Donal’s Irish Adventure | DonalSkehan.com, 8 episodes on PBS. (2024)<br />
6 episodes on Ireland's National Broadcaster RTE One. (2022)
  • RTÉ Ireland

Donal’s Irish Adventure

Having spent more than a decade travelling all four corners of the world in search of delicious food, Irish man Donal Skehan realised that there was so much to discover on his own front door and he is determined to keep up the habit.

Join Donal along with his trusty sheepdog Max as his travel companion – as they embark on a food-filled Road Trip around Ireland “Donal’s Irish Adventure”. In an 8-episode journey of discovery, Donal will take in all the places he’s never had a chance to visit, tick some culinary hotspots off his foodie bucket list and – inspired by visits to some of Ireland’s finest artisan food and drink producers – will whip up a few delicious dishes along the way.

Donal will travel the length and breadth of Ireland, meeting the characters who will bring us into their own special places; from foraging in West Cork with the “seaweed whisperer” to beekeeping in the Boyne Valley, and Game of Thrones-style reenactments on the wild Antrim coast. Inspired by his trip, he’ll be cooking on location and at his home, with delicious recipes including Kinsale Lobster Rolls for lunch and Howth Head Chowder for supper, Irish Blue Cheese Scones for elevenses and Waterford Blaas for breakfast!

Donal’s Irish Adventure airs on PBS from March 16th 2024.

Episode 1


Join Donal Skehan and his dog Max on an unforgettable adventure around the picturesque town of Dingle, County Kerry. Setting sail for a spot of whale and dolphin spotting on a sea safari can build up quite an appetite, and Donal is all too happy to find himself in the kitchen of The Fish Box, where Deirdre’s secret recipe batter and freshly caught fish combine to tide Donal over for the next leg of his journey.

Donal has his pottery-throwing skills put to the test by Louis Mulcahy in his studio, but soon finds his newfound abilities overshadowed by the marvellous craftsmanship of early Christian monks at the historic beehive huts. Cycling along the coast, Donal heads to Coumeenoole Beach, featured in ‘The Quiet Man,’ to marvel at the stunning stretches of the coastline.

A few ice cream samples from Murphy’s later and Donal is ready to learn the intricacies of a perfect Irish whiskey at the Dingle Distillery, before trying his hand at putting his very own Dingle spin on a Louisiana classic!

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Episode 2

West Cork

Donal and Max are off to West Cork in search of all the culinary delights the Rebel County has to offer.

A stop at Gubbeen Farmhouse, home to six generation dairy farmers, to see (and sample!) the cheesemaking process gives Donal a taste of the rich food culture to be found in the South West.

Fuelled up and ready to go, Donal and Max decide to take in the dazzling West Cork coastline by sea and try their hand, or in Max’s case, paw, at paddle boarding, but soon learn that it’s hard to keep your balance!

Donal attempts the One Hundred Steps climb at the stunning 18th Century Bantry House and Gardens before getting his hands dirty foraging for wild seaweed in Castletownsend – the trip that inspires his first recipe – Gubbeen Cheese and Thyme Soda Bread – with a pinch of Dillisk.

Next it’s off to visit the Queen of Fish Smoking, Sally Barnes in her secluded log cabin in the hills, followed by a visit to the historical and culinary haven of Kinsale.

After a jam-packed journey, Donal knows that the best way to digest the day’s adventures is by taking in stillness of water while whipping up a fresh Kinsale lobster roll at Summercove.

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Episode 3


Donal Skehan and his trusty canine companion Max are headed west in search of the scenery, tranquility, and of course, the delicious food that Galway has to offer. Donal invites us to follow along as gets up close and personal with Connemara ponies and learns to bring his own personality to traditional “Sean Nos” Dancing, all while taking in the unmatched beauty and character that he encounters at every turn.

Next up, the pair hop on the ferry to the Arran Island of Inis Mor and find that there’s no better way to take in his surroundings than by horse and trap! However, gazing in awe over the dizzying heights of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Dun Aonghasa leaves Donal a bit peckish, so he sets off to Kylemore Abbey, where the historic setting provides a perfect backdrop as he shares the best way to prepare fresh, local oysters.

