Ireland is known throughout the world for its quality of beers and spirits. Food and drink go hand in hand and Ireland has some excellent food choices that will not disappoint. Below is a list of some of the best food in Ireland to try on your next visit to Ireland.
Discover some of the best food in Ireland
Irish stew is fittingly one of the best foods in Ireland and most popular. The ingredients that are put in a stew can vary depending on where you eat it but traditionally it will include lamb meat, potatoes and onions flavoured with barley. The stew is traditionally cooked in a pot over a number of hours at low temperature to give it the best taste. In order for the stew to not become too watery, other ingredients can be added such as herbs and spices; the stew can be thickened by using a lamb stock. Try it and you won’t be disappointed!!
There are lots of shellfish options in Ireland and it is very popular in Irish cuisine. On the west coast of Ireland, you need to sample the oysters, which comes into season in September. Galway Oyster Festival is “Ireland’s longest running and greatest gourmet extravaganza” – The Rough Guide publication. It is held between September 20th – 24th. If in Ireland around this time – it is worth going to. Other shellfish options to sample are clams in Connemara to Molly Malone’s famed cockles and mussels, and prawns from Dublin Bay. There is a prawn festival on in Howth Co Dublin.
Black and White Pudding
This type of food can be found in a traditional Irish breakfast or as a stand-alone commonly found on menus as a starter. The most famous flavours of black and white pudding come from Clonakilty or in Kerry you will find the Sneem black pudding which is extremely popular. Pudding is not unique to Ireland but the recipe here is quite special.
Ireland is renowned throughout the world for its quality of seafood offering. Smoked salmon is a must try while here. Oak smoked salmon from the Burren region on the West Coast of Ireland, the beechwood smoked salmon from the Connemara Smokehouse or in Killarney or Cork try the award-winning smoked salmon from Quinlan’s fish restaurants.
Bacon and Cabbage
On the menu of an Irish pub or restaurant that serves traditional Irish food will be boiled bacon and cabbage. This is a firm favourite among Irish homes and is served with boiled potatoes and can come with different sauces such as parsley. The flavours of the food are incredible and will leave you extremely satisfied.
This is something that you should not depart Ireland without sampling. Like tapas are to Spanish food culture, soda bread is part of ours. Every person who makes the bread has their own recipe and adds their own unique flavour to it. The main ingredients of the soda bread are bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk form the raising agent, which is mixed in with flour. It is sliced and butter used as a topping and can be served with soup or used in sandwiches.
Barmbrack is another type of bread and it is normally had during lunch or an evening snack. It is a type of bread that is distinctive to Ireland. This bread is typically very popular around Halloween time. It is a mix of half bread and half raisins and served with butter and jam, tea or coffee – there is nothing quite like it.
Traditional Irish Fry
The traditional full Irish fry is similar to the English fry but we have our own twist on this breakfast classic. Normally, this is had at breakfast and it will set you up for the day. In Northern Ireland, you will find the Ulster Fry which is very popular and is something that you needs to taste while visiting the island of Ireland. Usual ingredients for a fry are bacon, sausages, mushrooms, black and white pudding, fried eggs, hash browns, tomatoes and beans.
In essence, colcannon is mashed potatoes mixed with chopped cooked kale, green onions, milk or cream and lots of butter. During St Patrick’s day, it is a particular favourite in Irish homes. This is served by making an impression in the middle of the mash and adding some butter.
What is special about Irish food is that many counties have some foods particular to them. The Waterford Blaa is bread but it is particular to Co Waterford. It can only be termed a Blaa if it comes from Waterford. Visit Waterford in order to try a Blaa – Waterford city is the oldest in Ireland and it is also known for its Viking culture. The Blaa goes well with butter or bacon (known as rashers in Ireland). This promises to live up to expectations.
Get in Touch- All these foods can be found on our tours of Ireland and will be on most restaurants, café or pubs menus. If you require any further information about our 2019 tours, please get in touch and one of our Irish based travel experts will be here to assist you in creating your dream holiday to Ireland.
