If you think about Ireland, you probably won’t think about delicious food straight away. The Irish kitchen is known for it’s pies, stews, fish and sausage. And they don’t serve those equally well in every pub. But if you look a bit further, you’ll find that Ireland has plenty more to offer.
A soil full of precious goods
There is a huge amount of local produce in Ireland which makes them one of the most self sufficient regions in the whole world! The downpours that fly over every now and then make for very green and strong grass. Good grass feeds the cows, sheep and goats so therefore makes for delicious milk, butter, cheese and meat. Ireland is on the other hand surrounded by the ocean. So you can have your pick at a whole range of fresh fish products like cockles, mussels and oysters.
The value of local produce for our planet
Local food has a ton of benefits for yourself and for the planet. Think about it when you want to eat Mexican in France or Thai in Germany next time. Local products have more nutrients and flavor. You eat according to the seasons and therefore support the local traders. The CO2 emission of the transport of your food from the soil to your plate is minimal, safer and better for the environment.
5 local food experiences you can’t miss in Ireland
Fab Food Trails and Supper club, Dublin
The chances are big you’ll pass through Dublin when visiting Ireland. Experience the city another way and go out with the Fab Food Trails. While you stroll through the red brick streets, you jump in at the best cheese store, a wine and charcuterie bar and plenty more. You’ll learn more about no waste farms and all the delicacies they make from nose to tail.
You can finish the day with a visit to the Supper Club from Erica Drum. Erica is the best host you can imagine. She welcomes you in her cozy townhouse and reveals all the secrets behind the great food she cooks. You can watch from her comfortable sofa while she tackles your dinner.
Do you prefer to go to a restaurant downtown? Then you’ve got a couple of places where the locals would go themselves: Coppinger Row, Forest Avenue and Leo Burdock’s fish and chips.
Cliff at Lyons, Celbridge
A good half hour drive outside Dublin, you reach the gorgeous domain of Cliff at Lyons. Once bought by Tony Ryan (indeed from the airplanes) and completely restored to this beauty. You can walk alongside the canal nearby, pass through the gardens afterwards and finish at the coffee bar, the cafe, the 2-star restaurant or the hotel. It’s a guarantee you’ll stumble upon a bride and her entourage here in the weekend.
What makes their food so unique and delicious is that it’s been made with 99% local products. The only thing they’re still trying to buy locally is sugar from sugar beets. They get a lot of products from their herb garden and green houses. But every week the chefs head out to go foraging in the woods and meadows nearby to return with wild ingredients. That way they make fantastic food with ingredients of which the inhabitants forgot they existed.
English Market, Cork
If the British queen gets her salmon from the English Market in Cork, you can bet they sell the best products here. Pat O’Connell, the famous fishmonger at the market, made the queen laugh about a mother in law joke here in 2011. And the rest is history. Besides royal salmon, you can come here for great jams from small batches, cheese, bread and snacks. A lot of stands sell durable pots and packaging to transport your food in.
Did you get hungry from sniffing around the market? You can get a delicious breakfast on the first floor at Farmgate. The location offers you a great view of the building at the same time. And if you don’t know what to get, take the salmon!
Mad Hatters Taste of Kinsale Festival, Kinsale
Every year the inhabitants of Kinsale prepare for months to go to the Mad Hatters Taste of Kinsale Festival in October. Tickets sell out long in advance and they tinker hard to make the maddest hat. Get carried away on this crazy afternoon where 6 groups alternate between 6 locations throughout the town. Every location has a variety of local dishes and drinks to keep you busy all day. An extraordinary experience that you have to live through to believe it!
Local beer and chocolate, Clonakilty
Clonakilty is a town full of colorful house fronts and undertaking inhabitants. It’s even the first fairtrade town in Ireland. If you want to try something else than Guinness, Thirsty Frank will help you out. His microbrewery beer is on tap in the entire region around Clonakilty. He has blond beer with citrus flavors, light and dark pale ale and dark Irish porter. You should definitely ask him about the story of Tojo the monkey on his bottles. You can also find great chocolate in Clonakilty at Exploding Tree, good cuts of meat in one of the three butchers and local milk products from 2 yogurt producers. All the milk gets supplied by family farms nearby where they know the cows by name.
Good to know
- Ireland is part of the European Union (so far) which means you can just enter with your id card. You pay with euros.
- Most people talk English, but if you want to cheers in the pub it’s better to say /shlaentche/.
- In the cities, shared bike systems can get you a long way and you can take the train to hop around the country. At smaller accommodations, they might lend you a bike or get you a taxi.
- The Trident Hotel in Kinsale is right next to the center in front of the harbor. The rooms are super comfortable and offer amazing views on the water. The hotel’s restaurant is part of the Kinsale Good Food Circle and helps to maintain the honor of ‘Top foodie town 2018’.
- Close to Clonakilty you can get a sip of California at the Inchydoney Island Resort Hotel. You can forage seaweed, blackberries and rose-hip right next to the hotel. The bay gives perfect waves for surfing and with some luck you can see a family of whales floating by. Their restaurant serves abundant portions