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need Recs for good Restaurants in Ireland

need Recs for good Restaurants in Ireland
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  • need Recs for good Restaurants in Ireland

    Post #1 - August 3rd, 2005, 3:46 pm
    Post #1 - August 3rd, 2005, 3:46 pm Post #1 - August 3rd, 2005, 3:46 pm
    I am heading off to Ireland this weekend for 2 weeks with my 15 year-old son.

    Our Iterary is as follows

    Dublin - 3 days

    Cahir Tiperrary - 2days

    Castletownbera on the Beara Penensula west cork 3 days

    Bunratty Castle (yes we succcomed to the mideavel dinner) 1 day

    Doolin county clare 2 days

    1 extra day to get back to Dublin from Galaway area.

    Does anyone have suggestions of good places to have lunch or dinner. All our accomadations are searving breakfast as part of the room price.

    Thanks
    Regina
  • Post #2 - August 4th, 2005, 2:46 pm
    Post #2 - August 4th, 2005, 2:46 pm Post #2 - August 4th, 2005, 2:46 pm
    I will have to look back at my notes to see if I have any other places for you but as far as Dublin...The Clarence has a nice breakfast ( A little pricey but good). We had yogurt and fresh berries one morning, pastries, and I believe french toast or pancakes. All very good. You may want to look there as a dinner option also. As far as dinner, we went to a place called Eden and that was very good (Can't remember what I had but I remember it was good!)...try to sit by the kitchen.

    If I come up with anything else I will post back.

    Have a great trip....Ireland is beautiful!
  • Post #3 - August 4th, 2005, 9:03 pm
    Post #3 - August 4th, 2005, 9:03 pm Post #3 - August 4th, 2005, 9:03 pm
    Does anyone have suggestions of good places to have lunch or dinner. All our accomadations are searving breakfast as part of the room price.

    Thanks
    Regina[/quote]

    If you are going to be in Galway, Donnelly's in Barna (not far outside Galway City in Connemara) is a favorite for seafood. In Galway City, Kirwan's Lane Restaurant is excellent, albeit pricey . . . but what isn't pricey in Ireland? I also consider my mother to be the best cook in Ireland, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't encourage drop-ins. :wink:
  • Post #4 - August 5th, 2005, 1:15 pm
    Post #4 - August 5th, 2005, 1:15 pm Post #4 - August 5th, 2005, 1:15 pm
    I was home in Ireland earlier this year, in January. My family lives out in the countryside (Co. Longford) and I stopped-off in Dublin before returning to Chicago. It had been a while since I'd eaten in a Dublin restaurant so I did a bit of searching and looking about before my one night on the town (stayed in a small hotel and ate from take-out places in the Glasnevins neighborhood other days). I chose Trocadero Restaurant (next door to Old St. Andrew's Church where the city tourism office is) - a stones-throw from Trinity College - for a special Saturday night. I was pleasantly surprised with the experience.

    The Trocadero (fondly referred to as "The Troc" by admirers) is best described as eclectic/international. It's a place popular with the art, literary, theater and broadcasting community in Dublin. Some of the walls in the restaurant are lined with autographed photos of well-known actors and authors who've frequented the establishment.

    The structure housing the restaurant was, at one time, a large private home. There are a half-dozen rooms in which patrons are seated and attended to by one of the best waitstaff's it's been my pleasure to be served by; 5 star service, I'll suggest. The decor heavily-emphasizes red - in particular red velvet. I don't know how to describe the"style" of decor, but I'll describe it as I heard one young woman do - "It's rather Bordello, isn't it." Some people describe it as "authentic theatre." Judge for yourself.

    The Trocadero is a place to see and be seen. There is an abundance of "circuses", as James Ward might describe the environment; I don't doubt for a minute he'd give it anything less than a 10 on that point alone. The place serves a large pre-theatre crowd and does a brisk business from about 6 p.m. onward, even after the theatre crowd has departed (I believe it's open for lunch, but don't know for certain). Reservations after 7 p.m. are a must.