Max soon meets his match when he and Donal witness a demonstration by Joy Joyce, expert sheepdog trainer, and his dogs, then it’s off for a spot of lunch at Misunderstood Heron in Ireland’s only fjord, Killary Fjord. A trip on a traditional Galway Hooker fishing boat is the perfect way to round out Donal’s unique journey to reveal the true charm of Ireland’s west coast.

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Episode 4


Donal and his trusty sheepdog Max venture to the South East Coast of Ireland to the land of Crystal, Vikings and dog yoga(?) – County Waterford. Having recently been voted the best place to live in Ireland, Donal wants to know what all the fuss is about.

The adventure kicks off on Waterford’s famous greenway cycle path, where Donal meets skater girl and dancer “Bonnie Boux” to ask why she loves to use the Greenway to practice her moves.

After a swift twerk tutorial, it’s time to say goodbye to Bonnie and Donal travels to an unlikely spa destination – the Waterford Gaeltacht! – where he enjoys some well-earned rest and relaxation at Solás na Mara’s unique seaweed baths. All this chill time calls for a hearty meal as Donal prepares simple and comforting Bangers and Parsnip Mash with Crispy Black Pudding.

Onward they go and Donal meets with Master craftsman Eamonn Terry at “Criostal na Rinne” to learn the secrets of his world famous crystal. Well if it’s good enough for President Biden’s inauguration, it’s good enough for Donal and Max!

No trip to Waterford would be complete without a fresh, floury Waterford Blaa. Third generation baker, Dermot Walsh, invites Donal for a cuppa tea and buttery Blaa. Next, Max & Donal head off to visit the breathtaking murals that adorn the walls in Waterford where Donal has a guided tour of the interactive artwork.

Donal’s worked up a hunger and it’s on to Tramore to the award winning “Beach House” restaurant to sample their locally sourced seafood.

Poor Max has barely got a look-in on this trip so Donal has a treat in store for him. The big question is will Max Namas-stay for a bit of Dog Yoga and a Paddleboard Meditation at Dunmore East?

Donal’s Waterford Road Trip inspires his final dish, a delicious Steak Sandwich on a Waterford Blaa (of course!) on the grounds of the stunning Faithlegg House Hotel.

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Episode 5

Boyne Valley

Donal and Max are headed East towards the Boyne Valley, an area steeped in myth, legend and food traditions. First up, Donal takes on the dizzying ziplines – and his fear of heights! – at Carlingford Adventure Centre.

With feet firmly planted back on ground, Donal and Max head for the Cider Mill, home to one of Donal’s favourite tipples, the unusually named Cockagee Cider. At the 12 acre orchard in Slane, owner Mark Jenkinson explains to Donal why he prefers the ancient tradition of keeving over more modern processes.

The next stop on Donal’s County Meath Odyssey is to the 240 year old House of Rock, Slane Castle. Lady Iona Mountcharles fills him in on its more recent history as host to some of Ireland’s greatest rock concerts including U2, Madonna, Rolling Stones, Metallic and David Bowie. Donal and Max are invited to stay the night, but first Donal cooks up his Creamy Mustard and Cider Pork Chops, using local Cockagee cider.

Only in Ireland would you find a drive-thru dedicated to the illustrious potato. Donal pops by to visit Ballymakenny Spud Shack and meet Maria Flynn – the Spud Queen of Ireland.

Donal and Max float through time on a raft up the River Boyne to find out some local history before stopping at Beewise in Kilmessan, where Donal takes part in a spot of beekeeping. Paddy Gorman, head beekeeper, offers some local honey for tasting and has some advice on how to make our gardens bee-friendly. Inspired by his visit, Donal makes a beautiful crispy one pan pizza with a few Irish ingredients and topped with a drizzle of honey.

As the sun sets on his trip to Boyne Valley, Donal and Max recreate a childhood trip on Carlingford Lough aboard a 1940s tugboat, while enjoying some fresh Carlingford Oysters.

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Episode 6

River Shannon

Donal and his doggy companion Max set off for the midlands in this instalment, and what better way to start than to traverse the longest river in Ireland, the river Shannon. Donal’s trusty skipper Declan knows the Shannon like the back of his hand and brings Donal to meet local fisherman Mick for a spot of river fishing.