In this month’s blog, you have the opportunity to learn about some of the 15 Best Towns To Visit In Ireland. Ireland as a country is dotted with endless beautiful towns and villages.
Ireland’s towns and villages are full of character, charm, culture and heritage that defines them as unique in their own right. Some of these towns sweep along the raw beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way to the hidden gems in Ireland’s Hidden Heart Land and Ireland’s Ancient East. The selected Best Towns To Visit in Ireland below has their own beauty that is full of creativity and uniqueness for you to experience.
This is the 15 Best Towns to Visit in Ireland
Doolin is a small village in Clare located on the west coast about five kilometres from the towering Cliffs of Moher which lie southwest of the village. Doolin is an extremely popular place with travellers with its Irish bars which are famous for playing traditional Irish “Ceili” music nightly. It is also a village where you can access the famous Aran Islands from which are not too far offshore. Doolin is in the heart of the Burren and its home to an excellent gourmet trail of different food businesses. Doolin is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland especially in the summer months where it is thriving as a tourist destination with excellent accommodation options along with craft shops and activities.
Enniskerry is located in the heart of the Wicklow Mountains and only a short drive from Dublin. It is a fantastic base to explore Glendalough, Powerscourt Gardens, Sally Gap and Lough Tay (Guinness Lake). Enniskerry itself has some terrific cafes and tea rooms. The clock tower at the centre of the village frames the town, it is a great place to relax and unwind in a beautiful day and people watch. There is an excellent array of restaurants offering great choice and you can have the chance to try someplace new every evening.
Kinsale can be known as Ireland’s Gourmet Capital. You will find exceptional seafood restaurants with fresh fish caught nearby. Great array of international food and if traditional Irish food is something you look for, Kinsale has excellent Irish food in abundance. You will find excellent bars with traditional Irish music throughout the summer months. Kinsale is also famous for its arts and crafts and will find a diverse collection to choose from. While there it is worth a drive out to the Old Head of Kinsale which offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Ardmore is situated on one of Ireland’s oldest Christian site and is ideally situated on the coastline of Ireland’s Ancient East trail. The village is extremely picturesque and has won many Tidy Town awards. Ardmore boasts a wide range of accommodation options with excellent food in the restaurants and fun pubs to visit. Ardmore boasts five beautiful beaches to choose from. The town also has a lovely cliff walk to enjoy panoramic views of Ardmore Bay and boast one of the finest Round Towers in Ireland built on the 12th century. For water enthusiasts, a great way to see the coastline is by sea kayaking. If long walking is of interest it has the St Declan’s Way ancient pilgrimage walk from Ardmore to the Rock of Cashel in Tipperary and the total distance is just over 90km.
Dingle is based in the western peninsula of Kerry. Dingle is famous for old-style Irish bars and is a mecca for seafood. It has also a thriving arts scene there with the Other Voices music festival being held there every December. Dingle has managed to retain its charm over the years in spite of its popularity. In recent years it has become famous for being a film destination with Star Wars being filmed in the area. Worth renting a bike or driving back west of Dingle and head for Slea Head, you will not be disappointed in the breath-taking scenery. If you are an Ice – cream fan, Murphy’s homemade ice cream with a selection of different flavours is well worth stopping at.
Kinvara is a scenic town on the southern shores of Galway Bay and gateway to the Burren. Kinvara is translated as “The Head of the Sea”, was once a thriving port village and lots of trade went through it for the necessities of life such as food and turf fuel in the 19th Century. Kinvara can be one of the best places that you can visit in Galway with its close proximity to Galway city, it is buzzing in the weekends with an excellent array of pubs and restaurants. Kinvara is also home to Dunguaire Castle and is one of the most popular places to visit in Galway.
Kenmare is located on the picturesque famous Ring of Kerry. As a town it has got something for everyone from its excellent choice of restaurants, bars and cafés with superb accommodation options. Kenmare is beautiful in summer when the town park gardens are in full bloom with its stunning rhododendrons collection. The town itself is beautifully situated as a great starting point for a drive along the Beara Peninsula. With golf courses, horse riding, trekking and unspoilt scenery, it is one of Europe most natural unspoilt places to visit.
