Meet our food champions...

Fergus O'Halloran

Anyone can be a food champion. We need to keep talking about the food scene all the time; keep planting the seed and develop the notion of Ireland as a food destination.


Fergus O'Halloran

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Fergus O'Halloran

Portrait of Fergus O'HalloranCreating a food scene, creating a food conversation | Barna, Galway

It was while working in Switzerland after university that Fergus O’Halloran’s interest and passion for food and wine began, “Everyone knew about food and about ingredients. I was way behind”. He studied hotel and restaurant management and went on to work for several years in top hotels and restaurants in Canada, before returning to his native Galway in 2004.

Fergus is General Manager and Sommelier at boutique hotel The Twelve in the coastal village of Barna near Galway City, where the food ethos is “as local as possible”. At the Twelve, local food suppliers – affectionately nicknamed ‘The Twelve Apostles’ – are venerated and Fergus is committed to ensuring that every member of staff can talk about Galway’s food scene.

Fergus is fully convinced of Ireland’s potential for food tourism. He acknowledges the “new genre of committed and inspiring chefs who are changing the image of Irish food”, but is determined to bring this passion beyond the kitchen. He wants everyone in the hospitality industry, and beyond, to be able to communicate Ireland’s food story.

Championing food tourism at every possible opportunity, Fergus is active within tourism and industry bodies such as the Western Tourism Forum, Galway Tourism Forum and the Restaurants Association of Ireland. He believes we need to bring local food to as wide an audience as possible by weaving it into other events, as he does with The Twelve pop-up restaurant at the Galway Arts Festival, Big Top.

Fergus is now working on the development of a Galway Food Trail which will provide “layers to the visitors food experience” and join the dots, “all the little things will be something much bigger when they are joined together”.