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Cuisine in Ireland

January 21, 2013
                                                      Cuisine in Ireland
                                                      A Few Fun Facts
Our journey to Ireland began in June 2011 and we had no idea what to expect for the different culture or cuisine. We had read books about traditions of Ireland and most talk about lamb.
As a child growing up I was exposed to lamb when my grandmother would prepare a special feast and sort of liked it but when I tried to prepare it years later, we could not give it away fast enough. Eating out did not make it any better either.
I knew that being surrounded by the Atlantic, fish would be fresh and the old standby of  Fish and Chips would most likely be safe and probably prepared in ways we had never seen or tried.
But we decided before leaving home we would try anything at least once. We were not going to look for the familiar McDonalds, Burger Kings or Denny style eateries!
Our first night after following our tour of the famous Guinness Brewery we walked to the Temple Bar area where we roamed into Gogarty’s Pub. The traditional sounds of Irish music playing and laughter filled the restaurant/pub. We had intended to just have a drink and see what we could learn about area sights to see that may have been off the beaten path and less of a touristy thing to do.
Gogarty’s was filled with people everywhere both tourist and locals and we found the aroma of the restaurant was too great to resist.
We were seated in a tiny table close to the bar and ordered a drink while we listened to the music. The people at a table next to us was not more than two feet away and we could not help but see what everyone was served for dinner.
Temptation got us! I ordered the Fish and Chips still a bit nervous about the lamb and eating a dinner meal in a pub.  Doug however, order the lamb stew.  What can I say? When I saw Doug’s dinner there was little doubt he had made the best choice. Oh, my meal was perfectly delicious but the lamb stew was exquisite and a meal we would definitely be ordering again.
While we do enjoy the Fish and Chips, we did not want to eat a lot of meals high in fat or greasy. It was such a pleasant treat that each time fish was our choice, it was never greasy. One day I ask the waitress again in a pub how is it the fish and fries never tasted as though they were fried in grease. She probably thought it a strange question but she said she had no idea. She went to the chef and returned back to tell us it was because it was all made to order. No precut fries or pre-breaded fish and it was all kept cold up to the time of preparation.
On many occasions we were in the mood for a bowl of soup for lunch and again once tried, you could not help but want it again. We are accustomed to enjoying vegetable soup and seeing the vegetables but no where we dined was that the case. It was always creamed and delightfully filling.
Each experience was as if  it were a new discovery for dining out.
Don’t expect to find soda drinks in abundance or really sweet treats. Even the potato chips are completely different. I , being a diabetic could enjoy the breakfast rolls without a problem. I do suggest that if diabetic you watch your BG’s to stay safe. The scones were found most anywhere
The one thing that was fairly common all over the Republic of Ireland was no one seem to have ice. Everything I drink that is to be cold, I use a lot of ice but finding it even in the grocery stores was difficult.
Now, in all of Ireland we visited,
the only meal item we did not like was the black and white pudding. When we found out what it was, we liked it a bit less!
I had a real desire to find ice cold crab and when anchored for several days in an apartment, we searched for a fish market to buy crab. Nothing at all like our meaty Dungeness Crab.
We dined in five star restaurants, casual sandwich stands, even TGIF but we found the best to be in the pubs for value and taste.
Claddagh Ring:  It has many stories but the true story that surrounds this ring in not known but we know for sure that it stands for- Let Love and Friendship Rule Forever!
There is a story that it was a woman that used an inheritance to do good for the village she lived and was rewarded from a bird flying overhead dropping the ring in her lap!
The last tale that I was told about was a maiden hopelessly in love but all she had were her dreams and in her sleep one night she dreamt of a prince that brought her this ring and proposed marriage.  A fine friendship and love forever.
It does not matter what is actually true as I am sure this ring means many things to many people over the years but as long as it is given in the name of friendship and love what else really matters?
Irish cuisine is still focused around the potatoes served in various ways and at most meals.  You will find that they use very little seasonings except salt and pepper and rarely do you find sauces or gravies.
Beware of these little hints:
  1.  Be sure to help your husbands to ask for directions or you may miss a location all together!  Sorry guys.
2. NO PLUG OUTLETS FOR HAIR DRYERS OR CURLING IRONS in any bathrooms – the only outlet in the bathroom is for European electric shavers.
3. Pepsi products are far and in-between. Soda is not that big in most stores or restaurants
4.Ice is not used unless you ask and then only in  small amounts
5. Pudding- it’s blood pudding and is part of EVERY Full  Irish Breakfast
6.Book directly with hotels or ask your travel agent to do so as one  location didn’t think many of the booking companies and informed me they had to use them for business-but you should see what you get for a room when you do! 
7. NO TOILET SEAT COVERS ANYWHERE you may want to take them with you so you can have a clean place to sit.
8.There are NO Rest Stops along the road and it can be miles before you find a restroom.  Pubs and grocery stores are almost always accommodating.  We bought many drinks, crackers and snacks along the way so we could use their toilets without feeling strange.
9.TIPS EVERYWHERE- parking, Bell-persons, airport,  restaurants-carry lots of small bills or coins. (there are coins for single Euros too)
  1. You may want to consider buying a hair dryer and curling iron in Ireland as it uses 220V, 60HZ.  or you definitely need a converter.  The converter is necessary for your computers, games, and anything electronic.
11. Take your own Garmin and have the Ireland program loaded (map) Otherwise expect to pay 14 euros daily which is $21 daily just not to be lost!
When you hear the words “RECALCULATING” don’t throw it through the window-it simply means you made a wrong turn or missed it!  Why is it always a woman’s voice?

