Food, glorious food, is often one of the highlights when visiting both a new or familiar destination, and Ireland certainly plates up some of the most delicious and unique dining options around.
Get ready to soak in the views, savour the moments and set off on a culinary journey, unique to this charming part of the world.
Think fine-dining, market meandering, tea, scones, burgers, award-winning ice cream, fresh seafood – enjoyed right on the beach, wild picnics and warming deserts.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Well, grab yourself a napkin (to write on) and allow your rumbling tummy to plan your next trip to Ireland.
1. Lunch at Moran’s Oyster Cottage, County Galway
If you’re looking for a special food experience, you 100% need to check out Moran’s Oyster Cottage.
Located within a 250-year-old cottage at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean in County Galway, this place has fed everyone from Julia Roberts to Roger Moore.
Sit inside, all cosy and snug in the original building, or take in the glorious surrounding seascapes with a table outside.
Order up plates of Galway Bay oysters, wild native clams and steamed Galway Bay mussels.
Our advice? Top it off with a pint of Guinness. Because, when in Ireland, right?
2. Harry’s Shack, Portstewart
No matter where you are in the world, there’s nothing quite like sitting on a beach with your toes in the sand, eating insanely fresh seafood.
Well, in Northern Ireland there’s a place you can do just that.
Harry’s Shack has gathered a legion of fans since opening in 2014, and with its stunning seaside setting on Portstewart Strand and some of the best seafood cooking on the island of Ireland, it’s not hard to see why.
All you have to do is rock up, kick back and enjoy.
3. Belfast Food Tour, Belfast city
Are you more of a dive-right-in-on-an-immersive-experience kind of traveller?
Capturing the spirit of Belfast’s unique flavours, producers and restaurants, the tours cover everything from whiskey to bars to delicious bites with energy, fun and insider knowledge.
4. The Happy Pear, County Wicklow
The lively little town of Greystones in County Wicklow is a 30-minute DART (train) ride away from Dublin, and yet it feels like it’s a million miles away from the city’s urban buzz.
Anchoring the town’s food scene is a vegetarian mecca, The Happy Pear.
Run by twins David and Stephen Flynn, the café has become a hotspot for veggies and carnivores alike thanks to its tasty and creative take on plant-based foods.
On a sunny day, the atmosphere here is fabulous, with tables and chairs casually strewn outside and a lively crowd.
And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not join the twins for a dawn swim at Greystones’ Ladies’ Cove, where they take to the seas every morning with locals and visitors.
Follow it with breakfast at the café on Church Road, and you’ve got a pretty memorable start to the day!
5. Ice Cream in Dingle, County Kerry
Ice cream is always a good idea, as is a visit to Dingle in County Kerry.
This joyous little town packs in great pubs, excellent restaurants and a laid-back bohemian vibe that draws visitors from all over the world.
Visit, and you’re bound to notice a bustling queue that seems to linger outside a blue shop on Strand Street. This is Murphy’s Ice Cream – a glorious temple to all things dairy.
Handmade with the finest fresh farm milk and local cream, the flavours here are worth travelling miles for Dingle sea salt, caramelised brown bread and Irish coffee. It’s ice cream, with a definite Irish twist.
6. Pyke ’N’ Pommes, Derry~Londonderry city
A repurposed shipping container may seem like an unlikely place to find one of Ireland’s greatest food experiences, but Pyke ‘N Pommes in Foyleview likes to do things differently.
Located on the riverfront in the historic city of Derry~Londonderry this is casual food with a gourmet twist and a very local heart.
Tacos, a legendary Wagyu burger, slow-roasted pork and some of the freshest fish around – this place is a culinary gem.
7. The English Market, Cork city
Located at the heart of the foodie city, this place serves up an explosion of tastes, a riot of colours, and time-honoured foods that you won’t find anywhere else.
There’s tripe (cow’s stomach) and drisheen (a type of blood pudding) at A O’Reilly & Sons, traditional spiced beef at Tom Durcan’s, and some of the finest smoked salmon in the world at Frank Hederman’s.
After exploring, head upstairs for some traditional local dishes at the Farmgate Café, including tripe & onions, with drisheen; lamb’s liver and bacon; and, of course, sausage and mash!
8. Cupán Tae, County Cork
When it comes to coastal wildernesses, the spellbinding wave-lashed peninsula of Sheep’s Head in County Cork is a cut above.
Walk out to the lighthouse that sits at the very top and you’ll be surrounded by the white-tipped Atlantic Ocean and views that stretch out indefinitely.
But this wild little spot is also home to what has been dubbed “the tea shop at the end of the world”. Run by Bernie Tobin, Cupán Tae (“cup of tea” in Irish – obviously!) sits at the start of the lighthouse walk and is the essence of simple food done well, with salmon sandwiches, light fluffy scones and legendary apple pie.
Nothing beats a good Cupán Tae with a view, does it?
9. Gourmet Fishing Trip, County Kerry
Butter-coloured sands, turquoise waters dotted with islands and a backdrop of undulating mountains, Derrynane in County Kerry is something special – a place of extreme beauty on the Wild Atlantic Way.
It’s also home to a very memorable food adventure – a gourmet fishing trip with Atlantic Irish Seaweed.
On this trip, you can try your hand at both fishing and eating, as Boatman John Fitzgerald whisks you away to catch and picnic on sashimi and ceviche Irish-style around the islands of Derrynane Bay.
This is one wild and wonderful experience to cherish.
The only things now left to ask yourself are: ‘When am I going?’ and ‘which course would I like to tuck into first?’
Click here for more Ireland inspiration.
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