Poor house bread or lovingly known as Boxty, this dish is easily described as potato pancakes. Fried potatoes are finely grated then mixed with mashed potatoes as well as flour and salt to create the main flavors. This mix is then melded with a pancake-like batter and fried thoroughly in a pan with butter. It can easily play well with a variety of breakfast foods like bacon and eggs, but most commonly, it is paired with stew.
Try It: Located in Dublin, Gallagher’s Boxty House is perhaps the best place to sample this dish. Owned by a renowned potato expert, it serves a fantastic Gaelic Boxty that is paired with whiskey cooked beef and mushroom cream cheese.
2. Traditional Irish Stew
Composed of mutton, onions, and potatoes, traditional Irish stew is a popular yet tasty dish. In some instances, carrots are also used in the stew. To ensure that the meat is tenderized, the ingredients are slowly cooked for many hours. Used as the ideal food for wintertime, Irish stew is a dish dating back hundreds of years. Additional flavoring is added to the stew through the use of common herbs like rosemary, thyme or bay leaves. Lamb stew is more readily available in modern times as mutton is hard to come by.
Try It: Located in Dublin, The Brazen Head is one of the oldest pubs in Ireland. It is also a fantastic place to sample traditional stew among many seafood offerings.
3. Soda Bread
Just like they enjoy their pub traditions, the Irish are famously bread lovers, but Irish soda bread is perhaps the longest tradition. Most families have soda bread recipes that are passed down through the generations. Commonly, the yeast is replaced with soda, hence the name. The ingredients also encompass a wide range of foodstuffs such as buttermilk and flour as well as sugar, optional dried fruits, oats or bran.
Try It: Located in County Cork, Ballymaloe Cafe has some of the best soda bread Ireland has to offer.
4. Irish Blood Sausage
Drisheen is a breakfast food that is best described as Irish blood sausage. It is composed of a number of ingredients such as pork meat, blood, fat, oatmeal, suet, and barley. Many restaurants offer Drisheen on their menus as it is a popular item. Soups, salads, scallops or eggs are often paired with this dish. It is also a fantastic accompaniment to soda bread or any dishes featuring potatoes. Though it is not appealing or appetizing at first glance, you may wish to try it fried, grilled or boiled.
Try It: Dublin’s own Gerry’s Coffee Shop is a great place to try black and white puddings.
This is one dish that’s quite hard to pin down! It entails coddling leftovers from the week and combining them into a slow-simmering pot. This dish is usually done at the end of the week when leftovers containing bacon, sausage, and potatoes are left in the oven for many hours to cook. Dubliners especially love Coddle, and it even has some literary connections. For example, Jonathan Swift, the original author of Gulliver’s Travels, deemed Coddle his favorite dish. Another author, James Joyce, also makes this infamous cuisine appear in his works.
Try It: Located in the heart of Dublin, the Woollen Mills has not only scenic views, but amazing traditional dishes.
This is considered a dish best served on Halloween. Its unique flavors are created through the combination of sultanas and raisins to create a type of sweet fruit bread. Legend has it that the bread will contain charms that can foretell your future. For example, many Irish people will bake Barmbrack with rings, peas or coins embedded and whoever finds these special items will have a wedding within a year. Of course, Barmbrack is served year-round, and though most appreciated on Halloween, it is consumed with healthy amounts of butter and a cup of tea.
Try It: Any cafe in Dublin will happily serve this dish. You can also try your hand at re-creating it using Rachel Allen’s recipe.
7. Cockles And Mussels
The song ‘Molly Malone’ has made cockles and mussels a famous Irish dish. In the song lyrics, Molly and her wheelbarrow are carrying fresh mollusks to sell around the streets in Dublin. Ireland is home to some of the best seafood, and best of all, you don’t have to travel far to enjoy these unique flavors.
Try It: The Exchequer, the winner of the best Gastropub in 2010, serves cockles and mussels in an edited gourmet fashion. Pairing cockles and mussels with Bulmer cider, homemade bread, and spiced sausage, you can enjoy food at its finest. Another restaurant in Dublin, located next to the Ha’penny Bridge, the Winding Stair offers this dish with some fantastic tasting sides. The chefs pair it with crab, shrimps, chips, and mayo toast.