THIS IS A country of great food.
No matter what people might say. How many of these have you tried?
1. A feed from McDonaghs chipper in Galway
2. Good black pudding
White pudding is good, but it cannot compare. Try Clonakilty or any one of the many smaller brands making delicious, spicy, oaty, breakfast heaven.
3. Hillbilly’s Chicken in Cork
4. Horse meat sandwich from Paddy Jack’s
An institution in the Temple Bar Food Market. Also the first (?) person in Ireland to ADMIT to selling horse meat. Because he does it completely openly, obviously.
5. Home-cooked bacon and cabbage
Ideally with boiled spuds and white parsley sauce.
Bacon and cabbage is a humble combination. However, if cooked well, it is without question one of the most beautiful meals in existence. (The cabbage should be soft but not soggy.)
6. A really good pint of Guinness
Yes, it’s the work of a giant international conglomerate. Yes, its association with Ireland is cynically nurtured by a multi-million euro marketing effort. But it’s cold, creamy and delicious and sometimes it is perfect.
7. Donuts from the O’Connell Street stand in Dublin
We have it on good authority that these donuts have caused actual addiction problems.
8. Open crab sandwich from either Cronin’s in Crosshaven or O’Sullivan’s in Crookhaven
Grab a table outside*, order some seafood and a pint, and wait for the good times to roll.
*If the day is sunny. Otherwise the good times will not roll.
A divisive one, this. Some swear by its delights. Some say they would rather claw out their own eyes than eat a dish of boiled sausages and bacon. But it can be absolutely wonderful, so shouldn’t you try it and see?
10. A picnic from Cork’s English Market
If it’s good enough for Queen Elizabeth II, it’s good enough for you. (This applies to the English Market, but not to hats, in which she has frankly questionable taste.)
11. Any dish with proper, big, local scallops
Eat them with bacon, or black pudding, or just on their own seared in a pan. Divine.
12. Superquinn sausages
You know the drill. Or you could go to one of the many butchers making their own delicious sausages, but Superquinn is a decent start.
13. Good Irish whiskey
No, NOT Jameson. Try anything from the Kilbeggan Distilling Company, or one of the more adventurous varieties from the big producers.
14. Fresh Carlingford oysters
Baked in garlic butter and breadcrumbs, or just raw with lemon juice, Tabasco and a cold pint of stout.
(Actually Galway oysters are great too, but we felt Louth needed a little more love.)
15. Murphy’s sea salt ice cream in Dingle
You can get it on Wicklow Street in Dublin too, but it tastes better in the sea air.
16. Afternoon tea at the Shelbourne
Still an institution after all these. The food is good, but the surroundings are spectacular. Nothing better to make yourself feel like a fancy type.
17. Craft beer
The last few years have brought an explosion of small breweries around Ireland, most of them making flavoursome, varied, complex beer that’s streets ahead of the big breweries. Some of the biggest small brewers are O’Haras in Carlow, Metalman in Waterford and Trouble Brewing in Kildare. However, we’re big fans of Kinnegar Brewing from all the way up in Donegal.
18. Rasher sandwich made with a blaa
It’s weird that Waterford is famous for what is essentially a specific kind of bap, but there we are. And there’s no denying that blaas are delicious. Get a fresh one, butter it, find some bacon and enjoy probably the greatest rasher sandwich experience you’ll ever have.
How many have you tried? Let us know in the comments!