    I arrived 6 p.m., a bit early, and, because I was dining by myself, the staff located a well-positioned small table for me (not next to a kitchen or service area). I availed myself of the fixed price pre-theatre dinner menu (economically priced at about €20) consisting of a huge bowl of soup as a starter, a triple portion of steamed vegetables (single, the menu said) and an entree of poached salmon - "wild" Irish salmon. Accompanying the meal was a basket of thin breadsticks, the type you find in some Italian restaurants in Chicago. The excellently prepared/served dinner, two glasses of house red wine and my sambucca with an espresso cost me €40 (including gratuity). I considered the price paid a bargain.

    For your reading enjoyment:

    Tales From The Trocadero
    http://www.tuppenceworth.ie/biglife/trocadero.html



    Trocadero Restaurant
    3 Saint Andrew Street
    Dublin 2
    Tel. +353 (0)1 677-5545
  • Post #5 - August 5th, 2005, 2:46 pm
    Post #5 - August 5th, 2005, 2:46 pm Post #5 - August 5th, 2005, 2:46 pm
    Antonius and I had a wonderful trip to Ireland a few years ago (the last child-free summer). I’m not sure from your itinerary if you’ll spend much time in Galway, but when we were there we ate very well on local lamb and seafood. One place we liked for food, and drinks, and traditional music was The Quays, with a spectacular wooden interior. (picture here)

    In Dublin we ate mostly at international restaurants, including La Mere Zou for French (though as I recall the owners were actually Belgian), Tulsi for Indian, and a very good place for Italian food. Antonius has a good story about the Italian place and I’ll let him tell it.

    The pubs everywhere seemed to have great lunch specials, though we were always so full from the big breakfast at the B&B that we couldn’t manage more than a sandwich at lunchtime.

    Have a great time in Ireland! We definitely want to go back and spend more time in Connemara, as well as exploring more of the west and Donegal. I hope you will get out to the Aran Islands (from Galway or from Doolin) during your visit.


    The Quays Bar, Restaurant & Music Hall
    11 Quay Street
    Galway

    Tulsi Restaurant,
    17a Lower Baggot Street,
    Dublin 2.
    Tel:+353 (1) 6764578

    La Mere Zou
    2 ST. STEPHENS GREEN
    DUBLIN 2
    TEL: +353 1 6616669
  • Post #6 - August 5th, 2005, 4:40 pm
    Post #6 - August 5th, 2005, 4:40 pm Post #6 - August 5th, 2005, 4:40 pm
    For the most part, I remember eating quite well during our trip to Ireland. The excessive prominence of the potato (here I refer only to such practices as restaurants serving both a baked potato and a healthy serving of chips/fries on the same dinner plate) was sometimes shocking but hardly unpleasant and the only thing that I'm inclined to complain about was a tendency -- in the west of the country particularly -- to oversalt, and then especially, it seemed, the vegetables. Most meals I ate lamb, which was of excellent quality, or seafood, which was equally wonderful. Simple preparations of these delicious ingredients left me quite happy. In Dublin, we strayed from the more native path a few times and were quite pleased with our 'exotic' meals. Both the Belgian and Indian restaurants mentioned by Amata above treated us very well.

    One general 'problem' was that the breakfasts that were included in our lodging costs were so good and voluminous that we never had any appetite to indulge in the good and surely very tasty bargains that were to be had at midday in the pubs.

    The story involving an Italian restaurant to which Amata refers above needs a preface. Our holiday in Ireland was built around Amata's need to attend a conference in the not-too-distant but -- to me at least -- not-all-that-exciting Manchester. Consequently, during my stay in Dublin, Amata went off for a few days to take care of business in Manchester, leaving me free to book shop and drink to my heart's content, with no guilt about boring my very patient and understanding wife.

