Traditional Irish Food Dishes to Try (2023)

By Claddagh Design on Jan 18, 2017 @ 9:17 pm in Ireland

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I know January is all about healthy eating and the last thing you want is to be thinking about food when you are trying to be good! We got chatting in the workshop about what our favourite Irish food is and it got us thinking about dishes that might be unique to Ireland.

(Video) Top 10 foods to try in Ireland {Irish Cuisine}

For many years, Ireland was placed at the lowest rung of the ladder when it came to having good traditional food. In many cases it still doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, but that’s all starting to change thanks to some talented and high profile Irish chefs and an increasingly open-minded public jumping on new fusion food trends. Irish food is mostly about meat, potatoes and vegetables, so while not exactly inspiring; it’s definitely hearty and very filling. Find the right cook, however, and you can be enjoying some of the most satisfying food you’ll ever have. If you’re feeling hungry, look away now – here are some ever popular, somewhat unusual, but definitely Irish dishes to try next time you’re feeling patriotic.

Traditional Irish food

Boxty: Boxty is, simply put, potato pancake. Associated with the northern midlands (in Donegal it’s known as poundy), it’s a mixture of finely grated potato, flour, buttermilk and egg, cooked just like a ‘normal’ pancake. It was so popular in times past that it was honoured with its own rhyme. Nowadays, you can often find it in restaurants served in the style of a tortilla, i.e wrapped around some tasty meat and vegetables.

Coddle: Coddle is a quintessential Dublin dish, and gets a few mentions in the works of some of the capital’s greatest writers, James Joyce included. Despite its stature it’s not all that appetising; sausages, bacon, potatoes and onion all boiled together in one pot, seasoned with salt and pepper. It was traditionally eaten as a leftover dish, so there is no set recipe to follow making it open to interpret as you see fit.

Full Irish Breakfast: This is by far everyone’s favourite Irish dish, and the key word is ‘full’! Grab as big a plate as you can find and load it up with sausage, bacon, black and white pudding (our neighbours Clonakilty of course!), eggs, toast, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, and beans – and don’t forget the obligatory cup of tea to go with it. The Full Irish is a proven hangover cure, too.

Soda Bread: Irish soda bread is quick and easy to make, and damn tasty too – especially when fresh out of the oven and given a layer of ‘real’ Irish butter. All you need is flour, bread soda, salt and buttermilk – mix it all together (with as little kneading as possible), pop it in the oven, and enjoy. It’s also especially good when dipped in some hot soup or when topped with some fresh Irish cheese.

Potato Farl: Potato farls are a speciality of Ulster (where they are known as ‘fadge’), and usually appear as part of a Full Irish breakfast. They are square slices of potato bread, powdered with flour and either fried or grilled. The result is moist, doughy goodness perfect for soaking up the leftover sauce on your plate once your fry has gone down.

(Video) 5 Traditional Irish Dishes to try

Blaa: The Blaa is native to Waterford, and also popular in neighbouring counties Kilkenny and Wexford. A soft white bread bun with a liberal sprinkling of white flour on top, they are usually eaten at breakfast with butter or as a snack with corned beef as a filling. In 2013 the blaa was given official protected status by the European Commission.

Irish Stew: This is what pops into most people’s heads when they think of traditional Irish food, and by all accounts, we most certainly know how to make a delicious stew. Traditionally made with lamb or beef, potatoes, vegetables such as carrots and onions, and cooked slowly for several hours, this is as hearty comfort food at its best. Guinness is often added as final Irish twist.

Barmbrack: Barmbrack, or just ‘brack’, is a sweet bread that’s almost like a cake in texture, with sultanas and raisins. It is still tradition in many families to have a brack in the house on Halloween, eaten warm with butter and a cup of tea. It’s also customary to include various small objects within the brack, each of which told a certain fortune – for example, if you picked out a ring, you would be married within a year.

Champ: Champ is a simple but extremely delicious dish, as well as being cheap and very easy to make. It essentially involves adding spring onions, butter and milk to mashed potatoes. Told you it was simple! Colcannon is a variant of the dish, made with kale or cabbage in place of spring onions.

Crubeens: This isn’t really a dish per se, it’s just what the Irish have named pig’s feet! They were eaten by hand and can still be found in some butchers, although you’ll most likely have to request them.

Drisheen: Drisheen is a variant of black pudding, which is made from animal blood (usually pig, sheep or cow) mixed with milk, salt, fat and breadcrumbs. It’s all boiled, filtered, wrapped in intestines and cooked. Lovely!

