If you are worried about not getting full on your motorcycle tour in Ireland, I can already reassure you: Irish cuisine is rich and the plate is full!
If you have a diet planned, better do it before your Ireland tour, because Ireland is not a country where people spend the whole evening nibbling on a lettuce leaf!
And the best thing to do after the Ireland trip is to go on a diet again....
No, that was a joke…. In Ireland you will find a colorful mixture of traditional Irish dishes, English dishes and international cuisine. Ireland was not a wealthy country for a long time. The traditional Irish cuisine was therefore simple but hearty and should above all make you full and warm.
In addition to the best beef and lamb, poultry, eggs and butter, the finest Atlantic fish and seafood are among the most important ingredients of Irish cuisine. Furthermore, potatoes, oats and various vegetables that thrive particularly well in Ireland, such as different types of cabbage, peas, beans, various types of carrots and turnips, celery, leeks and onions.
On the Emerald Isle there is green lush pasture almost all year round. Winter temperatures usually remain above zero degrees (Celsius) and frost is rare. Due to the mild climate, sheep are outside all year round and cattle are often outside all year round, or at least 9 months of the year.
These animals live much healthier lives and move around a lot more than their counterparts in German intensive barn farming. As a result, Irish farmers produce not only the best milk and butter, but also the finest meat!
Beef tastes much better in Ireland than in Germany! In Ireland there are also millions of sheep and lamb has been part of the Irish cuisine for centuries - you should try it!
With the exception of oats, not so much grain grows on the island, but a lot of vegetables. Especially carrots, yellow turnips, different kinds of cabbage, leeks, celery, as well as peas and beans can be found in many Irish dishes.
For centuries, the potato has been an important basis of Irish cuisine and so you can still find it in all varieties in very many dishes - and in large quantities!
In Ireland, the sea is never far away in any direction. The clear currents of the Atlantic are the habitat of many species of fish and marine life. And so the best salmon, the finest mussels and oysters, crabs and lobsters, and marine fish such as cod and hake are regularly found on the menu of the islanders.
So, these are the essential ingredients of Irish cuisine - and what is there to eat on my motorcycle trip?
2) Full Irish Breakfast
3) Scones and Soda Bread
4) Soup and Sandwich
5) Cesar Salad with/without Chicken
6) Seafood Chowder
7) Bangers and Mash
8) Mussels and Oysters
9) Various Dishes with Salmon
10) Fish and Chips with Cod, Haddock or Hake
11) Shepherds Pie and Cottage Pie
12) Irish Stew with lamb or beef
13) Bacon and Cabbage
14) Roasted Beef (beef roast)
15) Steaks and Burgers
16) Lamb Chops
17) Chicken Tikka Masala and Curry in different variations
18) Apple Crumble
19) Carrot Cake
21) Chocolate Cake and "Death by Chocolate
Porridge is a cooked oatmeal often enhanced with raisins, berries or fruit. For many Irish, it is always included in a breakfast, as well as the cup of strong black tea. If that's not enough, you can have toast with jams, including the sweet and bitter orange marmalade.
Re 2) Full Irish Breakfast:
This cooked and fried meal is more of a (late) breakfast for the weekend and is also popular for lunch. In addition to fried eggs and bacon (bacon), it includes pork sausages, white beans in tomato sauce and fried mushrooms, as well as fried slices of black and white pudding. However, this is not a sweet pudding (as in German), but is best translated as pork sausage, the black pudding having blood in it. If that's too heavy for breakfast, you can order "leaner" versions without sausage.
Re 3) Scones and Soda Bread
Soda Bread is a traditional Irish bread that is baked with baking soda as a leavening agent rather than yeast. It is widely baked in Ireland, as is toast.
Scones are pastries about the size of a fist, which are popular to take with tea, but also for breakfast. The dough is very firm and the taste is only very slightly sweet. The Irish like to have them with whipped cream and sweet jams.
To 4) Soup and Sandwich
For the motorcycle trip a real insider tip: Almost every pub in Ireland also offers lunch and Soup and Sandwich is a great meal, which makes warm and full, but is too heavy, so that one can ride the next hours afterwards again without problems motorcycle. The soup is usually a hearty vegetable soup and the sandwich is usually sumptuous. Sometimes chips or french fries are served with it.
Re 5) Cesar Salad:
Another insider tip for a meal that's not too heavy, the internationally known Cesar Salad with or without Chicken is often served with Soda Bread.
And another motorcyclist's secret tip for lunch: the Seafood Chowder is a bowl of hearty, creamy fish soup. Fish and seafood are simmered with vegetables such as potato, celery, carrot and leek in a thick stock. This makes a hearty soup with not too strong a fish flavor and is served with Soda Bread.
Re 7) Bangers and Mash:
The Irish love mashed potato - which is a hearty mashed potato, perhaps comparable to mashed potatoes. Bangers are sausages, often made from beef or lamb. The whole thing swims in a strong gravy and tastes excellent.
The clear waters of the Atlantic provide Ireland with the best fish and seafood. In fact, the quality of the mussels and oysters is so excellent that Galway has its own food festival, the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival. By the way, all kinds of crab and langoustine dishes are also excellent.