    Anyway, back to the topic of restaurants. Out one day for a long walk I noticed a sign for a restaurant, "Il Baccaro", which caught my eye on account of the non standard form of the name (-aro rather than standard -aio). I looked over the menu and it seemed to be mostly nice, simple southern Italian fare. I decided to come back that evening for dinner.

    Back there in the evening, I ordered my meal: primo of gnocchi al pomodoro con mozzarella and secondo of salsicce con le broccoli di rape. I said the names of the dishes in Italian as we do in my family, that is, with a Neapolitan accent, which prompted the waiter to switch to Italian and, with surprise in his eyes and in his voice, inquire where I was from. As I explained a little of why I have a Neapolitan accent when I speak Italian, it started to become clear that our family histories led to the same small town in Campania. In fact, the waiter's father had had his house built by my uncle and cousin. He and the rest of the staff treated me very well on that and a subsequent visit a couple of days later with Amata (how could I resist taking her there).

    Small world.

    Beannacht ó Dhia oraibh... e buon appetito!
    Antonius

    Il Baccaro
    Diceman's Corner, Meeting House Square
    Temple Bar, Dublin 2
    Tel: 671 4597
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #7 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:39 pm
    Post #7 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:39 pm Post #7 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:39 pm
    In celebration of our new status as empty-nesters and a belated 20th anniversary (yes, the kids came quickly after we tied the knot), the Bride and I are heading to Ireland in September. As I finalize some plans, would love any suggestions as to places to go, things to eat. Have spent some time on business in Ireland, mostly around Waterford, and my impression is that the ingredients are exquisite, particularly the seafood, but the cooking is underspiced, and often over-creamed. But I am sure someone can help me prove that wrong.

    Looking for any updates to the above [edited to reflect merge into this topic and to add the following]

    Our current plan is to fly in and out of Dublin (via Manchester, actually) and reserve a hotel the first and last nights, plus a car, and then wing it. Probably head south to start and then work our way around the coast as far west and north as we make it. Spontaneity and B&Bs are to be our theme, and I hear the local tourist offices can usually find one lodging in a pinch, particularly late in September and early in October.

    Anyway, flights are booked, and now it just comes down to identifying some good locales and places to eat that we do not want to miss.

    Funny your comment about salt Antonius - doing busines in the south by Waterford, I found the food to be notable for an almost total lack of any seasoning other than cream. My standard joke about Irish food was that their idea of seasoning was to pass a salt shaker upright over the food, being sure not to tip it so no salt would actually fall onto the food. Seasoning by proximity, as it were.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by dicksond on May 23rd, 2006, 1:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #8 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:46 pm
    Post #8 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:46 pm Post #8 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:46 pm
    You've seen this thread already, right?

    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4683
  • Post #9 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:59 pm
    Post #9 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:59 pm Post #9 - May 23rd, 2006, 12:59 pm
    I can't imagine that any food recommendations from over 10 years ago would be valid, even if I could remember them, but these where-to-go ones probably are:

    1) Galway. University town, charming and cosmopolitan. By now it may be overrun with computer companies, it was heading that way then. But mostly locals encouraged us to avoid the cities (e.g., Limerick aka Stab City) and seek out the small towns, except for Galway which it seems everyone likes-- and Dublin, which seems inevitable. It's also where you go from to get to the Aran Islands, the truly lonely and hardscrabble part of Gaelic Ireland, well worth seeing just to know how hard life can be even in a place where grass grows in the thin film of dirt on your tin roof.

    2) Dingle Peninsula over Ring of Kerry. Locals all called the R of K a "raceway" because you've got so many tour buses trying to make it all the way around within a day and get back to the hotel. They strongly urged us to skip it for Dingle which is smaller, similar in terrain, and has the way-cool Galarus Oratory, one of the few Dark Ages stone/no-mortar chapels in Ireland which hasn't fallen in over all these centuries. (Some day a tour bus will probably take it out.) We took their advice, so I can't tell you how the R of K is, but Dingle was quite charming.

