You may be surprised that there are no restaurants in Ireland! None. Every town we came to, we could not find a restaurant. There are dozens and dozens of bars, one on every corner, even in the smallest town, but no restaurants.
Finally, we reluctantly started going to the bars, and lo and behold, they all serve meals – excellent meals. The food in Ireland in general is outstanding. We found it fresh and wholesome with good-sized portions.
It was pouring rain (it`s Ireland after all) when we ran into Moll Darby`s Bar and Restaurant in Limerick, where we had a fantastic meal.
Expecting to find a bar with fish and chips or burgers, we were pleasantly surprised to see a formal dining room.
Shortly after drinks, a tray of breads was served along with traditional Irish soda bread: dark, fresh and yummy.
T is a big fan of oysters and mussels, so when he ordered an appetizer of mussels in cream, I turned up my nose at sharing.
I ordered my own appetizer, which looked delicious, but was some kind of jelled lime seafood that was good, but just not great.
After just a taste of T`s mussels and cream appetizer, I exclaimed that they were absolutely delicious, and wanted another. T pointed out that I had had my chance to share, and that I furthermore had my own appetizer to eat. Hmpph.
On to the main course. T had salmon which he avowed was the best he has ever had.
I skipped the main course and went for two desserts – to share, of course. First, Sticky Toffee Pudding oozing a Devon cream sauce, served along side a nougat bar with a slate of chocolate on the bottom and a coil of chocolate on top. My jaw dropped at the first bite of Sticky Toffee Pudding. Unbelievably good. I mean the best dessert ever, anywhere! Let me tell you more. The pudding part is rich and dark, but it is not chocolate. It is covered with the most luscious sexy caramel sauce you`ve ever tasted. To say it is melt-in-your-mouth good is an understatement.
Then the ice cream dessert with raspberry sauce, mint leaves, a stave of chocolate, and home-made caramels – also beautiful to look at, and delicious.
We had excellent meals at the castles, even if they were outrageously expensive, and we especially enjoyed this breakfast at Ballynahinch Castle overlooking the water.
But we got a little tired of the exact same breakfast at the B & B`s day after day after day. They were good, just exactly the same. They call it the”Full Irish Breakfast”.
It was so sweet at one B & B where we stayed. The wife had obviously had to go somewhere, and the husband was graciously trying to host us for breakfast, rushing to meet our every request. It was a modest B & B, and he was trying so hard. Fidgety and apprehensive, he asked one thing, turned to leave, then twisted back to ask about something else we might need, repeatedly. Too sweet. Tired of the same old “Full Irish Breakfast”, I asked if I could have porridge, thinking maybe that would be easier for him to make, then realized that good porridge is difficult to make, and fully expected a thick gooey mush. As we drank our coffee we noticed that the table was actually the coffee table, set up nicely, and pulled up to the couch.
The porridge arrived. He watched attentively and nervously as one spoonful was cautiously lifted into my mouth. This was the creamiest, most delicate scrumptious porridge I had ever had! I told him it was the best porridge I had ever eaten, and his anxious look turned into total glee with a big broad smile. He looked completely self-satisfied, and I could almost hear him telling his wife later that day what a fine breakfast he had made. Just talking about his fabulous porridge makes my mouth water.
We even tried the famous Clonakilty Irish Black Pudding for breakfast at one B&B. It`s supposed to be a secret but it`s made from beef, oatmeal, onions and beef blood with a secret blend of spices. I liked it. It had a distinctive unique flavour and a crumbly texture.
Driving along the Southern coast one day, we came upon the Mannings Wine and Cheese shop in Ballylickey.
Barry Manning was as friendly and down-to-earth a gentleman as you’d find anywhere. This wine and cheese shop, he told us, had been in his family since 1879.
He proudly showed us his logo and t-shirts.
He rushed to the back to get some of his special wines.
The place was loaded with wines and cheeses.
He showed us 10 or more different types of Irish cheese, explaining what part of Ireland each of them came from and how they were made.
There were preserves, fruits and vegetables, and Barry’s own Irish Tea as well.
Of course we had corned beef and cabbage, biscuits and tea, and Irish stew. Irish potatoes are divine: sweet and fluffy. The never fail fish and chips are always available in Ireland.
As was the Guinness… almost a meal in itself.
But honest-to-God, the Sticky Toffee Pudding, was so sensational that I immediately made it when I returned home.
Send me an email below, and I`ll send you the recipe.