Irish food is known for being filling and hearty and consisting mainly of meat and potatoes. While this might seem like a very limited culinary palette, the Irish have managed to turn these two basic foods into countless scrumptious local dishes.
Considering Ireland’s moist climate and frequent rainfall, it’s no surprise that the Irish delight in comfort foods like stews and soups and heavy drinks like Guinness and whiskey.
There's no better place to try Ireland's best culinary offerings than Dublin. Here are some delicious Irish dishes and drinks you must sample the next time you’re in the capital of the Emerald Isle.
A local favorite, the full Irish breakfast is the perfect way to start a long day of sightseeing in Dublin.
The full Irish breakfast consists of meat (usually bacon, sausage, black pudding [a sausage made from pigs' blood, onions, herbs, spices, and oatmeal or barley], and white pudding [black pudding without the blood]), eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, and some sort of potato that’s usually cooked into a hash. This incredibly filling meal is very similar to the full English breakfast. Unlike the full English breakfast, however, the full Irish breakfast is usually paired with homemade Irish soda bread.
There really isn’t a ‘right’ way to make an authentic Irish stew, but the dish almost always consists of meat and various root vegetables. Common ingredients in Irish stew include lamb, mutton (lambskin), potatoes, onions, parsley, and carrots.
Served as a main course, Irish stew, unlike other stews, is usually pale and has the consistency of a vegetable broth. The meat is almost always cubed and coated in flour.
This dish is best eaten during the cool fall and winter months. For a taste of some truly authentic Irish stew in Dublin, head to The Hairy Lemon on Stephen Street Lower or The Oval Bar on Middle Abbey Street.
Dublin coddle is synonymous with the capital city and something you can’t leave without trying.
Traditionally served in a piping hot pot, Dublin coddle may be hard to find in restaurants, since it usually consists entirely of leftover food: layers of roughly sliced sausages and rashers (thinly sliced bacon), chunky potatoes, sliced onions, salt, pepper, herbs, and barley.
Though Dublin coddle is best eaten at home and may be hard to find in restaurants, the previously mentioned The Hairy Lemon serves it.
Even if you’ve never heard of the other Irish dishes in this article, you’ll certainly be familiar with this one. Corned beef and cabbage is eaten throughout the United States on Saint Patrick’s Day, and believe it or not, it is eaten in Ireland, too!
The Irish version of corned beef and cabbage is slightly different from the version you’ll encounter in the U.S., however. Most restaurants in Ireland that serve up corned beef and cabbage will substitute topside (a large, lean cut of beef rolled and divided into boneless joints), rump, or bacon for the brisket.
For the best corned beef and cabbage in Dublin, check out Oliver Saint John Gogarty, situated in the heart of Dublin’s cherished Temple Bar on Fleet Street.
Champ, or brúitín in Gaelic, is made by combining mashed potatoes and chopped spring onions with butter, milk, cheese, salt, and pepper. This creamy mashed potato dish is native to Northern Ireland and is one of the most widely eaten potato dishes in the country.
Pitt Bros BBQ on South Great Georges Street offers a unique twist on classic Irish champ -- a side of bone marrow mash to go along with some incredible pulled pork, brisket, and rib options.
Another Irish mashed potato dish, colcannon is made with cabbage (or kale) mixed with milk (or cream), butter (or vegetable oil), and a dash of salt and pepper. Colcannon sometimes also contains scallions, leeks, onions, chives, or laverbread, a product made from edible seaweed. There are several regional variations of colcannon, with some of the best being found in the nation’s capital.
Gallagher’s Boxty House, located smack dab in the center of Temple Bar, serves up some seriously delicious and authentic colcannon. You’ll also love the Irish music and rustic furniture.
Barmbrack, often called simply brack, is a quick and easy raisin bread. If you’re planning on visiting Ireland in late October, you’ll be there at the perfect time: Barmbrack is traditionally eaten on Halloween. In households across Ireland, an item is placed inside a loaf of barmbrack, and whoever gets the slice with the item is considered to be fortunate!
Ireland’s very own take on the crepe, boxty is a traditional Irish potato pancake commonly associated with the Midlands, Connacht, and Ulster regions of Ireland. Also called poundy, poundies, or potato bread, boxty is made from potatoes, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and sometimes eggs. There’s even a fun Irish saying about the dish: “Boxty on the griddle, boxty on the pan; if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man!”
The previously mentioned Gallagher’s Boxty House is undeniably the best place to chow down on some delicious boxty in Dublin. Try the Boxty Tasting Slate, an appetizer featuring boxty dumplings with honey and chili, a toasted boxty loaf topped with goat cheese, and boxty fries with a rocket and garlic dip.
The Guinness in Dublin is so good that I couldn’t stop ordering pints while I was there!
Guinness is Ireland’s prized beer, a dark dry stout that was born in the brewery of Arthur Guinness at Saint James’s Gate in Dublin in 1759. Now brewed in almost 50 countries and available in over 120, Guinness is one of the most well-known beer brands in the world.
While you can order a pint of Guinness practically anywhere in Dublin, a trip to the capital city wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
If you’re not a fan of thick, dark beer and would prefer to try some good Irish whiskey, then Dublin won’t disappoint. A distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented rye, corn, or barley mash, whiskey is a very popular beverage in the city.
Like Guinness, good Irish whiskey can be found at nearly every bar in Dublin. For a true Irish whiskey experience, be sure to visit the Irish Whiskey Museum for a tour and tasting.