Irish if the mahogany or other dark coloured woods that often make up the bar, as well as the walls, of the venue. The warmth created by the dark woods creates an inviting and instantly familiar atmosphere. Venues have a lot to learn from the Irish in terms of how they create aesthetic to feel homely.


Ireland has so many wonderful foods to offer. Walking through the streets of Dublin, for example, many restaurants offer a variant of stew – my absolute favourite being a beef and Guinness stew, which is actually a bit of a classic.

If you’re a restaurant looking to incorporate an Ireland-related food week, or something similar, then the first thing I would add to your menu is a rich stew. Make sure your meat is tender and slow cooked and add some winter vegetables such as carrots or parsnips. I would also recommend adding an Irish classic, the potato.

The humble potato is what Ireland is associated with. Fortunately, the potato, being so versatile, has a lot to offer; whether it’s an addition to a classic roast dinner meal, or used for bar snack crisps, make sure you research the best authentic Irish potatoes to serve.

Lastly, Ireland has a lot to offer in the way of cheese; whether you design a specific Irish cheeseboard, or simply keep it as one of your many cheese offerings, it’s a wonderful addition to any dessert menu.


Ireland produces some of the most wonderful beverages across the whole world. For example, Irish whiskey is a classic, often meticulously produced and filled with flavour. Take Dingle Distillery, an artisan whiskey distiller, which recently released a single malt whiskey – the brand offers an authentic taste of Ireland. By researching these key Irish whiskey producers and adding them to your drinks menu, you will be providing your customer the best the country has to offer.

Moreover, Ireland is famed for producing some truly stand out beers and ale. The country has a rich history with both; in the 19th century, there were more than 200 breweries in the country, with 55 of these based in Dublin. Later in the century, this number fell by three-quarters to 50 and by the mid 2000s, there was only 12.

However, despite this, Ireland is still famed for producing some of the best products across the globe; whether it’s Guinness Draught or Murphy’s Irish Stout – they offer a rich and indulgent flavour, that gives the consumer a proper taste of Ireland.

Whichever way you choose to add a taste of Ireland to your venue; ensure that you are doing your research and speaking to food and drink producers in the country who can answer any questions you may have.