    3) Adare is the famous picturesque tourist town of thatched-roof cottages. If Ireland a la Disney is your thing, go for it. Otherwise Kilkenny is possibly the prettiest town in Ireland, with real Elizabethan and Victorian buildings in a lovely setting on a river, and the smell of Murphy's Ale brewing in the air.

    4) One tourist thing you pretty much can't avoid: Cashel, a hilltop compound which tours love because there's a ruin of one of everything there-- a castle, a cathedral, a monastery, etc. Well, it is impressive.

    Although it's well worth a splurge or two to stay in grandly silly places like this, the B&B system in Ireland is wonderful and I highly recommend staying in all those lovely homes built or added on to with EU development money in the last 25 years. I think this was the book we used to find B&Bs in many places and I will say that, on the whole, their suggestions were noticeably friendlier, nicer and more hospitable than the ones we selected on our own. Of course, that's relative, a surly, incommunicative Irish lady is probably friendlier and chattier than most Chicagoans....
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #10 - May 23rd, 2006, 1:43 pm
    Post #10 - May 23rd, 2006, 1:43 pm Post #10 - May 23rd, 2006, 1:43 pm
    Amata wrote:You've seen this thread already, right?

    http://lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=4683


    Guess I missed it. Thanks Amata, will merge these threads.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #11 - October 24th, 2006, 12:48 pm
    Post #11 - October 24th, 2006, 12:48 pm Post #11 - October 24th, 2006, 12:48 pm
    Have completed the Ireland trip and will begin to post my notes, but let me begin by a comment.

    Man, has Ireland changed in 10 years! I have not done a detailed review, but it must be one of the most affluent places in the world these days. Not at all like it was in the 90's when I had to travel there a bit on business.

    In general, we found the food to be decent. There is a category of low-priced lunch places that serve frozen meals, heated up, sometimes in the microwave containers, and it took me a few days to recognize and avoid these places. And the omnipresent carvery (hot buffet with roasted meats carved to your order) is another sort of a trap that I had to learn to work around. But we ate pretty well most of the time.

    Notes to follow over a few days or so.
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #12 - October 24th, 2006, 3:42 pm
    Post #12 - October 24th, 2006, 3:42 pm Post #12 - October 24th, 2006, 3:42 pm
    dicksond wrote:Man, has Ireland changed in 10 years! I have not done a detailed review, but it must be one of the most affluent places in the world these days. Not at all like it was in the 90's when I had to travel there a bit on business.
    It's the second most vibrant economy in all of Europe! Mrs. Roadhouse, an American born Irish colleen and first rate Hiberno-phile, thinks it is surpassed only by Finland. She could be mistaken on that fine point. I'm sure someone on this board will be quick to point it out if she is.
    dicksond wrote:In general, we found the food to be decent. There is a category of low-priced lunch places that serve frozen meals, heated up, sometimes in the microwave containers, and it took me a few days to recognize and avoid these places. And the omnipresent carvery (hot buffet with roasted meats carved to your order) is another sort of a trap that I had to learn to work around. But we ate pretty well most of the time.
    We were there in '04, staying on the west coast, from the Ring of Kerry on the south, to the Mullet Peninsula on the north.

    We ate most of our meals in the pubs and found the food there to quite good. Brilliant seafood chowders almost everywhere we went. Nicely prepared, locally caught fish was available whenever we wanted it.

    We were less than impressed with the highly touted Irish beef. Maybe they just haven't figured out how to prepare it properly yet.

    We did enjoy a few ethnic meals; some good Indian carry out consumed at Ted's Bar (Ted is a Danaher as is my wife. We spent the night swapping photos and genealogical info with Ted and his Mrs. as we chowed down on curry washed down with Guiness) in Newcastle West, and some decent Chinese in Ennis.

    I also found that the Irish are quite fond of cream of tomato soup and do a very good job creating a nicely rich version of it.

