What do you eat in Ireland: typical dishes, tips and curiosities about Irish cuisine

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Martí Micolau

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Irish cuisine offers a variety traditional dishes based mainly on meat, while fish is favored in coastal areas. The ingredient often present in recipes is the potato, widely used to be stuffed and cooked in many different ways, from the classic fried chips to be enjoyed with fish, to those cooked for savory pies and tasty flans. Among the typical Irish culinary products, then, can not miss the alcoholic drinks like the beloved Guinness, the world famous dark beer, Irish Whiskey, synonymous with history and tradition and then the many desserts, where sometimes even beer and whiskey make a foray.

Let's find out together what you eat in Ireland: typical dishes, tips and curiosities about Irish cuisine!


  1. 10 Typical Irish dishes
  2. Typical Irish sweets
  3. Drinks and spirits: what you drink in Ireland
  4. Tips and trivia: where to eat and what to avoid
  5. User questions and comments

10 Typical Irish dishes

1 - Irish Stew

Among the traditional Irish dishes par excellence, can not miss the Irish Stew, whose recipe is one of the oldest, probably dating back to 800.

It is about Irish stew, with mutton or lamb, cooked for a long time and slowly, served with potatoes, onion, carrots, various herbs and vegetables. Over time each region has created and handed down its own version, but according to tradition the meat used since ancient times was that of mutton, when cooking for hours and hours was done in the open air.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 12,00
  • Main ingredients: lamb or mutton, carrots, onion, potatoes, salt, bay leaf, parsley, black pepper

2 - Colcannon

Another traditional dish, based on simple but tasty ingredients, namely potatoes, cabbage, milk and butter. It is a kind of mashed potatoes with the addition of chopped cabbage (or savoy cabbage) to be eaten especially in winter.

In some regional variants there is also the Colcannon of meat, in which potatoes are accompanied by ham or smoked bacon. At restaurant tables, the dish is often served as a side dish with Irish Stew.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 6,50
  • Main ingredients: potatoes, cabbage, butter, onions, milk, pepper, parsley

3 - Seafood Chowder

A fish-based soup, in which its peculiarity lies in the presence of fresh and smoked fish, up to 5 types, including molluscs and crustaceans, cooked together with potatoes, onion and celery.

The result is a very dense and colorful soup to be consumed mainly in the winter period, while in some places it is chosen as the cornerstone of the feast of St. Patrick. In some versions it is also possible to find the addition of bacon.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: salmon, mussels, clams, cod, prawns, potatoes, onion, bacon, black pepper, fish broth, bay leaf

4 - Lobster Salad

It is a typical dish of the coastal areas, since its undisputed protagonist is the famous Atlantic lobster. The freshly caught lobster is steamed, only to be accompanied by a little mayonnaise, chives, celery, lettuce, avocado and lots of lemon juice: a simple dish but with an authentic taste of the sea.

For those who want to make the meal even tastier it can be added some classic classic french fries.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 12,00
  • Main ingredients: lobster, potatoes

5 - Irish Potato Soup

Traditional dish linked tofood always associated with Ireland: potato. In fact, since 1500, the Irish have very often seen this food served on their tables, among the various recipes there is the eternal potato soup.

The soup is also seasoned with butter, onion, celery, milk, garlic, salt, ground black pepper and should be eaten hot, in cold winter days: a real moment of well-being for the body. In many families, Irish Potato Soup is one of the meals to be enjoyed on St. Patrick's Day, perhaps with meat, such as bacon and sausage.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 6,50
  • Main ingredients: potatoes, leek, onion, milk, chicken broth, celery, bay leaf, parsley, butter, beer

6 - Irish Cheddar and Stout Fondue

It is a potato-based fondue (often the red ones), various vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, along with apples, carrots and lots of cheddar and grated cheese. The vegetables are steamed, placed on the edges of the plate and then stuffed with melted and previously boiled cheese, mixed with flour and onions browned in butter. Everything is enhanced by the addition of Guinness beer mugs.

It usually comes served as an appetizer, especially on St. Patrick's Day.

  • Recommended to: starter
  • Average cost: € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: red potatoes, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, carrots, flour, cheddar, Irish beer, Dijon mustard

7 - Fish Pie

Among the various typical dishes to be enjoyed in Ireland there are also different savory pies, prepared with the most varied ingredients. The Fish Pie features the fish, usually cod or salmon (or in general white-fleshed fish), which is covered with a tasty crust of boiled potatoes, also stuffed with butter and arranged so as to "seal" the filling.