Donal cooks up a late lunch, a delicious Smoked Trout & Potato salad for his fellow river cruisers to enjoy, then it’s time to get back on dry land. Donal and Max venture to one of the oldest pubs in Ireland “Luker’s”, situated on the banks of the river in Shannonbridge. Here, Donal steps back in time as he meets with the pub landlord for a drink and chat in the 17th century bar.

Further down the river in county Offaly – Donal and Max visit Clonmacnoise – home to extraordinary monastery ruins founded in 544 by Saint Ciarán – but today he is greeted by fascinating travel writer, midlander Manchán Magan.

Starting the day with a delicious Breakfast Boxty, it’s time to take things closer to the modern day…well 1700s, where Donal visits the little village of Knockcroghery and meets Ethel, who has re-discovered a 300 year old craft of clay pipe making and gives Donal a one-to-one lesson in the craft.

The last stop on Donal’s tour of the Shannon is Leap Castle, rumoured to be the most haunted castle in Ireland, it boasts a turbulent history. He meets with the castle’s current owner, tin whistle player Sean Ryan to talk about living in a property with such a mysterious reputation. Donal makes a quick getaway before it gets dark and checks in to Wineport lodge for some well deserved relaxation in the hot tub.

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Episode 7


The only way is up in this episode, as Donal and his trusty sheepdog Max head northbound to County Antrim. Home to the bustling city of Belfast and to some of the island’s most spectacular landscapes. First up, Donal takes a bracing walk along The Gobbins cliff path with local guide Gerry.

Donal visits the famous Bushmills distillery where he learns the techniques involved in creating their famous casks, of course he has to sample the fruits of their labour too! Inspired by this visit, Donal whips up a whiskey and apple sweet treat on the grounds of Glenarm Castle.

Onwards to Belfast, where Donal takes a guided tour in a black cab where he discovers “hundreds of years of history in a couple of stops”.

Donal also visits Aunt Sandra’s sweet shop, a family run business where he has some hands-on experience of making their local sweet delicacy “yellowman”.

Taking a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Donal visits Michelin star restaurant “Ox” to sample their refined tasting menu and meet head chef Stephen Toman.

Suitably fed and watered, Donal takes a trip to the breathtaking glens of Antrim for a spot of fly fishing with a local guide.

The next stop on their Antrim Road Trip is a must visit for any “Game of Thrones” fan, one of the most iconic locations featured in the series: “The Dark Hedges”. Here, Donal & Max meet a cast member who challenges Donal to a battle- all in good spirits, of course! All that fake-duelling calls for a cup of tea. Luckily, Donal has the perfect accompaniment and makes his delicious Blue Cheese and Thyme scones.

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Episode 8


The last episode of the series brings Donal and Max back home to Dublin. Donal is looking forward to being a tourist in his own home town – the city is steeped in tradition, innovation, culture, craic and culinary delights and, living on its doorstep, it’s easy to take all this for granted.

Where best to start than in his boyhood village of Howth for a beautiful morning cliff walk with his wife Sofie and boys Noah and Oliver. Donal likes to cook with local ingredients and he rustles up a comforting bowl of seafood chowder with seafood caught that morning in Howth.

Bellies full, Donal and Max hop on the train into the city. No Dublin tour is complete without a stop at the Guinness Storehouse, where archivist Éilis takes Donal on a trip through the history of the pint and the innovations of Arthur Guinness before he learns the exact technique to pouring the perfect pint.

As day moves to dusk, Donal meets singer Inni-K in the 830 year old St. Patrick’s Cathedral – the perfect location to hear this contemporary artist in full voice.

Donal sets up his mobile kitchen in Powerscourt Townhouse where he rustles up a Dublin classic – Coddle. A big bowl of traditional comfort food – delicious!

Next, on a very chilly morning, Donal heads out to meet a bunch of very adventurous women who are not going to let a little chill stop them from braving the waters. The Dollymount Dames do their best to persuade Donal to join them – and even Max hops in for a quick swim!

Donal has recently returned from living in LA with a newfound curiosity about Irishness and his Irish identity. On a visit to EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum, Donal – and Max – learn about the history of Irish emigration and Donal also discovers some family secrets in the Irish Family History Centre.

For the last stop on his road trip, Donal chooses the award winning bakery, Bread 41, owned by fabulous baker boy Eoin McCluskey, to see why people are getting up at the crack of dawn to get their hands on their loaves and why Bread 41 pastries have become a Dublin staple.

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