Ireland Food and Drink
Long gone are the days when a meal in Ireland was something to be faced with trepidation. Irish produce is increasingly well regarded, with special focus given to its local meat, poultry and seafood products – Dublin Bay Prawns and Skeaganhore Duck being two specific examples.
The coastal waters and inland lakes and rivers offer a trove of fresh fish, including salmon, trout, lobster, mussels, periwinkles and, of course, oysters – a foodstuff Guinness could almost have been created to accompany.
Local ingredients are at the heart of the culinary boom which has taken hold of Ireland in the last decade or so. Those in search of genuinely good food won’t have to search too far to be well rewarded – Dublin in particular has a significant number of Michelin stars.
Cookery schools have sprung up around the country, offering classes all year round, ranging from professional training to smaller, informal courses run by enthusiastic chefs in rural restaurants. Soda bread, Dublin coddle (pork stew) and Irish stew are among the dishes that can be perfected.
Dublin Bay prawns: Otherwise known as langoustines.
Oysters: Usually served with soda bread, and accompanied by Guinness.
Irish stew: Now mostly made with lamb or juicy beef, and usually served with potatoes, stock, onions, carrots and garlic.
Crubeens: Pigs' trotters, typically battered.
Colcannon: A mixture of mashed potatoes and cabbage cooked together.
Wild salmon: Look out for it on menus from April to June.
White pudding: Similar to black pudding, and a common component of full Irish breakfasts.
Dublin coddle: A leftover dish, commonly with sausage, bacon, potato and onion.
Guinness: The stout is omnipresent across most of the country.
Irish coffee: Strong black coffee, brown sugar and whiskey with cream.
Whiskey: Popular brands include Jameson, John Powers Gold Label, Hewitts, Midleton, Old Bushmills, Paddy, Reserve and Tullamore Dew.
The customary tip in Ireland is 10-12%. Many hotels and restaurants add this in the form of a service charge indicated on the menu or bill. It is not customary to tip in bars unless you have table service.