The result is a cake from crunchy topping and creamy inside, a true delight of sweet and decisive flavors. In some variations you will also find mushrooms and crumbled hard-boiled eggs.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 6,00
  • Main ingredients: potatoes, milk, salmon, cod, leek, flour, salt, nutmeg, black pepper

8 - Soda Bread

While not a real dish, Soda Bread is the typical yeast-free bread of Ireland to taste on a trip. Its peculiarity lies in fact in the use of bicarbonate instead of yeast, in a mix of white flour and wholemeal flour, addition of yogurt, milk (whose acidity on the bicarbonate acts in a leavening way) and lemon juice.

The result of this preparation is a soft and compact bread, which can accompany different dishes: excellent to dip into some hot soup, and equally good to eat at breakfast, toasted and stuffed with jam or chocolate cream.

  • Recommended to: side dish
  • Average cost: € 2,00
  • Main ingredients: white flour, wholemeal flour, yogurt, milk, lemon juice, salt, sodium bicarbonate

9 - Fish and Chips

Food typical of the Anglo-Saxon world, even in Ireland you will want to eat a tasty dish of Fish and Chips, perhaps while you are on the street, in street food formula, or as an appetizer in restaurants, or again, at the end of a long evening in some pub with a mug next to it of Guinness.

In the plate (or in the classic rolled paper) there is obviously a delicious mix of fish, usually cod, battered and then fried, accompanied by the inevitable chips (or in some cases you can find fried vegetables). As a seasoning salt, some sauce including mustard, ketchup and maienese and the moment of pleasure for the palate is served.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: cod, potatoes, egg yolks, flour, milk, brewer's yeast, shallot, salt, extra virgin olive oil

10 - Wild Irish Salmon

One of Ireland's finest foods is definitely the wild Irish salmon. Salmon is prepared according to different techniques, steamed, grilled or put in the oven. Wild Irish Salmon usually requires the fish to be served on a potato cream, obtained by adding onion, cream, salt and chives. In other variations, the salmon is accompanied only by vegetables.

It is a traditional dish, but which is more and more often found in finger food formula, flavored with pepper and salt.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 15,00
  • Main ingredients: salmon, cloves, salt, cinnamon, chilli, onion, cucumbers

Typical Irish sweets

The Irish culinary tradition includes numerous sweets, much loved by locals. The recipes are from various eras, alongside those linked to tradition, there are those born more recently, also thanks to the influence of ethnic cuisine. Special ingredients that make Irish desserts still more authentic are Guinness beer and Irish Whiskey.

1 - Guinness Cake

Guinness, dear to the Irish, cannot be missing even in desserts. It is a cake widespread in the country and according to the original recipe it would be a fruit dessert flavored with beer.

In fact, during your trip to Ireland you will notice in the windows of the pastry shops and in the menus of the restaurants, the most common variant of Guinness Cake with cocoa, whose appearance is actually linked to that of a nice mug of beer: a layer of white cream on the dark base and on the surface.

  • Average cost: € 6,00
  • Main ingredients: sugar, butter, eggs, flour, cocoa, baking powder, mascarpone, Guinness beer

2 - Currant Squares

Ideal for one afternoon snack, given the small size and intense taste, Currant Squares are pieces of cake, made from shortcrust pastry filled with currant sauce (the red sauce much appreciated by the countries of Northern Europe).

It is a real one Irish tart, to be enjoyed, according to local customs, together with a nice cup of tea. Currant Squares are also prepared on the occasion of St. Patrick's Day.

  • Average cost: € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: shortcrust pastry, butter, sugar, raisins, apple, lemon zest

3 - Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse Cake

The Irish Cream Chocolate Mousse Cake is a very rich and delicious cake, whose recipe is thanks to Geri Gilliand, the chef originally from Belfast who works in California.

The massive cake with an unmistakable appearance, is made from layers of sponge cake dipped in Irish whiskey cream and filled with chocolate mousse. To top it off, everything is covered with crunchy chocolate curls. Surely it is the dessert that cannot be missing on the tables of the Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

  • Average cost: € 5,00
  • Main ingredients: eggs, sugar, chocolate, whipped cream, Irish Cream

4 - Lemon and vanilla curd cake

It is a sort of cheesecake whose original recipe seems to date back to the th century. In the Lemon and vanilla curd cake a perfect balance of delicate and fresh flavors is achieved, in which lemon and vanilla come together to give a truly inviting scent.

