10 Traditional Irish Foods to try while in Ireland
Ireland is known for its amazing selection of beers and spirits, but what good is a drink if you’ve nothing to eat with it? Luckily here in Ireland, we’ve developed some pretty great traditional Irish food…and only some of them involve potatoes.
1. The Full Irish
You’ve probably heard of the Full English, but we have our own take on this breakfast classic, and nobody does it better than our friends up North. The Ulster Fry is a king among fry, and even though you’ll get it in most places in Ireland, Maggie May’s in Belfast has queues out the door for a reason. Just look at this “Bumper Fry” as they call it. Good luck finishing all of it in one go!
2. Chicken fillet Roll
Even though a full Irish is hailed as the best hangover cure, many would argue the more recently established traditional Irish food, the chicken fillet roll beats it in terms of price, accessibility and variation. You can pick one up with a packet of crisps and a can of Club orange usually for less than €5. The price to food ratio is what makes this a staple of the Irish student diet. You can get these at the deli counter in most convenience shops. By the way, it’s a hard T at the end of fillet, we know it’s a French word, but we’re here for food, not a language lesson.
3. Irish Stew
Stew is one of those traditional Irish food classics that really can’t be beaten. No matter what you have, you can throw it in a pot, add in a few veggies and potatoes and BOOM, you’ve got dinner… in a few hours. Lamb is traditional in the stew but beef is often used too, and a lot of places add Guinness, just in case it wasn’t Irish enough. Stew will be on the menu in most pubs, the Oval on Abbey Street is famous for its traditional Irish stew. The Brewers Hall in the Guinness Storehouse® is the only place to sample Beef and Guinness stew while in Dublin.
4. Bacon and Cabbage (Pint of milk optional)
Maybe the least appetising sounding dish, Bacon and Cabbage is another favourite in Ireland. The bacon is barely recognisable from its skinny back-bacon relative, but instead, this bacon is best when it’s chunky and salty. If you’re still hung up on the idea of cabbage, it’s going to be so covered in delicious gravy that you won’t care. If you’re looking for a drink to go perfectly with this meal, a great big pint of milk is perfect.
5. Brown Bread
Also known as Soda Bread, brown bread could make a case for being the greatest thing that ever came out of an oven. This bread is made with a coarser flour than most bread and is allegedly much healthier than most bread. Have it in the morning cut thick and covered in butter and marmalade, or have it for lunch on the side of some soup, or with some smoked salmon on top. Try and buy it in a bakery or get it in an artisan restaurant where they make it on site. The mass produced version just isn’t the same.
6. Waterford Blaa
Staying with bread, here’s a bread that isn’t just particular to Ireland, it’s particular to County Waterford. I’m not saying that they make the best Blaas in Ireland, it’s that legally it can only be a Blaa if it is made in Waterford. It’s like the champagne of Ireland, but bread. If you want to try these floury baps, get down to Waterford, and in the morning head down to Hickey’s Bakery and get as many as you can carry. These go great with just butter or even better some thick cut bacon (we call them rashers) from a butcher and you’ve got yourself a stellar traditional Irish breakfast. You’ll struggle to get them on a Sunday morning though, they’re usually seen as a Saturday morning kind of thing.
It might be a good day for a @blaa_by_walshs_bakehouse blaa! Then again, every day is a good day for a Walsh’s blaa . . . . . . #blaa #waterford #waterfordblaa #hatch #hatchandsons #TuesdayThoughts #breakfast #brunch #irishbreakfast #irishfood #irishfry #dublinlunch #tastylunch #dublin #dublincity #visitdublin #visitireland #dublindaily #igersdublin #dublintourism#artisan #brunch #eatirish #lovindublin
I think it’s safe to say that the ultimate comfort food in Ireland is mash potato. We simply make it better than anyone, and the fact that Colcannon has a song written about it tells you all you need to know. Long before kale became known as a superfood, Irish people have been mashing it into bowls of potatoes along with milk, butter and scallions. It has to be creamy, not crumbly.