Goody: This is an often forgotten dessert that dates from the 18th century and before. It’s not all that dissimilar to bread and butter pudding. Bread is boiled in milk with sugar and spices to make a stodgy, soggy, but very sweet mess. It was traditionally eaten on St. John’s Eve, or the 23rd of June to you and me.

Gur Cake: Another Dublin staple, Gur cake is otherwise known as Chester cake in other parts of the world. It got its name as it was traditionally cheap and made from bakery leftovers, and was considered ‘gutter cake’, which became shortened to ‘gur’. It consists of two layers of pastry with a filling of dried fruits, breadcrumbs and sweetener.

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Brown Pudding: You may have already known about black and white pudding, but did you know brown pudding is also eaten here? It’s more or less the same as black pudding, the only difference being the addition of oatmeal to soak up the blood and give it its brown appearance. It’s another protected food in Ireland and is made in Timoleague, county Cork.

Bacon and Cabbage: Bacon and Cabbage is the perfect example of just how plain and boring Irish food used to be! It’s exactly what you think it is; unsliced back bacon boiled with cabbage and – of course – potatoes. Usually served with white sauce, it’s now enjoying a revival in Irish restaurants with contemporary and much more appetising twists.

Irish Coffee: Irish Coffee is more of a cocktail than a coffee, and was invented by chef Joe Sheridan in Shannon Airport in the 1940s. Made with (obviously) coffee, whiskey, and brown sugar topped off with a layer of thick cream, which you drink the mixture below through for an interesting combination of hot and cold. Perfect after an evening meal or to warm up on a cold night.

Steak and Guinness Pie: This savoury pie is a favourite, although it’s more of a modern traditional food than a classic dish that has been passed down for generations. It does exactly what it says on the tin; it’s steak, and guinness, in a pie! There are some other additions too of course, such as herbs, vegetables, and maybe even a potato or two.

Irish Fast Food

Irish fast food can never be hailed as healthy or overly tasty, but then neither can any fast food! If you’re having a cheat day, are on the way home late at night, or need something quick and fast, try one of these popular snacks. While none of them are particularly Irish in origin, every Irish person will admit to eating them at least once.

Chicken Fillet Roll: Most supermarkets in Ireland have ‘deli’ sections that make fresh sandwiches. One of the more popular deli choices is a chicken fillet roll. In other words, this is breaded chicken fillet chopped up and stuffed into a baguette with mayonnaise, lettuce, and tomato. Guaranteed to fill you up for at least a few hours, although you may need an extra gym session or two afterwards.

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Breakfast Roll: The Breakfast Roll is so popular in Ireland that there’s even a song about it! This behemoth has all of the main ingredients of a Full Irish breakfast stuffed into a baguette. Rashers, sausage, and black and white pudding are essential, and if there’s room left over, you can try to stuff in a fried egg or mushrooms too – don’t forget the final touch of ketchup either.

Jambon: Another staple of the supermarket deli, a jambon is a peculiar snack made up of folded savoury pastry filled with small pieces of ham and a cheesy, eggy mixture. It usually accompanies sausage rolls, potato wedges and sometimes savoury pies or pasties in the hot food section of the deli. Be warned; the combination of flaky pastry and gooey filling makes it a very messy snack.

Taco Fries: Ireland’s favourite native fast food chain, Supermacs, is often credited with this particular dish. A handful of chips gets a dollop of fresh ground beef on top, with ‘taco sauce’ (a creamy, slightly spicy, thick sauce that’s pink-ish in colour) loaded on top of that, and a large helping of grated cheddar cheese on top of that!

Garlic Cheese Fries: Irish people have a soft spot for any kind of fries really, but Garlic Cheese fries are a particular favourite for many. A tub of thickly cut chips is usually completely drowned in garlic sauce (mayonnaise laced with garlic and a handful of herbs), with a dollop of grated cheese on top that melts as you eat. If you can get through the entire tub without feeling sick, we salute you.

3in1: This is as greasy as Irish fast food gets. Available in any Chinese takeaway in the country (despite having nothing to do with Chinese food), it’s a foil tub filled to the brim with a layer of rice, a layer of chips, and a smothering of rich curry sauce. Usually the staple of locals on the way home from a night out. Healthy stuff!

Burritos: Tex Mex is the current fast food meal of the moment in Dublin and is rapidly spreading to the rest of the country too. On practically every street in the city centre there is a ‘burrito bar’, with many heated discussions among locals on which one is the best. A newly opened burrito bar in the city celebrated its first day of business by giving away free burritos for a few hours, with a queue down the street and around the corner forming in minutes.

