Skip to main content

Latest News

UCC appoints Darina Allen as Adjunct Professor

30 May 2024
  • Irish food champion Darina Allen appointed to Adjunct Professor role at UCC
  • Appointment to benefit students of UCC’s Masters in Food Studies and Irish Foodways
  • Allen to mark appointment with public lecture next Wednesday

University College Cork (UCC) today announces the appointment of Dr Darina Allen as Adjunct Professor to Adult Continuing Education and the Department of Folklore and Ethnology.

As a champion of Irish food and Irish food culture for over forty years, Darina Allen has led the national conversation on Irish food through her food education programmes, writing, cookery books, television work, and ongoing food activism.

Dr Allen will bring her extensive food knowledge and her in-depth understanding of the Irish food system to UCC’S MA in Food Studies and Irish Foodways.

The MA, which has run since 2019, has seen successive cohorts of students expand and professionalise their knowledge of economic, political, social, and cultural aspects of Irish food and food production.

The UCC programme provides an in-depth analysis of Irish food culture by exploring how the Irish food system works; analysing the environmental dimensions of food production in Ireland; examining aspects of nutrition and health, alongside providing a deep exploration of Irish food history, folklore, tradition, and heritage.

Speaking on her appointment, Darina Allen said:

“I am honoured to be appointed as Adjunct Professor to UCC’s food studies programme. Food education has been at the heart of my work in both formal and informal settings for over 40 years. The cookery school provides students with essential life skills to choose and control how they build relationships with food and food producers.

“It is very encouraging to see that academic institutions are slowly beginning to realise the crucial role that food education plays in the health of the students plus safeguarding the wellbeing of people and the planet as we face into a future of uncertainty. Our energy, vitality, and ability to concentrate and achieve is influenced by the food we eat.

“Informed and powerful education results are best produced by combining the academic with the practical and I am eager to contribute such insights to UCC’s master’s programme and I hope that this reciprocal relationship will be of benefit to both our institutions,” she said.

Director of Adult Continuing Education, Dr Séamus Ó Tuama said;

“Darina is one of Ireland’s most esteemed food advocates. Her experience and work at grassroots level with food production and industry provides new and fresh inspiration and direction to guide our students on the MA in Food Studies and Irish Foodways. Her advice and her sharing of her well-informed and on-the-pulse knowledge enables Adult Continuing Education to be best-positioned in aligning our MA programme with future food trends and industry needs.”

MA in Food Studies and Irish Foodways Programme Manager Regina Sexton said,

“The university took a unique approach in designing this food studies programme. As an emerging field of academic interest, food studies programmes are increasing in education institutions in the global north, but most spread the net very wide in attempting to explore food in a very general or global sense without delving deep into the intricacies of local and domestic aspects of food and food production,” she said.

To mark Dr Allen’s appointment, the university will host her inaugural lecture on Wednesday 5 June, at 6.30pm.

Her lecture, “Do We Know the Story Behind the Food We Eat?” is free to attend and open to the public, but is already booked out.

To join a waiting list in case of cancellations, please contact Regina Sexton via

Dr Allen’s appointment coincides with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Myrtle Allen, and the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Yeats Room in Ballymaloe House.

To celebrate this, Wednesday’s lecture will be followed by a panel discussion on Myrtle’s contribution to Irish food and cooking with panellists Rory O’Connell, Ballymaloe Cookery School; Wendy Whelan, Ballymaloe House, and Ballymaloe House Executive Head Chef, Dervilla O’Flynn.

University College Cork

Coláiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh

College Road, Cork T12 K8AF