Re 9) Various dishes with salmon:
The salmon of Ireland's west coast is also excellent and is offered almost everywhere in many variations: boiled, fried, steamed or smoked - no matter in which form, it always tastes great.
Re 10) Fish and Chips
Fish and chips have probably been taken over from England. They can be found everywhere. The most common types of fish in fish and chips are codfish, hake and haddock. However, these fish are also prepared as fillets in various ways, that is, without the breading and then served different vegetables and potato variations.
These traditional Irish dishes usually consist of two layers and are prepared in the oven dish. The bottom layer is a ground meat and vegetable mixture. On top comes a layer of creamy mashed potatoes (with butter and milk). The whole thing can be topped with cheese. Shepherd`s Pie is made with lamb, Cottage Pie with beef.
Re 12) Irish Stew with lamb or beef
Irish stew is the national dish of Ireland. It is a hearty on-pot-cooked stew with coarse pieces of meat, potato chunks, carrots, and other vegetables. Originally, mutton was used for this, today usually lamb or beef, or a mixture of both types of meat.
Re 13) Bacon and Cabbage:
This is another classic in Ireland: a large, boiled ham (comparable to Kassler in Germany), with white cabbage and a light sauce. Does it come with potatoes? In Ireland always!
This does not mean cold slices of meat, but a large warm evening meal with a roast beef with gravy, fried or deep-fried potato pieces, cabbage and often Yorkshire pudding, a kind of dumpling.
Ad 15) Steaks and Burgers
This is where it gets international: still, Irish beef is really fantastic and adds a special touch to any burger or steak!
Lamb has a long tradition in Ireland - and you probably won't get it more tender and delicious anywhere else.
Re 17) Chicken Tikka Masala and Curry in different variations
Indian cuisine came to Ireland via England, and so you'll find Indian-inspired curries of all kinds in Irish pubs - and yes, the Irish can cook and eat spicy food, too!
Now we come to dessert: the Apple Crumble is often not comparable to apple pie: The dough is softer and the apple more like apple compote. The whole thing is therefore quite liquid and usually comes warm, with vanilla sauce or ice cream, in a bowl.
Ad 19) Carrot Cake:
A delicious firm carrot cake. No need for much talking - just try it!
Also a very tasty dessert. Much softer and creamier in consistency than German cheesecake.
Re 21) Chocolate Cake and "Death by Cocolate":
The Irish have really perfected and exhausted the chocolate cake: chocolate cake is often served with ice cream or cream, possibly with a chocolate sauce.
In "Death-by-Chocolate", the slightly warmed chocolate cake has a liquid chocolate center inside, is covered with chocolate sauce, and there is cream and ice cream on top.
At this point we really have to stop, because after "Death-by-Chocolate" really nothing goes....
Just 20 years ago, Irish cuisine was hearty, simple, and traditional - hearty home cooking made from local ingredients. In the meantime, you can find international cuisine of all kinds all over the island and especially in the somewhat larger cities. Asian, Mediterranean, fine and upscale cuisine can be found especially in cities.
But of course, the big fast food chains and many small take-aways are also represented everywhere.
So today you can find a colorful mix of Irish, British, Asian, American and continental European influences in Irish cuisine.
Those who arrive at their hotel or B&B exhausted, dehydrated and under-sugared after a long day on the bike often search in vain for a restaurant - and usually find the longed-for salvation in the pub.
Pub food is often far better than one might expect, there is very often also really good food in the pubs and sometimes additionally restaurants! And Irish beers too, of course, but this topic would give enough material for a chapter of its own....
The Irish are a sociable people and they like to party. And so there are all kinds of festivals to be experienced on the Emerald Isle throughout the summer: Art, Literature and Theatre Festivals, Music Festivals, Heritage and Agricultural Shows and Food Festivals.
The latter often last for several days and if you have the opportunity to stop by a food festival on your motorcycle tour, then you should definitely plan some time for it. There you can experience the best mood, music and the finest dishes and culinary specialties of Ireland:
April 29-May 2: Connemara Mussel Festival in Tully Cross.
June 10-12: West Waterford Festival of Food (https://www.westwaterfordfestivaloffood.com/)
July 29-Aug. 1: Enniscorthy Rockin`Food Festival (https://www.rockinfoodfestival.ie/)
Sept. 23-25: Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival (https://www.galwayoysterfestival.com/)
Sept. 30-Oct. 2: Dingle Food Festival (https://www.dinglefood.com/)
If you're on a diet, Ireland doesn't have it all that easy, and vegetarians and vegans also have to search a bit more for suitable meals here than in the Mediterranean, for example.
All others will find in the Irish pubs and restaurants many hearty and delicious dishes that after a long day on the bike, the body recharged with energy - and for the soul there is also music and Irish beer! But that's another chapter....
Ulrich Knüppel-Gertberg, February 2022
Picture credits: Cover picture: www.goodfoodireland.ie. All other image sources are indicated with the respective image.
Sources: Google 2022, Wikipedia 2022, easycruiser.tours, the websites of the food festivals listed, and the sources indicated in the images.