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What traditional Irish food is eaten on St Patrick's Day? ›

Patty's Day, they'll likely start the day with a traditional Irish breakfast of fresh eggs (normally fried), along with sausage, bacon, grilled tomatoes, black pudding, white pudding, mushrooms, and Irish brown bread.

What is Ireland's national food dish? ›

Irish Stew is a thick, hearty dish of mutton, potatoes, and onions and undisputedly the national dish of Ireland. Within the dish are many of the ingredients synonymous with the island, potatoes being one of the most recognized.

What is the traditional Irish breakfast? ›

All full Irish breakfasts include some or all of the following: Bacon, sausages, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, and perhaps some cooked leftover potatoes made into a hash or a bubble and squeak. There will also be toast, butter, marmalade, and lots of tea to drink.

What is considered a traditional Irish dinner? ›

Representative dishes include Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, boxty, soda bread (predominantly in Ulster), coddle, and colcannon. Modern Irish food still uses traditional ingredients, but they are now being cooked by chefs with world influences and are presented in a more modern and artistic style.

What is an Irish snack? ›

Can't decide on just one appetizer? Go all out with a board filled with Irish favorites like soda bread, corned beef, cheese, and potato chips. Don't forget the gold-wrapped candies!

What did Irish eat before potatoes? ›

Grains, either as bread or porridge, were the other mainstay of the pre-potato Irish diet, and the most common was the humble oat, usually made into oatcakes and griddled (ovens hadn't really taken off yet).

What is the most traditional St Patrick's Day meal? ›

Corned beef and cabbage is an American St. Patrick's Day favorite.

Why did the Irish only eat potatoes? ›

Why were potatoes so important to Ireland? The potato plant was hardy, nutritious, calorie-dense, and easy to grow in Irish soil. By the time of the famine, nearly half of Ireland's population relied almost exclusively on potatoes for their diet, and the other half ate potatoes frequently.

What kind of meat do Irish people eat? ›

Instead of corned beef and cabbage, the traditional St. Patrick's Day meal eaten in Ireland is lamb or bacon.

What is the bathroom called in Ireland? ›

The Jacks. In Ireland, 'the jacks' means 'toilet', most commonly used to refer to public bathrooms.

What do Irish people drink? ›

Top 10 Drinks In Ireland
  • GUINNESS. My favorite. ...
  • BLACK 'N BLACK. Guinness with a shot of blackcurrant, it's usually for people who want to try Guinness but don't like the porter bite. ...
  • IRISH CIDER. ...
  • FAT FROG. ...
  • BAILEY'S. ...

What is bacon called in Ireland? ›

In Ireland and the UK it is simply referred to as bacon. This food is a close relative to what those in the US think of as Canadian bacon. It may also be called back bacon or rashers. The term rashers may also be used as in “rashers of bacon,” meaning individual slices.

What does Irish people eat for lunch? ›

Lunch often consists of a bowl of hot soup alongside freshly baked soda bread, but a heartier lunch menu can be found at the local pubs, where typical Irish plates are served around the clock.

What is blood sausage called in Ireland? ›

Black pudding is also called a blood pudding or blood sausage, and in Ireland is known as drisheen.

Is corned beef and cabbage a traditional Irish meal? ›

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional meal for Irish-Americans, but not so much for the actual Irish, where beef was historically far too expensive for most families to afford.

Is corned beef and cabbage Real Irish? ›

But guess what lads and lassies: Corned beef and cabbage did not originate from Ireland — and the meal isn't actually Irish at all. Corned beef is a cut of meat similar to brisket that has been salt-cured. The term “corned” comes from the usage of large, grained rock salt, called “corns” used in the salting process.

What is an Irish hang sandwich? ›

What is a hang sandwich? A ham sandwich. When said with an Irish accent, "ham" comes out sounding more like "hang".

What do you serve at a St Patrick's party? ›

The little finger foods allow partygoers to eat comfortably and dance the day away.
  • Lucky Charm Rice Krispie Treats. ...
  • Guinness Beef Sliders. ...
  • Green Apple Lemonade Spritzer. ...
  • Green Velvet Cupcakes. ...
  • Corned Beef Irish Nachos. ...
  • Corned Beef and Cabbage Egg Rolls. ...
  • Leprechaun Popcorn. ...
  • Rice Krispie Bites.
16 Mar 2018

What food and drink is Ireland known for? ›

Think Guinness and oysters, fish and chips, amazing mussels and some of the best smoked salmon in the world! Soda bread: It's simple, it's traditional and it tastes amazing – Ireland's famous bread is a daily staple.

