There’s so much to explore when it comes to food in Ireland. Though you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking Gaelic cuisine is simple, hearty and tasty fare, that’s only the tip of the iceberg (lettuce) when it comes to everything else on offer, from Michelin-starred restaurants that wow diners with flair and creativity to mouthwatering cheeses, superb ales and stouts and seafood fresh from the catch. If you’re heading to one of our holiday homes or luxury cottages in Ireland we’ve scoped out some of the most tempting foodie experiences you can enjoy while you’re there – read on and prepare to get peckish!
1.The Kitchen in the Castle, Howth
Just north of Dublin, on the coastal outcrop of Howth, is the handsome Georgian Howth Castle. Cooking classes here take place in the bright and airy castle kitchen, which overlooks the foam-peaked Irish Sea. Choose from a variety of unusual courses such as Moroccan vegetarian, Italian dinner party or fish and seafood and come away with some new-found skills to wow your friends or family upon your return. At the end of your course, you and your fellow cooking students will sit down for a formal meal with wine to taste the efforts of the day.
Price: From €50
Location: Howth Castle, Howth, Co. Dublin
Book: Online at howthcastlecookeryschool
2. Teeling Whiskey, Dublin
Whiskey is in the blood at this innovative family-run distillery; the Teeling family have been distilling the stuff since 1782. With the opening of their new Dublin-based distillery, they have kick-started the capital city’s whiskey scene, which had – prior to their arrival – been dry for decades. Their distillery is near the Grand Canal, whose waters were traditionally used in the whiskey. The tour brings to light the old-fashioned whiskey production methods that Teeling use, including the use of grains – oat and rye – and the triple distillation in copper pots as well as providing information about Walt Teeling, the founder who set up the craft business in 1782. You’ll also get to sample some of the smooth malts and blends.
Price: From €14
Location: Teeling Whiskey Distillery 13-17 Newmarket Dublin 8
Book: Call +353-1-5310888 or email email@example.com
3. Tapas Trail, Dublin
If you’ve got a penchant for good food and wine and fancy taking a tour with a twist then consider a Tapas Trail. This fun exploration of Dublin will weave in visits to a few of the cities’ hidden gems in between restaurant stops where you’ll enjoy a bite to eat and a glass of wine. The guided tour, which takes three hours and includes three restaurants, is a sociable and entertaining way to enjoy Dublin’s thriving gastronomic scene while discovering little-known parts of the Irish capital. Be sure to arrive with a grumbling stomach.
Price: From €55
Location: 5 Crow Street Dublin 2 Ireland
Book: Online Tapastrail
4. The English Market, Cork
Famous foodie and Chef Rick Stein has given this market his seal of approval and you’ll soon see why. This impressive roofed space, created in 1788 by English Protestants, is the largest covered market in Ireland. Though the market is a worthwhile inclusion on any food-lovers’ itinerary, it is a particularly good choice for wet-weather days. Wander the stalls and marvel at the diversity – from organic fruit and veg, French epicerie to Irish confectionary – while soaking up the sights and smells of this vast market.
Location: Property Department, Corporate Affairs, Cork City Council, City Hall, Cork.
Book: No need to book just show up!
5. O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar & Restaurant, Roundstone
Situated on the wild and dramatic west coast of Ireland, looking out onto the mesmerising Twelve Bens mountain range, is O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar and Restaurant – a must for seafood fans keen to try fish so fresh it was moving just hours before. In fact the restaurant overlooks pretty Roundstone harbour, where the day’s catch comes straight from the fishing boats to your plate. Enjoy Cashel Bay mussels, Galway oysters or a fisherman’s platter in a traditional and tranquil setting.
Price: Value dining €20pp for 2 courses available until 7pm daily.
Location: O’Dowd’s Seafood Bar and Restaurant, Roundstone, County Galway, Ireland
Book: Call +00353-(0)95-35809
6. Murphy’s Ice Cream, Various locations
A holiday is not a holiday without ice cream and luckily, Ireland’s booming dairy industry ensures there is plenty of the stuff to go around. Our pick of the bunch is Murphy’s, whose high-quality ice cream shops can be found in Dublin, Killarney and its birthplace, Dingle, where it claims that the addition of distilled Dingle rain water gives it an extra je ne sai quois. This family-run company uses local ingredients such as Kerry cream, elderflower, whiskey and Dingle sea salt. The folks behind it are seriously passionate about what they do, which is apparent in their fantastic-tasting products.
Location: Various locations across Ireland including Dublin, Killarney and Dingle.
Book: No need to book just show up!
7. Loam, Galway
At Loam, you can sit back and relax: you’re in the hands of gastronomic experts. This is fine dining at its best, using fabulous seasonal produce, cooked to perfection and presented in a colourful and eye-catching manner. Choose the six course tasting menu for added wow-factor: experience pig tail, cuttlefish, scallop and monkfish, washed down with a zingy Picpoul in Loam’s smart, yet unpretentious restaurant. For foodies, it’s a dining experience not to be missed.
Price: 7 course tasting menu €70 or order 2/3 courses from the Simplicity menu, Cheese or meat boards starting from €9
Location: Fairgreen Rd Galway, Ireland
Book: Call +353 91 569 727
8. Kingfisher Bistro, Louth
On the east coast of Ireland near the border with Northern Ireland, is a little gem of a restaurant. The Kingfisher Bistro is run by brother-and-sister team Mark and Claire Woods, and their teamwork ensures great service and delicious cuisine. The menu is made up of modern classics, perfectly executed with elements of Thai, Italian and, of course, Irish. Among the standout specialities are mussels simmered in garlic, cream and white wine. If you’re staying nearby, take advantage of the takeaway wood-fired pizza, which you can bring back to your holiday home.
Location: Kingfisher Bistro Dundalk Street, Carlingford, Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Book: Online kingfisherbistro
9. The Copper Hen, Waterford
Excellent dining doesn’t always mean a formal setting – the Copper Hen is the perfect example of this. In the thriving port town of Waterford, this intimate, low-key restaurant with a lofty wood-beamed ceiling, offers a great way to sample some of Ireland’s best produce cooked by award-winning chefs, but without the hefty price tag. Be blown away by inventive dishes that use Kilmore crab, Dunmore cod and Glin Valley free-range chicken. Use your spare change to pop down to the pub below for a nightcap.
Price: Set menu starting from €22 for 2 courses.
Location: The Copper Hen, Fenor, Co. Waterford
Book: Call 051 330300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
10. The Courthouse Restaurant, Leitrim
You won’t believe you are in the tiny village of Kinlough in County Leitrim when you taste the moreish morsels of Mediterranean fare that come whizzing out of Head chef Piero Melis’ kitchen. Piero has put an Italian spin on some of Ireland’s classics creating to-die-for fusions like lobster with mascarpone and quail with a mushroom and balsamic reduction. Desserts are not to be missed with Italian favourites panna cotta and tiramisu high in the popularity stakes. This small restaurant will give you a warm welcome and an Italian meal you won’t forget.
Price: Set menu starting from €27.50 for 3 courses until 7pm.
Location: The Courthouse Restaurant Main Street Kinlough Co.Leitrim
Book: Call 071 9842391 or online at thecourthouserest
Don’t forget our friendly concierge team is on hand to help you with all your accommodation enquiries! They can help you find the perfect holiday holiday home in Ireland (just tell them what you’re looking for and they’ll draw up a shortlist) or help you book if you’re already chosen where you’d like to stay. Looking for more inspiration on your Irish trip? Head to our blog where you can browse through more foodie experiences and even find 5 of best Irish country pubs for a traditional pint.