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  1. It comes as no surprise that you have gifted us with a post that is virtually laden with hot tips and mouth watering food suggestion. So lamb it is my lady, but I could have told you that the best crab in the world is much closer to home – and I don’t mean the human kind. Thanks for an informative post.

    • Hi Linda,
      It will be such a privileged to finally meet you this year journeying through Ireland/Scotland signing our new boos as well as my first book about Ireland. Together we will discover new cuisines to share with the world-this time Jon will introduce us to Scottish meals but you are right-no more crabs!
      Thank you for visiting.

  2. A comedian you are! Thank you Linda and just keep these tips in mind for our next journey to Ireland when we will present the best of books to a new audience! The cuisine in Ireland is truly a delightfully sinful treasure find.We will be adding photos later to this post.
    See you in Ireland!

  3. Raani York permalink

    This is a great post! I love it and was reading some facts with great interest!! Thank you for sharing this on WP!!

    • Hi Raani,

      Maybe you should consider joining several of us in Scotland and Ireland as we do book signings and celebrate life’s treasures and many blessings. It is time for all of us to meet you-Another great author.
      Thank you for your support.

  4. Jon Magee permalink

    Thank you Rosemary. Can I add a few more that maybe helpful when crossing the Atlantic.

    1 Chips in UK and Ireland is like what Americans call fries

    2. American chips are what we would call crisps

    3 Across here we do NOT have gravy with biscuits, biscuits will be like your cookies. (and I don’t mean the cyber cookies) 😉

    4. Jellow, or jelly as we call it, can be a dessert which you may have with, say, icecream. I remember the shocked expressions I got when visiting an American buffet style restaurant when I picked up jelly and ice cream as a dessert.

    • Thank you Jon. I am surprised anyone in the states would have been surprised about jelly or jams on ice cream. Nothing better than a good strawberry jam on top of vanilla ice cream!
      Here when you order say Fish and Chips it is actually the same as in Ireland-fish and fried potatoes. But our potato chips, cheetos, ec are so much different. The biscuits were a surprise! But a nice one. Doug loves biscuits and gravy but never had them in Ireland. Seems food is much healthier in your part of the world. My biggest surprise of all were the fries or fried fish not being greasy. What a delight. We can hardly wait to return and discover even new cuisines.

      We look forward to your guest post again soon. BUT our greatest thrill for 2013 is our next journey to meet you. Traveling to do book signings in Scotland and Ireland will be such an honor. y new book will be with me at that time as well.

      Thanks Again!

      • Jon Magee permalink

        I wonder if we are talking of the same thing ref jelly. There is jelly jam, and there is jelly which will be like what you call jello or jellow. Certainly in the southern states people seem to use that as a salad, which we find strange.

        As for jam on ice cream, thats new to me.

      • Try strawberry jam on ice cream sometime. It is wonderful. If jam is jam in Scotland!!

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