First ever #Colcannon attempt! It’s an Irish dish consisting of mashed potatoes, greens and lots of butter so what could go wrong? Adapted a recipe from Kerrygold and incorporated Blarney Castle cheese. For the greens I used finely shredded collards. This was so good and I wanted to eat the entire pot. 😳😳😳 #kitchenista #irishfood #stpatricksday #mashedpotatoes #collardgreens
If there’s one thing Irish people know how to cook its potatoes. Boxty is traditional Irish food usually found in the west particularly in counties Leitrim and Cavan. Pan Boxty, the most common variety, looks like pancakes but taste better! Traditionally eaten with butter and alongside a Full Irish, you can experiment with other toppings.
#tbt to my one traditional #fullirishbreakfast I had in #dublin. This one included a #boxty, which is an Irish #potato #pancake . The best part of the plate was the #blackpudding and the sausages. #alwaysstuffingmyface #eeeeeats #FoodSpottingRefugee #eatfamous #eatersgonnaeat #foodporn #igfood #instafood #iamalwayshungry #nomnom #noBSfood #ogluttoness #teampiggie #topcitybites #thefoodspotter #ChEatFamousFriday #foodmento #emdailypic #Ihaveaseriouscaseofwanderlust #CameForEddieAndGlenStayingForThePubs #IrishExcursion2017
9. Barm Brack
This is a Halloween speciality, and it’s yet another type of bread that we make! I have to admit that all my life I’ve called it Barn Brack, but the internet tells me that it’s Barm and not Barn, which makes me think that my whole life is a lie. Anyway, this bread is for fans of raisins as it’s pretty much half bread, half raisins, and heated up with melting butter, there’s nothing quite like it. Seeing as it’s a Halloween food, you can expect a few tricks with it, so be careful when you bite in, there might be something other than a raisin in there! If you find a pea, you won’t be getting married this year, if you find a coin, you’re going to become rich, a stick indicates that you would be in a fight, the rag, you lose all your money, and a ring means you’ll be getting married soon! Careful which
slice you take!
#Halloween tradition…. Barmbrack is the center of an #Irish Halloween custom. The Halloween #Brack traditionally contained various objects baked into the bread and was used as a sort of fortune-telling game. In the barmbrack were: a pea, a stick, a piece of cloth, a small coin (originally a silver sixpence) and a ring. Each item, when received in the slice, was supposed to carry a meaning to the person concerned: the pea, the person would not marry that year; the stick, would have an unhappy marriage or continually be in disputes; the cloth or rag, would have bad luck or be poor; the coin, would enjoy good fortune or be rich; and the ring, would be wed within the year. Other articles added to the brack include a medallion, usually of the Virgin Mary to symbolize going into the priesthood or to the Nuns, although this tradition is not widely continued in the present day. #Barmbrack (Irish: bairín breac), also called Barnbrack or often shortened to brack, is a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins….. #theirishjewelrycompany
Finally the piece de resistance of traditional Irish food. A Sunday Carvery is a magical thing and one enjoyed by all ages. It’s basically a roast dinner, but done in a buffet style where you line up, and see which big hunk of roast meat you want to be cut for you. As you walk along the assembly line, you’ll be asked if you want mash or roast potatoes (pro tip, you can ask for both) which vegetables you want and if you want gravy (always yes). You can either get a full portion or a half portion and often a half portion is more than enough, with chefs being rather generous in piling your plate high. Again, a pint of milk is a perfect accompaniment to this meal.
So there you have it, a guide to eating and drinking your way around Ireland!
Honourable mentions to Taco cheese chips and garlic cheesy chips from Supermac’s after a night out, a 3 in 1 from a local Chinese takeaway, and batter burgers from a local chip shop.
If you are planning on visiting Ireland to try some of these traditional foods in person don’t forget to get out of the capital and see a bit of the country with a day trip from
Dublin. Reserve your space today!