Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eating Ireland

Some of you may have noticed I didn't post last week. My wife and I went on a trip to Ireland. That is the Blarney Castle above.

Being a foodie the first thing that I do when I decide to go on vacation is check out the food scene. Ireland's food scene  seem to be a bit fuzzy, I could see a lot of the stereotypical dishes stews, shepherds pies, lamb dishes. Here and there I would find an article about new chefs updating the cuisine. The seafood seemed to be the area where the revolution was taking place. What I found was if you went to a pub you found the traditional dishes, if you went to a restaurant you found an eclectic mix of food. Italian seemed to dominate, even some of the pubs served tiramisu. There were a few curry dishes, I imagine that comes from the British influence. The thing that surprised me most about the food was that you have an island with many small fishing towns on the coast and that very little fish is eaten. Our tour guide said that until the last few years fish was eaten less than once a week. With the health food movement in Ireland the Irish now average eating fish once a week. Most of the fish is frozen and imported, according to the tour guide.

Here are pictures of some of the meals we had in Ireland. Pubs and Castles built before electricity have rally poor lighting, so I will apologize for the pictures in advance.

The first night we had dinner at Bunratty Castle. At Bunratty you get an authentic medieval entertainment and a meal. The only piece of silverware you get is a dagger (knife), so be prepared to get messy fingers. We started with the best potato soup I have ever eaten, I want that recipe. I am sure it is something like 1 pound of potatoes, 1 gallon of cream and 5 pounds of butter to taste that good.
The next course was Pork Ribs. They claimed that there were no finer ribs in all of Ireland. All I will say is thank God I live in North Carolina and not Ireland then.
The next course was Capons with wine sauce and boiled vegetables.
For dessert we had a berry mousse.
Stopping at a pub a couple of nights later here is what we got. Annette got Potato Cakes. these Potato Cakes were fantastic, in fact the people that ordered them are still talking about them.
I had to try the Lamb Guinness Stew, it was very good.
On our last night we went to the Merry Ploughboy, a pub that feature authentic Irish music and dancing. My wife got the beef stew, the wedge is a slice of bread. 
I ordered the Lamb Shank. I have never had lamb shank before, I am hoping to find it locally as I wouldn't mind having it again.
My last culinary event in Ireland was a trip to the Guinness factory. After the tour you get a free pint. Most people go to a round all glass bar where you can over look the city. We opted to go to a class on how to pour a pint of Guinness correctly. My wife and I are now certified in properly pouring a pint of Guinness. Since it takes a few minutes to get your certificate we had to sample our pints, that is why they are not full.
PS. Before I went to Ireland I mentioned I tore my meniscus (cartilge in my knee). The day after we got back from Ireland I went to the doctor about my knee and I am having surgery on Tuesday. No cooking Thanksgiving dinner for me. Luckily Lynn, my oldest child, has decided she wants to make Thanksgiving dinner. Next week when I am resting my knee I will write more about the trip and try to add some recipes.


  1. Lovely to read you had a great vacation here in Ireland. There are so many more chefs and restaurants up and down the country offering much more than Italian. You should pay us another visit just to try out some more amazing places :)

  2. Unfortunately, when you go on a group tour you have to eat where the tell you or if you have free time eat within walking distance of the hotel. I would love to go again and explore on my own. I am positive we can find better places to eat. I can say that the places we did eat were all good, we didn't have a bad meal the entire time we were there.

  3. Oh my, where do I begin. I love that potato soup idea with butter and cream, yum. I have to say it certainly is beautiful there. We go to an Irish pub here called Omalleys every Friday for a fish and chips. I love the lamb too. I recently made Lamb shanks, in a cabernet sauce. I havent posted yet. Those potato cakes look yummy too whats in them? I laughed about those best ribs, they looked like catsup was all over them lol. I love that photo of the berry mousse looks really light and was it lemony?
    Beautifully done post... well written, makes me want to go there now! I will light a candle tonight at our service for you, hope your knee is better soon and your surgery is quick.... Take care glad to see you back, Cheers!

  4. I will post later in the week if I am up to it with some photos of the scenery. Ireland is absolutely gorgeous. We had fish and chips at a wonderful pub called Fitzpatrick's I believe. I have a picture of the pub with a large Guinness ad painted on the outside. My first lamb shank and it was wonderful. The ribs were not good very mild barbecue sauce and very fatty and gristly. I would have to say the ribs were my least favorite thing I ate in Ireland and that includes the Black and White pudding (blood sausage). I didn't have the potato cakes but they contained spinach. The berry mousse was light, but not lemony. Thanks for lighting a candle for me. The surgery should be over in less than 1 hour, so I am not stressing over it.

  5. Wow you had a best foodie trip ever;))And that in such a nice country.Lucky you;)

  6. I woud have skipped straight to the berry mousse! So glad you both had a great time in Ireland! And I am SO sorry that you have to have surgery this Tuesday. Take care of yourself and I'll be sending you (and your daughter Lynn!) positive vibes.

  7. Just beautiful! I visited Ireland in 1992, I was not a true foodie to appreciate it all. I told my husband we need to go together. I will never forget when I was in Cork, at the little pub, I had my first experience with smoked salmon. Thinking back, it was amazing, then I wasn't to sure:-) Your trip sounds like it was amazing, especially the Guinness tour, YUM!!! Take care, Terra

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