    We're hoping to get back there one day soon. It is a remarkable country full of people who know how to have a good time.

    Buddy
  • Post #13 - May 11th, 2009, 11:07 pm
    Post #13 - May 11th, 2009, 11:07 pm Post #13 - May 11th, 2009, 11:07 pm
    Title pretty much says it for the most part, but to be more specific, I'm go to Dublin, Kilkenny, Kilarney, Galway, and back to Dublin, with some pit stops likely along the way.

    I eat everything but green peppers.

    What says ye?
  • Post #14 - May 12th, 2009, 7:51 am
    Post #14 - May 12th, 2009, 7:51 am Post #14 - May 12th, 2009, 7:51 am
    A great Hotel in Dublin is the The Clarence. Great location, a little pricey...It is owend by The Edge and Bono from U2 but it is still a great place.

    While in Galway, you have to stop in to Moran's Oyster Cottage. It was one of the best meals we had.

    http://www.moransoystercottage.com/

    If you want a picturesque dinner experience overlooking the water, stop in to the Strand Inn:

    http://www.thestrandinn.com/index.html

    PM me if you want more details

    KevinT
  • Post #15 - May 12th, 2009, 9:08 am
    Post #15 - May 12th, 2009, 9:08 am Post #15 - May 12th, 2009, 9:08 am
    Ireland is now the source of some gorgeous artisanal cheeses, and I'd advise seeking out and trying as many as you can. For the best start, visit one of the Sheridan's cheese shops (branches in Dublin, Galway City, and Waterford), where you'll find both the products and great info/advice (and a lot of other tasty items as well). The largest concentration of cheesemakers, I believe, is in the County Cork area, so if you're down that way you might have some fun tracking some down yourself (those that allow visitors, that is). In Cork City, check the English Market. You'll also find cheesemakers at various farmers markets.
  • Post #16 - May 12th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    Post #16 - May 12th, 2009, 1:52 pm Post #16 - May 12th, 2009, 1:52 pm
    Moy House (north of Shannon Airport near the Cliffs of Moher) for seafood with a sweeping view:

    http://www.moyhouse.com/

    Ballynahinch (between Galway and Clifden) for tea and sandwiches, fish caught right in the river marsh on premises, and pub food:

    http://www.ballynahinch-castle.com/

    and one of the best in the country, the Mustard Seed at Echo Lodge (Adare), make reservations well in advance:

    http://www.mustardseed.ie/

    In general, I'd expect to eat lots of hearty pub grub, great sausages, teas, fresh baked goods with fantastic butter, river and ocean fish, the aforementioned seaside aged cheeses, and good stews. There is also some unexpectedly strong Chinese food in the larger Irish cities (like Orchid Szechuan in Ballsbridge, Dublin).
  • Post #17 - May 12th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    Post #17 - May 12th, 2009, 2:04 pm Post #17 - May 12th, 2009, 2:04 pm
    Ballynahinch (between Galway and Clifden) for tea and sandwiches, fish caught right in the river marsh on premises, and pub food:

    http://www.ballynahinch-castle.com/


    I hesitate to make recommendations which would be 15 years old, but we stayed and ate here, and I am glad to hear it's still good. A lot of French seemed to be staying there, which suggested that the west of Ireland is to the French as Provence is to the English. When we mentioned we'd been there to Irish folks, though, they usually said "Ooh, that's where all the rock stars stay!"
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
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  • Post #18 - May 13th, 2009, 4:27 pm
    Post #18 - May 13th, 2009, 4:27 pm Post #18 - May 13th, 2009, 4:27 pm
    Thanks folks, I'll be certain to follow-up with pics.
  • Post #19 - May 13th, 2009, 4:49 pm
    Post #19 - May 13th, 2009, 4:49 pm Post #19 - May 13th, 2009, 4:49 pm
    I'm heading to Dublin myself in two weeks. I have a dinner set at Patrick Guilbaud (21 Upper Merrion St in Dublin) which some say is the finest high-end restaurant in Ireland. But I'm interested to hear other interesting suggestions.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #20 - May 13th, 2009, 8:34 pm
    Post #20 - May 13th, 2009, 8:34 pm Post #20 - May 13th, 2009, 8:34 pm
    I found the fish & chips at The Cellar Restaurant, which is located literally below Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud in the Merrion hotel, to be the best I tried in Dublin. A bit pricey, but they were exactly what I was looking for - crisp, light batter, flaky-but-not-mushy fish, and perfect Irish-pub-style chips. The wine cellar atmosphere was cool too.

