Ireland has been experiencing a culinary renaissance of late, much to the delight of our Emerald Ireland guests. Once the purview of all things potato, the Emerald Isle is now a foodie destination for its seasonal, sustainable fare. An abundance of natural resources, artisan producers, and innovative chefs have elevated modern Irish cuisine to the upper echelons.
Whether dining in a Michelin-starred venue or iconic village pub, you’ll taste the freshest local produce, incredible fish and seafood, and absolutely amazing grass-fed anything. Here are a few favorite restaurants and dishes to try on our journey:
George V — Ashford Castle’s stately dining room has been serving dignitaries for nearly eight centuries (its name is a tribute to one such guest, the former British king). You’ll certainly feel like royalty feasting on chef Philippe Farineau’s acclaimed cuisine; salivate over the carving trolley before choosing the slow roasted rib of beef in a red wine and shallot jus, served with homemade béarnaise sauce.
Earl of Thomond — Soft harp music and soaring ceilings welcome you to this dramatic restaurant in the 16th-century Dromoland Castle. Executive chef David McCann has helped evolve its classical fare to worldwide prominence. The fillet of John Dory — prepared with crushed fennel, pak-choi, red pepper salsa, and saffron aioli — is, quite simply, superb.
Patrick Guilbaud — An epicurean evening in Ireland’s only two-starred Michelin restaurant is a highlight of our Emerald Ireland journey. Located within the legendary Merrion Hotel (where our guests stay while in London), Patrick Guilbaud is lauded for its sophisticated take on Irish cuisine. The Wicklow Hills lamb fillet veritably melts in your mouth.
The Falls — You’ll be hard-pressed to say what’s more appealing at Sheen Falls Lodge’s award-winning restaurant: The innovative fare made with the freshest, seasonal ingredients, or the spectacular setting overlooking the waterfalls and Kenmare Bay. It’s a toss-up for menu choices, as well: order either the Roast Turbot Troncon, sourced from the Beara Peninsula, or smoked salmon caught right on the estate.
Of course, to get the true flavor of Ireland one must dine in a traditional pub, and our journey includes a few meals in these colorful local institutions. Pub grub is the quintessential comfort food; be sure to try:
- Irish Stew — This warm-you-to-the-bone staple is made with lamb or mutton, potatoes, onions, carrots, and herbs.
- Shepard’s Pie — Also known as cottage pie, this delicious dish mixes minced lamb or beef with vegetables and a mashed potato crust.
- Champ — A pub classic, it combines mashed potatoes with scallions or green onions, milk, and lots of butter.
- Coddle — There’s no real recipe for this mixture of leftovers, although it generally includes slowly simmering layers of bacon, pork sausage, potatoes, and onions.