The Lemon and vanilla curd cake can be eaten in any time of day. Ideal is accompanied by a warm cup of tea or a nice glass of Irish Coffee.

  • Average cost: € 4,00
  • Main ingredients: butter, vanilla, eggs, flour, lemon, ricotta, sugar

5 - Rice pudding

It is a classic but always tasty dessert, in which the Rice pudding (also typical of England) is covered with a caramelized crust on the surface.

Inside the creaminess of the dessert it also depends on the season, in fact, the pudding can be served cold, therefore more compact, and hot, therefore more dense, according to your preferences. The dessert, usually presented in monoportion, lends itself to being seasoned with various ingredients, such as mango sauce, or with berries, blueberries, strawberries or raspberries. Ideal for breakfast, it is also very nutritious.

  • Average cost: € 5,00
  • Main ingredients: milk, coconut milk, cream, vanilla, butter, sugar, eggs, arborio rice, mango, lemon juice

Drinks and spirits: what you drink in Ireland

The Irish favorite alcoholic beverages are diverse, but the country certainly can boast of being the birthplace of most popular dark beer in the world: Guinness. Next to it, equally well known and appreciated, there is the Irish Whiskey, produced and consumed for some time now and has become a real symbol of Ireland. Finally, a drink that has become very popular in both England and Ireland is Cider, apple juice with an alcohol content, with a fresh and fruity flavor.

1 - Guinness

The history of beer dates back to 1759, when the Arthur Guinness Son & Co. factory was founded in Dublin. Since that time the dark beer dal unmistakable bitter taste has become famous, being appreciated not only in Ireland but also around the world.

Over time, in fact, the production has diversified, so today there are Guinness from alcoholic grades and different tastes. In general, the standard alcohol content is 4,2% vol. and the drink is also obtained thanks to a particular barley roasting process. During a trip to Ireland it is a must to sit in a typical pub and order a glass of Guinness, perhaps along with some classic chips.

  • Average cost: € 5,00
  • Main ingredients: water, malted barley, hops, yeast, roasted barley

2 - Irish whiskey

Ireland is the birthplace of another world-famous alcoholic beverage: whiskey. Irish whiskey owes its particularity to triple distillation which characterizes its production, as well as the necessary conservation of the distillate for at least 3 years in wooden barrels.

According to tradition it was precisely Saint Patrick to bring from Egypt the alombicco, the machinery for the production of perfumes, which was immediately used by the Irish to distil water and barley.

  • Average cost: € 4,50
  • Main ingredients: water, malted cereals, yeasts

3 - Cider

Cider is one alcoholic drink made from apple juice (or pear) very popular in the UK, but also in Ireland, where the production of cider has grown considerably over time. The origin of the drink is very ancient, it seems that it was already consumed around the third millennium BC in Spain, and that it was also appreciated by the ancient Romans and Greeks. In England and later in Ireland, cider became popular starting in 1066.

Among the most popular types of cider in Ireland there is certainly the Bulmers, which is served in pubs on tap, just like beer.

  • Average cost: € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: apple juice, lemon juice, brewer's yeast, malic acid

4 - Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee is a drink invented by the Irish in the 40s. According to tradition, the credit goes to chef Sheridan, who conceived the drink with the aim of relieving the fatigue of some passengers, whose flight was canceled during the night.

It is a long and sweet coffee served in a large preheated glass, in which it comes added some Irish whiskey. On the top, however, whipped cream is sprinkled. In some cases the drink is further flavored with the addition of spices, such as cinnamon. If you want to try a truly correct coffee, Irish Coffee is the ideal drink.

  • Average cost: € 3,50
  • Main ingredients: coffee, liquid fresh cream, sugar, Irish whiskey, whipped cream

Tips and trivia: where to eat and what to avoid

To enjoy the most authentic Irish cuisine you need to go in classic pubs, those that with soft lights, football matches broadcast on TV and Guinness mugs, become the meeting place for locals and tourists. The pub is not only a place to eat and drink, but it is also a real mood, a convivial moment where people relax, eat and toast together.

On the street, moreover, you will happen to meet small kiosks, where you can buy typical street food items, such as a classic portion of fish & chips, convenient to eat around the streets of Ireland.

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