This town may be small and it is situated remotely in the tranquil setting of Donegal in the north-west of Ireland. Gwedore is a Gaeltacht town with its first language spoken being Gaelic and is one of the largest places in Ireland that speak Gaelic and as a result of this, it is the heartbeat of Irish culture. Surrounded by rolling hills and mountains and long stretches of sandy beaches this is a very peaceful place and a great place to clear your head from daily life. An excellent site in Gwedore is Glenveagh National Park and Castle.
Adare in Limerick is regarded as Ireland’s prettiest villages. The main street in Adare is dotted with an array of beautiful stone buildings, medieval monasteries ruins and beautiful village park which is a great place to take a peaceful walk. The pretty thatched cottages on the main street are part of the charm of Adare and why is it a great place to visit. The town is full of historical landmarks such as Desmond Castle that dates back to the 12th century and Adare Manor which is today a luxury hotel and golf resort which re has opened in the last number of months after a two-year upgrade. With a great array of accommodation options, boutiques, craft shops and bars the village has lots to offer.
Lismore is located in the Sunny South East in the county of Waterford. Lismore is a stunning town situated in the lush countryside on the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains and is one of Waterford’s most historical towns. You can spend time here exploring Lismore castle and the gardens the town’s main tourist attractions which are over 800 years old. The castle which was built in medieval times and build on a steep hill above the town, providing excellent views over the town. Time can also be spent exploring the woodlands around the River Blackwater.
Dalkey located on the south side of Dublin city and it is home to the likes of Bono, Van Morrison, Enya and many others in the music and arts industry. In the past Vikings had a port in Dalkey which was first constructed in the 8th century. Dalkey and its neighbouring Killiney are considered one of the most affluent neighbourhood in Ireland to reside in. Today Dalkey is full of castles from its past and with a pleasant array of restaurants and bars to choose from. Close by is Killiney Hill which is an excellent place to go visit and get breathtaking views out over Dublin Bay. A peaceful village enclave not too far from the hustle and bustle of Dublin City Centre.
This coastal town along the east coast of Ireland is on Ireland’s Ancient East no more than one hour north of Dublin. The town gets its name from the Old Norse which can be translated to “narrow sea inlet of the hag”. This town is surrounding by rolling hills and has roots to the Viking past with the towns’ street showing evidence of the medieval age. Carlingford offers adventure or a complete quiet retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life. It has great live music in the bars and activities groups of friends or family. Also, it is known for its quality of fishing that can be fished from the place with oysters and crabs are often caught off the nearby harbour.
Clifden is located in Connemara and is one of the best towns to visit in Ireland if you are heading back west of Galway city exploring the national park. Not too far from Clifden is Kylemore Abbey and Gardens, one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions. Clifden may be small in stature but it packs a punch with its collection of restaurants and bars. It also has lots of arts and craft shops for you to stop at. Highly recommended is the “Sky Road” offering unparallel views over Clifden Bay.
Kilronan, Aran Islands
Kilronan is the main village on Inis Mor on the largest island of the three Aran Islands and is one of the most picturesque spots in Ireland. This was a fishing port for the Aran fisherman and presently the main function of the port is that of a ferry terminal and a place for festivals. As one of the most unique and diverse places to visit in Ireland, this should be on everyone’s itinerary to Ireland and one of the best places to visit. Kilronan has an excellent range of restaurants, serving seafood and traditional Irish bars and music.
Birr is most famous for its castle and also it is one of the most scenic places to visit in Ireland with the heritage that it has on offer. The town itself was developed around Birr Castle estate of the Parsons family. Birr is known as one of the best Georgian towns in Ireland with its wide streets and makes for a charming place to visit. Along with Birr Castle and its grandeur, it is well worth taking a walk around the estate grounds where you can be captivated with the formal gardens and the Great Telescope.
Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about Ireland and its towns and villages is to visit, immerse yourself in the history and heritage of the places. Contact us today for a quotation from our dedicated travel advisors who will be able to help you create your ideal trip to Ireland and answer any questions you may have. We can tailor your itinerary on any of our Self Drive or Chauffeured tours.
Looking for places to visit in Cork? Check out our list for our top 7 recommended things to do in the famous Rebel County!
Boasting the second biggest city and largest county in Ireland, Cork is one of the most prominent places in the Emerald Isle. It is also home to some beautiful scenery and some fantastic tourist attractions so we decided to pick out 7 of the top things to do in Cork below!
Blarney Castle & Blarney Stone
Where else could we start a list of the top things to do in Cork but with Blarney Castle and the Blarney stone? The famous stone of eloquence is situated at the top of the magnificent Blarney Castle and folklore has it that anyone who kisses it acquires the gift of eloquence or as we say in Ireland, the gift of the gab! Surrounding the castle are beautiful gardens for you to take a stroll through at your own leisure.
Cobh Heritage Centre
Another must visit during your time in Cork is the Cobh Heritage Centre which is located about 25km southwest of Cork City, in the town of Cobh. Here you are given the opportunity to learn about life in Ireland during the 18th& 19th centuries where mass emigration, the famine and criminal transportation are the main themes. The centre also hosts an exhibition on the history of the Titanic; Cobh was the last port of call before it made its final faithful voyage across the Atlantic.
Known as Ireland’s Alcatraz, Spike Island is also located near Cobh, just off the coast. Originally founded as a military instillation it later became a prison which was in operation until the 1980’s. In 2015 the island was re-opened as a tourist attraction & it was recently crowned as Europe’s leading tourist attraction. Tours of the island take in the fort, prison cells and the gun emplacements. An after dark tour is also available for those who would be interested in a more edgy but fun experience.
Of course one of the best things to do in Cork is to sample the local cuisine and the best place to start is at The English Market in Cork City Centre. Surrounded by beautiful 19th century architecture the market is famous for supplying local specialities such as drisheen (a type of blood pudding), spiced beef and buttered eggs. Even Queen Elizabeth II decided to pay a visit to the market in 2011 to see what all of the fuss was about!
Garnish Island is situated in Bantry Bay just off the West Cork coast. The island is renowned for its beautiful gardens, Martello Tower and exotic plants, most of which are rare to Ireland. A short scenic ferry cruise, departing from the village of Glengarrif, takes you out to the island. One thing to keep an eye out during the journey are the seals who frequently visit the rocks on the southern shore of the island.
For any whiskey fans then the Jameson distillery in the town of Midleton in East Cork should definitely be on your bucket list. A guided tour of the distillery begins with a short film to give you a brief background to Jameson’s history before a guide takes you through the distilling process from start from finish. At the end of the tour each participant receives a free glass of whiskey (those who are 18 and over!).
Cork City Gaol
Rounding off our list of top things to do in Cork we come to Cork City Gaol. Located within walking distance from the city centre, the museum gives you the opportunity to see what life was like inside one of Ireland’s most famous jails during the 19th & 20th centuries. Exhibitions including lifelike figures, sound effects and furnished cells make it an enjoyable experience for visitors of all ages.
Get in Touch-
The best way to learn about Cork is to visit yourself. Contact us today for a quotation including some or all of these locations today –
We’ve been working with Irish Rail and other suppliers for a few months now to develop quality Ireland Rail Tours and they are now on sale!
Our rail tours combine train trips in comfortable, modern trains with bus tours around some of Ireland’s most well-known driving routes that are not normally accessible by train such as the Ring of Kerry, the Aran Islands, the Dingle Peninsula and many more! Our rail tours include all train tickets, sightseeing coach tickets, quality accommodations and a detailed touring guide with possible places you may choose to visit while you are in each location.
These tours are flexible to your schedule, you decide what dates you want to visit Ireland, and we do the rest!
As with all of our vacation packages, we book high quality accommodations that we know very well and design itineraries that make sure you get the most out of your time in Ireland. We back that up with a 24/7 emergency helpline for any help, support or assistance you may need while you are in Ireland.