Is corned beef Irish? ›

Corned beef is not an Irish national dish, and the connection with Saint Patrick's Day specifically originates as part of Irish-American culture, and is often part of their celebrations in North America. Corned beef was used as a substitute for bacon by Irish immigrants in the late 19th century.

Does Ireland have street food? ›

Today, many pubs, restaurants, and street food vendors serve Irish stew with different tender meats and Guinness in the gravy.

Do the Irish eat cheese? ›

Cashel Blue. According to Sheridan's, Ireland's largest cheese retailer, Cashel Blue is the country's most popular cheese. (So much for my preconceived cheddar notions.)

Do Irish people eat rice? ›

Of all the cultural interpretation I had to do, explaining the role of rice in Irish homes was problematic. “Do Irish people eat rice?” I was asked regularly. “Oh yes, we love it. With sugar and milk.

What is the Irish diet? ›

According to this report, “the Irish Diet maybe described as one rich in cereals, dairy, red meat and convenience foods (miscellaneous savoury and sweet dishes). The top 70 per cent of the daily calorific intake is made up of cereals, dairy, red meat, savoury and dessert dishes.

What meat is served on Saint Patrick's Day? ›

The traditions of St. Patrick's Day in America are well known. We wear green, attend parades, and eat corned beef and cabbage. What's less known, however, is how corned beef became the centerpiece of the St.

What did poor Irish eat? ›

The Irish poor ate potatoes, and the authors estimate that there were 3 million 'potato people' before the Famine, competing for smaller plots of marginal land. The traditional dairy diet of the Irish poor declined as milk was used to feed cattle or to make butter, two export products.

Why is the Irish population so small? ›

Less than half of the total depopulation can be attributed to the Famine itself. The rest reflects low birth-rates and high emigration rates.

Did Irish people eat 14 pounds of potatoes a day? ›

A grown man in Ireland would eat up to 14 pounds of potatoes a day. Potatoes were many people's only source of food. But why potatoes? During the 16th and 17th centuries, England invaded Ireland.

What is Ireland's nickname? ›

But once they got going in the name game, monikers fairly cascaded in: Éire, Erin, the Emerald Isle, the Republic, Land of Saints and Scholars — and whatever you're having yourself.

What foods originated in Ireland? ›

25 Traditional Irish Foods
  • Irish Champ.
  • Irish butter.
  • Boxty.
  • Irish Soda Bread.
  • Irish Coddle.
  • Colcannon.
  • Irish Stew.
  • Guinness Cake.

What Ireland is famous for? ›

Ireland is famous for its scenic coastlines, towns, and villages along the shoreline. Most of these coastline towns are located in the west of Ireland, mainly in the province of Munster. That's where we live in Limerick! The most famous landmarks in Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher.

What do the Irish call potatoes? ›

The main Irish word for potato is “práta” (prawh-tah) and it's this word that is used most of the time.

What do Irish people call dessert? ›

Americans would call the sweet forms "dessert," with "pudding" reserved for the aforementioned very limited creamy types of dessert. In both Britain and Ireland, the difference between pudding and dessert is quite confusing not just to Americans, but even to natives.

What is an Irish pudding? ›

A well-known Irish dish in this category is white pudding, a grain-based sausage flavored with plenty of fat and then stuffed into a sausage casing. Masterclass explains that white pudding typically uses oatmeal or barley, pork or beef suet, breadcrumbs, spices, and occasionally pork meat or pork liver.

What is the most Irish thing to say? ›

Here are 15 Irish expressions to break out on St. Paddy's Day:
  1. May the road rise up to meet you. ...
  2. Sláinte! ...
  3. What's the craic? ...
  4. May the cat eat you, and may the devil eat the cat. ...
  5. Two people shorten the road. ...
  6. Story horse? ...
  7. On me tod. ...
  8. Acting the maggot.
14 Mar 2015

What is the slang for an Irish person? ›

Paddies. More common in Britain, where “Paddy” was used as a derogatory catch-all name to describe anyone male and Irish.

What is the most Irish thing? ›

  • 1) Guinness. Of course, the number one spot on our list of Irish things just had to go to Guinness! ...
  • 2) The Irish Flag. ...
  • 3) Leprechauns. ...
  • 5) Irish Coffee. ...
  • 6) St Patricks Day. ...
  • 7) Irish Soda Bread. ...
  • 8) The Irish Wolfhound. ...
  • 9) The Shamrock.
6 Jan 2022

What is the drinking age in Ireland? ›

Young people and alcohol

You must be 18 or over to buy alcohol in Ireland. It is an offence to: Serve alcohol to a person who is under 18.

