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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Food in Dublin

For my May posts, I’d like to focus on one of my favorite parts of traveling … food!  While our tour includes breakfast and dinner daily, we will be “on our own” to explore lunch options each day.  So this month, I’ll be posting some ideas for great places to eat (or stop for a pint) in each of the cities we’ll be staying in next year.  And the first stop is, of course, Dublin!

As an international city, Dublin offers a wide variety of dining options, so you can find your own favorites or any number of internationally themed options.  But when I travel my goal is always to find something authentic.  So the first criteria to make this list is being noted as a restaurant, pub or café that showcases authentic Irish cuisine.  My other criteria is value and affordability, which is one of the reasons I love group tours like ours!  Thus, every location on this list was selected in part because its menu is affordably to moderately priced.  (However, if you really want to indulge at least once during our tour, be on the lookout for another of my posts later this month that will offer a few fine dining ideas around Ireland.)

Dublin Pubs

Cliché or not, my first thought for authentic Irish food is pub food.  Dublin has more than its fair share of traditional Irish pubs, but here are a few that are affordable and well rated by fellow travelers:
  • DarkeyKelly’s Bar & Restaurant, near Christ Church Cathedral, is popular for its nightly live music, often featuring local bands.  For some authentic Irish fare, try their fish & chips, Guinness stew or bangers & mash.
  • Sheehan’s, also on the southside and not far north of the Gaiety Theatre and St. Stephen’s Green, is a good spot for Irish stew or fish & chips, not to mention a pint!
  • The Celt Pub, on the northside, is noted for having live music and those same pub favorites:  Irish stew, fish & chips and bangers & mash.
  • JohnKavanagh “The Gravediggers”, another northside option, is located near the National Botanic Gardens and has a highly praised coddle as its signature dish.
  • The Quays, located in the heart of Dublin in Temple Bar, may be crowded but boasts great live music and Irish pub atmosphere.  Their Guinness stew, cottage pie, coddle and bangers & mash all come highly recommended.

Dublin Cafés
For an Irish lunch outside the pub scene, Dublin cafés are a great source of affordable, authentic Irish food.  Cafés are generally the least expensive places to eat in the city but also frequently offer some tempting dessert options along with authentic Irish dishes (because what’s a great meal without dessert!).
  • The Stage Door Café, in Temple Bar, is popular for its Irish breakfast, Irish coffee and cheesecake.
  • Beanhive, on the southside near Trinity College, is also known for its Irish breakfast and brunch, as well as, a delicious looking lemon cake.
  • The Pantry, on the northside, has several good reviews for its vegetable soup.

Dublin Restaurants

Other authentic and well rated restaurants in Dublin include seafood restaurants (Ireland is an island after all!) and steakhouses.
  • TheLittle Kitchen, on the southside, offers a great variety of well-regarded meals from lamb shanks to cod.
  • The Sussex is a steakhouse on the southside praised for its shepherd’s pie, a true Irish classic.
  • Catch-22 is, of course, a great place for seafood. Their specialties include fish pie and chowder.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Our May 2018 tour of Ireland will conclude with either a trip to the Aran Islands or free time in Galway.  Earlier this month I posted some information on the Aran Islands trip, but if you prefer to see more of the mainland, here are some great suggestions for how to spend that free day in Galway and the surrounding area:

  1. Kylemore Abbey and Ross Errilly Friary day trip:  Take a ride through some of the most beautiful countryside Ireland has to offer in the Connemara region.  You’ll stop at a well preserved Franciscan Friary and visit Kylemore Abbey along with its Gothic style chapel and walled Victorian gardens.  You’ll also visit the village of Cong where The Quiet Man (starring John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara) was filmed.
  2. Wild Atlantic Way Horseback Ride:  Do you love horses and sand?  Take a half-day guided horseback ride along Omey Beach.  You’ll see Courthoor Lough, Omey Island and some Connemara ponies along the way.
  3. Tour Galway:  This beautiful city has a wide variety of tours to choose from or combine for a full day of fun and exploration.  Take a two-hour food and wine tasting tour, enjoy a three-to-four-hour bicycle tour of the city or opt for the flexible hop-on hop-off bus tour of Galway.;;
    photo courtesy of
  4. Take some great part-day tours near Galway:  You can enjoy some time in the city and still fit in some short excursions for nearby experiences.
    • Killary Fjord Boat Tour:  This short tour allows you to explore the only fjord in Ireland.  You may even see some dolphins.
  5. Brown Trout Fly Fishing day tour:  Enjoy an 8 hour fly fishing trip on Lough Corrib in County Galway.  The tour includes a guide and boat hire.  Take a lunch break at one of the numerous islands in Lough Corrib and just enjoy the Irish countryside and wildlife on this relaxing tour.
  6. Connemara Walking tours:  Whether you want a gentle walk through the countryside or some more strenuous hiking or hillwalking, there are a wide variety to walking tours through the breathtaking Connemara region.  Group tours can be booked or individuals can join already scheduled tours with guides and equipment included.
  7. Kayaking Connemara:  You can even take a more adventurous scenic tour of the Wild Atlantic Way with a half-day, guided kayak tour.  Visit local salmon farms and navigate sea caves and arches as you make your way along the Connemara coastline.
If you have sites you especially want to see in the west or northwest of Ireland, you can also join a planned tour or hire a guide for a customized day tour.  I’d suggest checking out Emerald Isle Tour’s day tours page for ideas:

And for more information on Galway, check out