What is more, we provide all of our clients with a tailor made sightseeing guide to help you get the very most out of your precious vacation time.
‘’Every year on Saint Patrick’s day the world goes green but here in Ireland every day is bathed in green’’.
Watch this short video where Liam Neeson wishes the world a Happy Saint Patrick’s Day. If you didn’t already want to come to Ireland, this video might change your mind! 60 seconds of sweeping views and luscious green scenery combined with short glimpses of our famous culture and history! Enjoy!
We always knew that Ireland is a great nation but a recent study headed by Simon Anholt is adding more weight to this statement!
He and his team have come up with the Good Country Index and at present Ireland ranks at number 1. This makes us here at The Irish Tourism Group very proud!
The Good Country Index categorises countries according to their contribution to humanity using 35 indicators with data compiled from the United Nations, the World Bank and other institutions. This data is spread across seven categories which are Science and Technology, Culture, International Peace and Security, World Order, Planet and Climate, Prosperity and Equality, Health and Wellbeing. Watch Simon’s Ted Talk below for more detail or visit http://www.goodcountry.org/
Including craft demonstrations, craft based sightseeing, knitting workshops and some of Ireland’s best visitor attractions!
We’ve been running our Southern Ireland Knitting & Craft tours for a number of years now and we have found that there is great interest in this tour. Feedback from our previous guests has been very positive. So for 2015, we are mixing things up a bit and are running a new Knitting & Craft tour, similar to the previous tour but visiting areas in the North, Northwest & West of Ireland. For bookings made before the 31st of December 2014, we are pleased to offer a discount of €100 per person, read to the end for more details about this!
This new tour begins in Dublin; the first day is pretty relaxed, giving our guests time to rest after their long journey to Ireland. In the afternoon, if participants are feeling up to it, we will take them on a panoramic tour of Dublin stopping at Dublin Castle and the Museum of Decorative Arts and History. The latter has been a favourite stop of our past knitting tours due to the museum’s exhibition showing how different classes of people in Ireland’s past lived and what they wore. After visiting a few more attractions and enjoying an overnight stay in Dublin, the tour continues to Northern Ireland, on the way stopping at a Tapestry Weavers for a workshop as well as one of Northern Ireland’s famous Linen factories.
In Belfast tickets are included for the Creative Craft Show and time is allowed for guests to explore Belfast at their leisure. Also while in Northern Ireland we will take a journey around the spectacular Causeway Coast, visiting Dunluce Castle and of course the Giant’s Causeway itself. Then the tour continues to the City of Derry where a guided walk along the cities stone walls has been arranged. Continue to Donegal where you will first enjoy a hands on knitting class with Irish knitwear designer, Edel McBride. Then visit Studio Donegal one of Ireland’s premier hand weaving studios and stockists of a wide variety of local yarns. Other exploits in the Northern part of this tour include a visit the Belleek Pottery studio, a tour of Enniskillen Castle and a visit to the Sheelin Lace Shop and Museum.
In Mayo we will meet local knitting instructor Ciara Ní Reachtnín who will teach our group how to create the Deirdre of Sorrows Shawl pattern which is one of her own Celtic Designs. Our group will visit the museum of Country Life where traditional life in Ireland is presented through enlightening exhibits and Foxford Woollen Mills where the working of the woollen mill can be seen in great detail.
In Galway discover the wild and vast Connemara region, visiting the Sheep & Wool Centre and the famous Kylemore Abbey. On the way back we will spend time with local basket Maker Ciaran Hogan for a demonstration of traditional Irish willow basket weaving. When you return to Dublin take part in one final knitting workshop with Lisa Sisk from This is Knit before meeting in Nancy Hands pub for a wonderful farewell meal in a private area of the bar, reserved for our Knitting Tour alone.
For bookings made on our new Knitting & Craft tour by the 31st of December 2014 we are pleased to offer a €100 discount per person! Places are limited to 25, so if you are interested, do get in touch with us!