What is a bartender called in Ireland? ›

Call them bartenders or mixologists, or even better, remember their names as they are the ones to watch. Below, some of the most talented drinksmiths dashing and garnishing the best cocktails in Ireland. Shane manages two bars at the iconic Shelbourne Hotel: No. 27 Bar & Lounge and The Horseshoe Bar.

Who drinks more Irish or English? ›

May 16, 2019. Share this article: BRITISH people are the biggest drinkers in the world, outranking the Irish, according to a new study. Following the Brits is the USA, Canada, Australia, Denmark and India, while Mexico, Czech Republic and Finland complete the top ten.

Is corned beef a traditional Irish dish? ›

To my surprise, corned beef and cabbage did not originate from Ireland – and the meal isn't actually Irish at all. Here's exactly what corned beef and cabbage is and why we eat it on St. Patrick's Day. Corned beef is a cut of meat similar to brisket that has been salt-cured.

Is corned beef and cabbage a traditional Irish dish? ›

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional meal for Irish-Americans, but not so much for the actual Irish, where beef was historically far too expensive for most families to afford.

What are the traditions of St. Patrick day? ›

Patrick's Day is historically observed through a number of traditions. These include preparing food like corned beef and cabbage, musical gatherings called "céilí," and decorating with symbols like shamrocks and leprechauns.

How is St. Patrick's day Celebrated in Ireland? ›

The day commemorates Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland, and celebrates the heritage and culture of the Irish in general. Celebrations generally involve public parades and festivals, céilithe, and the wearing of green attire or shamrocks.

What is the Irish diet? ›

According to this report, “the Irish Diet maybe described as one rich in cereals, dairy, red meat and convenience foods (miscellaneous savoury and sweet dishes). The top 70 per cent of the daily calorific intake is made up of cereals, dairy, red meat, savoury and dessert dishes.

Why is cabbage popular in Ireland? ›

Cabbage was another vegetable these farmers and the rural poor relied on for food, since it was nutrient-dense and grew well in Ireland. One of the first written accounts of cabbage cultivation comes from the 17th century, but it's likely the vegetable was being grown in Ireland before this time.

Is a Reuben German or Irish? ›

But the Reuben is a deeply early-20th-century American Midwestern creation, a Jewish sandwich that isn't kosher, made by an assimilated Eastern European whose family left Russia, Poland, and Germany several generations before World War II.

Why is corned beef not Irish? ›

But guess what lads and lassies: Corned beef and cabbage did not originate from Ireland — and the meal isn't actually Irish at all. Corned beef is a cut of meat similar to brisket that has been salt-cured. The term “corned” comes from the usage of large, grained rock salt, called “corns” used in the salting process.

What cut of meat is Irish bacon? ›

Unlike American bacon, Irish bacon is made from the back of the pig instead of the belly and is much leaner than streaky bacon. I used a presliced Irish bacon for this recipe but whole versions are available in British specialty shops. Most of the flavor in this dish comes from the bacon that you choose.

Why do we wear green on St Patrick's Day? ›

St. Patrick's revelers thought wearing green made one invisible to leprechauns, fairy creatures who would pinch anyone they could see (anyone not wearing green). People began pinching those who didn't wear green as a reminder that leprechauns would sneak up and pinch green-abstainers.

What is the national color of Ireland? ›

The official colour of Ireland in heraldic terms is azure blue. The colour blue's association with Saint Patrick dates from the 1780s, when it was adopted as the colour of the Anglo-Irish Order of St Patrick.

What does it mean if you wear orange on St. Patrick's day? ›

"The Irish Americans would wear the green as a reminder that they were nationalists first and foremost," explains Witt. "The colors of the Irish flag are green, white and orange, the green symbolizing the Irish nationalism, the orange symbolizing the Orangemen of the north and the white symbolizing peace."

Why do people pinch on St. Patrick's day? ›

Pinching people on St Patrick's day is thought to revolve around the leprechaun and the legend that wearing green makes one invisible to the mischievous fairies. As the dubious legend dictates, leprechauns would pinch anyone not wearing green – so people pinch those not wearing green to remind them…

What do the Irish drink on St. Patrick's day? ›

It's no secret that beer and spirits are usually associated with St. Patrick's Day. For some, the holiday is merely an excuse to drink emerald-colored beverages, but for others, the day holds a special significance.

Was Saint Patrick actually Irish? ›

Patrick Wasn't Irish. St. Patrick was born in Britain—not Ireland—to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D.

Can you celebrate St. Patrick's day if your not Irish? ›

On March 17, people around the world celebrate the Irish holiday of Saint Patrick's Day. It is a major holiday in Ireland, but the rest of the world has influenced its celebration as much as the Irish themselves.


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