    The only other fish & chip places that I remember by name were Beshoff's (soggy breading on the fish, limp chips) and Leo Burdock's (honestly, not too memorable other than that I liked what I ate more than Beshoff's).

    There's a fantastic pub kitty-corner to the Merrion called Hartigan's Pub...reasonably-priced pints, lots of seating (classic, child-sized pub stools and appropriately-low tables), live music in the front room, and chatty, friendly clientele (although this seemed to be common everywhere we went :)). When I walked into this pub, my first though was, "Ah ha! So Celtic Crossings IS an authentic Irish pub!"

    I was also a big fan of Brogan's and Grogans, both located in the same general vicinity near the Grafton St. area. Grogans is a tiny, archetypal pub, with cheap pints and classic Irish pub food. Brogan's, on the other hand, is a larger, more happening pub, with a younger crowd and more modern, American music...but with its vintage architecture & interior details and casually-dressed, pint-nursing crowd, it's a far cry from Barleycorn's or Kincade's.

    Another memorable place was The Dawson Lounge, which is billed as the smallest pub in Dublin...and rightly so. Its "storefront", which is literally a few feet wide, is a door that opens immediately to stairs heading for the basement level, where the bar is located. The bar itself is a couple hundred square feet at most, but was packed with friendly folks who were more than happy to put in your order, pass back your pints, pass your cash to the barman, then chat with you about where you're from and offer advice on things to see & try. The pints were pretty cheap here too.

    The other thing I learned, through personal experience: do NOT eat at Abrakebabra, no matter how many pints you've had and how lively it looks at 4am. It's just not worth what it did to my stomach :mrgreen:

    Looking at my recs now, I guess it's pretty obvious what kind of trip I had...most of our nourishment came in the form of Guinness :P

    The Cellar Restaurant
    The Merrion Hotel
    Upper Merrion Street
    Dublin 2, Ireland
    Tel: +353 1 603 0600

    The Dawson Lounge (a.k.a. Ron Blacks)
    25 Dawson Street
    Dublin 2, Ireland
    Tel: +353 1 677 5909

    Hartigans
    100 Leeson Street
    Dublin 2, Ireland
    Tel: +353 1 676 2280

    Grogans Castle Lounge
    15 South William Street
    Dublin 2, Ireland
    Tel: +353 1 677 9320

    Brogan's Bar
    75 Dame Street
    Dublin 2, Ireland
    Tel: +353 1 679 9570
  • Post #21 - May 3rd, 2011, 7:27 pm
    Post #21 - May 3rd, 2011, 7:27 pm Post #21 - May 3rd, 2011, 7:27 pm
    Since this thread is two years old, I wanted to bump it to see if anyone has any more recent recommendations. I'll be spending about a week in Dublin in late June. We'll be elsewhere in the country (still to be determined, though noteworthy restaurant recommendations could help sway our decision) for the week after.

    I'm going with a friend who has business meetings in Dublin, so I may be dining solo for a few lunches and dinners in Dublin. He's not much of a beer drinker, so those solo meals may be when I head out for great pub food. Suggestions where a solo dinner (single female) would be comfortable would also be appreciated.
  • Post #22 - May 3rd, 2011, 8:05 pm
    Post #22 - May 3rd, 2011, 8:05 pm Post #22 - May 3rd, 2011, 8:05 pm
    chgoeditor wrote:Since this thread is two years old, I wanted to bump it to see if anyone has any more recent recommendations. I'll be spending about a week in Dublin in late June. We'll be elsewhere in the country (still to be determined, though noteworthy restaurant recommendations could help sway our decision) for the week after.

