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I had terrific food in Ireland, including a lot of fish, although West Cork as Blondie already said is definitely superior to other areas. And to expand on Adrian's point which I mostly agree with the quality of the raw ingredients---eggs, butter, fish, lamb, pork, cured meats, cheeses etc.--was very high indeed. We had a couple of country house hotel meals that were just delicious, including the best eggs, porridge and brown bread I have ever had. And at dinner in the far from humble but yet not in the least grand Ballymaloe House my sister, who is uninterested in food in general, said to me oh my god this pork loin is delicious, i have never tasted anything so good. That I said is because it grew up about 100 yards away eating stuff from that enormous walled garden out back. We loved stopping for lunch and being able to have some pristine oysters followed by a ploughman's with excellent cheese. Beats most US road food.

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I've never thought of Ireland as being a country where people eat a lot of fish. I've always thought of meat, potatoes, and cabbage. Am I grossly misinformed?

There are still plenty of places that serve meat pies, stews, etc, but we sought out the fish joints when we ate out. As I was housesitting for a month (meaning access to a kitchen for the first time since November), we only ate out occasionally in town. Bray, on the coast south of Dublin, seemed mostly limited to fish and chips when it came to seafood. Damned good fish and chips, but still. There was one fish market in town, and it wasn't that nice.

 

I'll say this though- Irish potatoes are fantastic. Many varieties to choose from, even the cheaper ones taste so much richer and more buttery than idahos. I used to believe the Idaho potato hype, but now I think that they are cardboard pulp with a skin.

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I've never thought of Ireland as being a country where people eat a lot of fish. I've always thought of meat, potatoes, and cabbage. Am I grossly misinformed?

There are still plenty of places that serve meat pies, stews, etc, but we sought out the fish joints when we ate out. As I was housesitting for a month (meaning access to a kitchen for the first time since November), we only ate out occasionally in town. Bray, on the coast south of Dublin, seemed mostly limited to fish and chips when it came to seafood. Damned good fish and chips, but still. There was one fish market in town, and it wasn't that nice.

 

I'll say this though- Irish potatoes are fantastic. Many varieties to choose from, even the cheaper ones taste so much richer and more buttery than idahos. I used to believe the Idaho potato hype, but now I think that they are cardboard pulp with a skin.

 

 

You are so right about the potatoes. When we lived in West Cork, my landlord (a dairy farmer with a big vegetable garden) came over one day with a huge box of new potatoes he'd dug that morning. Steamed with a little butter and parsley. I still think about those potatoes sometimes :)

 

For seafood closer to Bray than Dublin, Caviston's in Dun Laoghaire used to be great, but I'm not sure it's still there.

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I've never thought of Ireland as being a country where people eat a lot of fish. I've always thought of meat, potatoes, and cabbage. Am I grossly misinformed?

 

There are still plenty of places that serve meat pies, stews, etc, but we sought out the fish joints when we ate out. As I was housesitting for a month (meaning access to a kitchen for the first time since November), we only ate out occasionally in town. Bray, on the coast south of Dublin, seemed mostly limited to fish and chips when it came to seafood. Damned good fish and chips, but still. There was one fish market in town, and it wasn't that nice.

I'll say this though- Irish potatoes are fantastic. Many varieties to choose from, even the cheaper ones taste so much richer and more buttery than idahos. I used to believe the Idaho potato hype, but now I think that they are cardboard pulp with a skin.

You are so right about the potatoes. When we lived in West Cork, my landlord (a dairy farmer with a big vegetable garden) came over one day with a huge box of new potatoes he'd dug that morning. Steamed with a little butter and parsley. I still think about those potatoes sometimes :)

 

For seafood closer to Bray than Dublin, Caviston's in Dun Laoghaire used to be great, but I'm not sure it's still there.

We had great crab claws at A. Caviston in Greystones, after a healthy Cliff Walk down there (DART back to Bray). I wonder if that's the same people...
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I've never thought of Ireland as being a country where people eat a lot of fish. I've always thought of meat, potatoes, and cabbage. Am I grossly misinformed?

There are still plenty of places that serve meat pies, stews, etc, but we sought out the fish joints when we ate out. As I was housesitting for a month (meaning access to a kitchen for the first time since November), we only ate out occasionally in town. Bray, on the coast south of Dublin, seemed mostly limited to fish and chips when it came to seafood. Damned good fish and chips, but still. There was one fish market in town, and it wasn't that nice.

I'll say this though- Irish potatoes are fantastic. Many varieties to choose from, even the cheaper ones taste so much richer and more buttery than idahos. I used to believe the Idaho potato hype, but now I think that they are cardboard pulp with a skin.

You are so right about the potatoes. When we lived in West Cork, my landlord (a dairy farmer with a big vegetable garden) came over one day with a huge box of new potatoes he'd dug that morning. Steamed with a little butter and parsley. I still think about those potatoes sometimes :)

 

For seafood closer to Bray than Dublin, Caviston's in Dun Laoghaire used to be great, but I'm not sure it's still there.

We had great crab claws at A. Caviston in Greystones, after a healthy Cliff Walk down there (DART back to Bray). I wonder if that's the same people...

 

 

I bet it is.

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i had the best fish and chips i've ever had whilst in dingle, at reel fish and chips. fish was very fresh. dingle in general not a terrific food spot though i enjoyed being there quite a bit.

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i had the best fish and chips i've ever had whilst in dingle, at reel fish and chips. fish was very fresh. dingle in general not a terrific food spot though i enjoyed being there quite a bit.

 

I recall Dingle town as being very musical. Outdoor buskers, sing-alongs, many young people.

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dingle is where the irish go for vacation if they are staying in ireland. lots of good beaches (extremely beautiful beaches, if you don't mind the weather.) it's set up for travelers with kids, meaning that your kids can play with other families' kids and leave you alone for a while.

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dingle is where the irish go for vacation if they are staying in ireland. lots of good beaches (extremely beautiful beaches, if you don't mind the weather.) it's set up for travelers with kids, meaning that your kids can play with other families' kids and leave you alone for a while.

 

That's another data point in my "lots of good food where continental Europeans holiday, not as much good food where Irish people holiday" theory. I can think of a number of places in Donegal that qualify also.

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i can't disagree. typical irish restaurant or pub food isn't exciting at all and the standard beer options are awful. grocery shopping is also terrible.

 

one thing to look out for: connemara smokehouse makes world-class smoked salmon.

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i can't disagree. typical irish restaurant or pub food isn't exciting at all and the standard beer options are awful. grocery shopping is also terrible.

 

one thing to look out for: connemara smokehouse makes world-class smoked salmon.

 

I'll try to find the Connemara salmon next trip. Union Hall Smokehouse was so close to us, I rarely saw another brand in local shops.

 

Not to beat a dead horse, but the food culture in West Cork is so distinct from the rest of Ireland, that I'm sorry that everyone seems to miss it. For grocery shopping we had Fields of Skibbereen, which has been in the same family since 1935, and has only gotten better over the years. Closer to Beara is Manning's Emporium, which has also been in the same family for almost as long. Even smaller grocery stores or local shops almost always carried Gubbeen and other locally-produced products, like Skeaghanore Duck.

 

Again, I'm well aware that this isn't typical in the rest of the country, but I'd urge MFers visiting Ireland to put West Cork on the itinerary. The scenery (Beara, Sheep's Head and Mizen Penninsulas, especially) is on a par with Dingle and the Ring of Kerry. For music, there's the legendary DeBarra's and Connolly's of Leap. Granted it's been a few years since my last visit, but I've been to all 32 counties, and when I chose a place to live for several years, West Cork won by a mile.

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