There is a magic about Ireland that goes much deeper than leprechauns and pots of gold. There is a sense of belonging, pride and welcome that makes you feel like you are coming home but discovering something brand new at the same time. From energetic adventures to hearty meals, a trip to the Emerald Isle will leave you feeling satisfied like never before.
Just as it is shrouded in mystery, the country is also often shrouded in mist. You’ll want to pack a jacket for when things get wet, international travel insurance* in case things go wrong and elastic waisted pants to accommodate all of the wonderful meals that will go right.
This list of Irish favourites will help keep you warm and ready for another day of exploring!
It is hard to think of the Irish and not think of potatoes. After being introduced to the country from South America via Spain in the 1500’s, the vegetable quickly became a staple for the Irish people. By the 1800s, a large portion of the country was almost entirely dependent on their own potato crops for survival.
Devastatingly though, in the mid-1800s a disease struck down the nation’s potato crop and plunged the country into a period sometimes known as the Great Potato Famine. The crop eventually recovered but not before the Irish people were severely impacted. Now days, although the potato is the most cultivated vegetable across the world, it still holds a special place in Irish culture.
So, all that said, it is impossible to come to Ireland and not eat potato and one of the best ways to do that is to enjoy a traditional Irish potato cake, also known as the boxty.
The boxty is a mix of mashed and grated potato, held together with an egg and flour mixture, then fried. The beauty of this little dish is that it is perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner and can be dressed up as much as you like with accompaniments. One local favourite is to enjoy it with Irish wild caught salmon.
Irish soda bread is a simple recipe that has thousands of iterations across almost every family in Ireland. Made simply with flour and bi-carb soda and sour milk mix to make it rise, this simple bread is said to have gained in popularity during the Great Potato Famine when families needed to replace the gap left in their diets. You might see a cross pattern in the top of the bread. It is said this was made in the dough before cooking to help ward off the devil. Others argue it just makes the bread easier to split up. Either way though this dense, fresh bread will make the perfect accompaniment to any of your rich stews and soups.
Irish Cream Bundt Cake
There is a long standing debate between the Irish and the Scottish as to who first invented Whisky. The Irish maintain that they learned the technique from their Irish Monks. Apparently the Monks initially learnt to distill perfumes from the Ancient Greeks during their travels and the ever ingenious Irish adapted the technique to make Irish Whisky.
The best way to enjoy the flavour of the Whisky without any of the holiday headaches is to try an Irish Cream Bundt Cake. The bundt is an old European design and definitely adds something to this Irish dessert. Enjoy the dense vanilla cake with a decadent creamy icing that captures the delicious flavour of Irish Whisky.
When the weather is looking decidedly dreary and you need some serious comfort food, the Dublin Coddle is the best bet. This dish is as traditional as they come. It dates back to the 1700s and there is no real recipe but more of a tradition to its making.
At the end of the week families would make a meal in a pot with any leftovers. That would all simmer in the stock before being enjoyed. Legend has it that it was a favourite in some households because it could be left simmering on the stove for any late stragglers to get home from the local pub.
These days Dublin Coddle is not so much of an afterthought but a fixture on the menu. It is typically made with sausages, bacon, potato, onion, parsley and stock.
Irish Apple Cake
One of the most popular Irish desserts is the Irish apple cake. Apples have a rich history in Ireland with some stories telling of Saint Patrick planting apple trees. There are currently over 140 varieties growing across the country and the oldest commercially grown variety is over 200 years old.
When you sit down then, to enjoy a hot, fresh slice of Irish apple cake, you know you are sitting down to enjoy a piece of Irish history. The cake is made dense and moist with layers of apples within and a crunchy top. It is served straight from the oven usually with thick cream of custard. The use of mixed spices in the cake mix gives it a lovely warming feeling and will round out any meal perfectly.
* Travel Insurance is issued and managed by AGA Assistance Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFS Licence No. 245631, trading as Allianz Global Assistance (AGA) as agent of the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFS Licence No. 234708 (Allianz). Travel Insurance is underwritten by Allianz. Conditions, terms, limits and exclusions apply. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision please consider the product disclosure statement available at www.allianz.com.au. If you purchase this insurance, we will receive a commission that is a percentage of the premium. Ask us for more details before we provide you with any services.