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Irish Stew

When we think of Ireland, Guinness usually springs to mind. But what is a pint without a plate of traditional Irish food to go with it?

Ireland is famous for its historic landmarks, the religious all-day-drinking celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and the founder of famous rock bands like U2, but it is also home to a diverse range of traditional Irish food that you must try during your next trip across the water.

Apart from being overly fond of cabbage and potatoes in a multitude of their dishes, Ireland has an eclectic range of traditional foods that are sure to get your taste buds tingling.

Discover the top 10 traditional Irish foods below…

1. Irish Stew

Irish Stew

An extremely popular dish is the Irish stew. What makes it Irish? If you stick to the five main ingredients, you can not go wrong. Fill a pot with lamb, potatoes, onions, carrots and water and let it simmer to savour all the rich flavours.

Traditionally cooked over an open fire, this typical Irish food is an excellent choice for a home-cooked meal with your family and coincides perfectly with a bottle of wine. You can still cook this stew over the cooker (don’t worry – we won’t tell).

Piqued your interest yet? Why not take a look at our places to stay in Ireland guide to discover the best location for your next holiday.

2. Belfast Bap

Belfast Bap

The rules of the Belfast bap are that there are no rules. Grab your bread and choose from sandwich fillers, ham, cheese, crisps or all of the above, it’s your choice. Are you partial to a sausage roll? Why not throw that in too?

What’s the secret to the Belfast bap that a regular sandwich doesn’t have? It was made in Belfast.

3. Black and White Pudding

Black and White Pudding

White pudding is less commonly known and used in modern dishes, but the Irish breakfast is not complete without the appearance of both the black and white pudding. Largely made from pork, oatmeal, barley and herbs, the white pudding does not contain blood, unlike its more famous twin.

Now more common in lighter bites and starters of Ireland restaurants, the black and white pudding is an essential part of the Irish cuisine.

Are you looking for a traditional Irish watering-hole? Then look no further than our top taverns you must visit in Ireland.

4. Ulster Fry

Ulster Fry

Perfect for recovering after a night of drinking, the Ulster Fry is considered the Holy Grail in Ireland, particularly in the North.

The essential meats include: bacon, black and white pudding and sausages, whilst the rest of the plate consists of tomatoes, eggs, potato and soda bread. As one of the most popular Irish dishes, the Ulster Fry is sure to be your new favourite type of breakfast.

Sure to fill you up, why not take the opportunity to explore the Irish countryside and look through our walks in Ireland guide for the most popular choices.

5. Boxty


Sounds strange right? Well this Irish potato pancake is a local delicacy that is sure to hit the spot for all you pancake lovers. With all the typical ingredients of an English pancake with the added benefit of a potato filling, Boxty is a welcomed surprise for anyone’s breakfast.

Potatoes are considered an essential part of the Irish diet which was shown by the very outdated rhyme “Boxty in the griddle, boxty in the pan, if you can’t make boxty, you’ll never get a man”.

It was said the average man was eating 6kg of potatoes a day by the 19th century. While we don’t think you have to go this far, treating yourself to a Boxty for breakfast one morning is a must.

6. Colcannon and Champ


Now onto potentially the most important Irish dishes of the whole list.

Colcannon is made from mashed potatoes and kale, whilst Champ blends mashed potatoes with scallions. Both are considered crucial side dishes for any evening meal; pair with meat or vegetables and add a splash of gravy so as to not spoil the rich flavour.

You can sample either of these dishes at a local pub or restaurant after a long day sightseeing. If you’re struggling to find interesting landmarks, why not browse through our hidden gems in Ireland post for further inspiration?

7. Potato Bread

Potato Bread

What Ireland food list would be complete without the presence of potato bread? Made mostly in Northern Ireland, the potato bread was said to have been traditionally made with leftover potatoes and is considered the regions earliest style of bread.

With a thick crust and a spongey centre, the potato bread is the perfect combination with soups; pair with an Ulster Fry or as a side with an evening meal, the potato bread can fit anywhere.

If this has you considering a visit with the whole family, make sure you browse through our pet-friendly cottages in Ireland so no one has to be left behind!

8. Irish Soda Bread

Soda Bread

Substituting yeast for sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), soda bread requires only three extra ingredients: flour, salt and buttermilk. Typically, the buttermilk creates a chemical reaction with the baking soda and creates small pockets of carbon dioxide which causes the bread to rise with little effort.

Perfectly suited with an Irish stew, or simply spread some fruity jams on one side and pair with a coffee or a cup of tea. This is a popular choice of Irish food that you must try.

9. Barmbrack


Customarily eaten on Halloween or St Patrick’s day, Barmbrack is a cake which is perfectly blended with the bitter-tasting whisky and sweet-tasting fruit to produce a fruitcake for the ages and is considered one of the top Irish foods around.

Traditionally, Barmbrack comes with a festive ritual in which items are hidden inside the cake, and with every slice, each family member would find one item which is said to determine their future.

The finding of the penny is said to bring great fortune, whereas someone who finds the ring is the next bride-to-be. The unlucky soul who finds the thimble is destined for spinsterhood, whilst the rag symbolises a poor future.

If you’re thinking about visiting Ireland for its festive holidays, then take a look at our top five cottages for St Patrick’s Day for further inspiration.

10. Yellowman Candy

Yellowman Candy

Though visually very similar to playdough, Yellowman Candy’s taste and texture is anything but. A hugely popular Northern Ireland treat which is largely made from honeycomb with gives the impression of a toffee-like sweet.

Traditionally, you can find this delicious sweet at the annual Ould Lammas Fair which has been held at Ballycastle in County Antrim for almost 400 years. This authentic chewy treat is the perfect choice for those sweet tooths among you and can also be found in various market stalls and shops around Northern Ireland.

Or if you’re feeling creative, why not search for a recipe and cook up your own batch?

Why not try the Irish Coffee?

Irish Coffee

If you’re looking for something to wash these foods down with, then look no further than the Irish coffee. Ever wondered what’s inside? Be prepared for the sugar coma that is sure to ensue with the strong flavour of coffee beans mixed with a traditional Irish whisky, stirred together with sugar to create a drink that must be savoured.

Let’s not forget to top with cream to balance out some of those powerful flavours.

You can sample all of these dishes on your next trip by securing one of our summer holiday cottages in Ireland and make sure to browse through our Ireland Travel Guide to uncover some hidden gems.

Image credits: O’DeaCC BY-SA 4.0; Wild quinine(CC BY-SA 3.0).

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