    I'm going with a friend who has business meetings in Dublin, so I may be dining solo for a few lunches and dinners in Dublin. He's not much of a beer drinker, so those solo meals may be when I head out for great pub food. Suggestions where a solo dinner (single female) would be comfortable would also be appreciated.


    It may be touristy as heck, but for pub food it doesn't get much better than the chicken wings at Elephant & Castle on Temple Bar. They were so good we went back a couple days later for a second go-round. A few years later I still get a craving for chicken wings whenever I hear the Talking Heads (which seemed to be on repeat both times we were there). Burgers were good, too.
  • Post #23 - May 5th, 2011, 10:24 am
    Post #23 - May 5th, 2011, 10:24 am Post #23 - May 5th, 2011, 10:24 am
    Bumping this with a bit more clarity on our itinerary:

    We'll be in Dublin for about a week. My friend will be working during the weekdays, so I'll be looking for great lunch places where I'll feel comfortable dining solo. I may do a day trip to Belfast (where my Mom's Dad's Mom's Dad was born in the 1800s).

    We're driving to Galway, where we're planning to stay outside the city. Restaurant suggestions en route, in Galway or the surrounding area would be appreciated.

    Then we'll drive to Cork. Again, restaurant suggestions en route, in the city or the surrounding area would be appreciated.

    We have two more days that are unplanned, but will probably be spent close to Dublin. At this point, we'll still have a rental car (won't during the first week in Dublin) so foodie destinations near Dublin that require a car are welcome.
  • Post #24 - May 6th, 2011, 5:01 am
    Post #24 - May 6th, 2011, 5:01 am Post #24 - May 6th, 2011, 5:01 am
    We just got back from a week in Ireland. Very pleasantly surprised by the food, we had some fantastic meals. I was afraid we'd be slogging through a lot of dreary meals like we've had in the past in England, but it was actually quite the opposite. Despite the economic woes of the past few years, there's some real energy and excitement in the restaurant scene.

    We stayed in Dublin the first night and last night, and our concierge recommended The Pig's Ear for our first lunch. This is a small restaurant, right across the street from Trinity College
    Image

    Just absolutely loved this place. The owner Andrea works the front room, and she's as incredibly charming and gracious as only the Irish can be. They pride themselves on local sourcing, and the head chef is highly skilled with French training. Everything we had was delicious, starting with the carrot soup;
    Image

    and whiskey-cured salmon
    Image

    My wife loved her main of chicken with wild mushrooms
    Image

    And I had the "Slow Cooked Duck Leg with Cauliflower, Pearl Barley, Young Cabbage & Spiced Prunes". Words can't describe how good this was, absolutely the best duck I've ever had anywhere
    Image

    This was so good that we immediately made a dinner reservation for our return on our final night in Dublin.

    We had another great meal that first night at Roly's Bistro, which was near our hotel in Ballsbridge. I definitely recommend reservations for both places, they're deservedly popular. Both have similar philosophies, impeccable sourcing and expert preparation at a very fair value. For mains my wife had pasta with wild mushrooms, excellent
    Image

    I had the roast hake, delicious - btw, fish and shellfish were fantastic everywhere we ate. Sorry for some of the out of focus pics, everything was taken with a blackberry
    Image

    We stayed at the Cahernane House in Killarney as our touring base for 5 nights. Don't let their rack rates scare you off, they gave us a great package deal which included a suite, breakfast every day (ummm, full Irish) and 3 dinners in the Herbert Room. Just call them and ask what specials they have, they offered all this pretty much umprompted for the price of their cheapest room. The Herbert Room is also open to non-guests. The dining room was pretty quiet at night, but somehow they've managed to keep an excellent chef on the payroll - each meal was as good as what we had in Dublin. If you're in Killarney check it out, it's about a 20 minute walk from downtown right on Muckross Road just south of the river. Cool hotel and great staff, we really enjoyed this place - just what you'd expect from one of these old manor house hotels. Sorry no pix, didn't bring the phone or camera down to the dining room:
    Image

    And more wonderful food on our final night at the Pig's Ear. Our last afternoon in Dublin began with the obligatory pub crawl and a few whiskey's
    Image

    Followed by some shaky photos of a ridiculously decadent final meal, starting with "Potted Duck with Juniper, Caper & Tarragon Mayonnaise" (duck confit)
    Image

    Followed by "Honey Roasted Fermanagh Pork Belly with Mini Sausage Roll, Cauliflower, Pearl Barley, Young Cabbage & Spiced Prunes", ridiculous (btw, very well thought out wine list at great prices - both by the glass and bottle). The little side dish is roasted potatoes with rosemary, fantastic
    Image

    Dessert was this insane deconstructed cheesecake served in a Smucker's jar. Pictures don't do this justice, magnificentImage

    Andrea then plied us with some complimentary Irish coffee and God knows what else. Just loved this place, tell Andrea her friends from Chicago sent you. She'll also be visiting Chicago this summer with her head chef, they'll be doing the grand tour of Alinea, Charley Trotter's, Blackbird, etc looking for more ideas, although it would be tough to improve on the experience we had.

    Enjoy!
  • Post #25 - May 6th, 2011, 9:52 am
    Post #25 - May 6th, 2011, 9:52 am Post #25 - May 6th, 2011, 9:52 am
    Coincidentally, I stayed at the Cahernane House for two nights during a week long trip to Ireland last fall. I'd also recommend it to anyone in the Killarney area. Try to get a room with a view of the mountains.

    But I have to say the breakfasts and dinners I had at the Dunbrody House in Wexford (actually closer to Waterford) blew everywhere else away by a wide margin. In fairness, except for the Cahernane House and Dunbrody, we tended to go with the more downscale restaurant options at the places we stayed. We also did not go to Dublin.

    http://www.dunbrodyhouse.com/
  • Post #26 - May 6th, 2011, 10:23 am
    Post #26 - May 6th, 2011, 10:23 am Post #26 - May 6th, 2011, 10:23 am
    rickster wrote:Coincidentally, I stayed at the Cahernane House for two nights during a week long trip to Ireland last fall. I'd also recommend it to anyone in the Killarney area. Try to get a room with a view of the mountains.

    But I have to say the breakfasts and dinners I had at the Dunbrody House in Wexford (actually closer to Waterford) blew everywhere else away by a wide margin. In fairness, except for the Cahernane House and Dunbrody, we tended to go with the more downscale restaurant options at the places we stayed. We also did not go to Dublin.

    http://www.dunbrodyhouse.com/


    That's high praise for the chef at Dunbrody, the chef at Chahernane was no slouch. I was super impressed by the food we had in Ireland. It was pretty far down the list of places I've wanted to visit but it was my wife's turn to pick the trip. I didn't really expect much food-wise but I was blown away by quite a few of these meals.
  • Post #27 - May 6th, 2011, 10:54 am
    Post #27 - May 6th, 2011, 10:54 am Post #27 - May 6th, 2011, 10:54 am
    Dunbrody is sort of marketed as a "foodie" destination hotel and offers its own cooking school - which didn't seem to be operating when I was there. I think the chef is a bit of a media celebrity too.

    I thought the dinner in the dining room at Cahernane was quite good, the breakfasts a bit more ordinary. We also ate one night in the downstairs pub which was OK. My opinion might suffer a bit from having been to Dunbrody first.
  • Post #28 - May 10th, 2011, 11:30 am
    Post #28 - May 10th, 2011, 11:30 am Post #28 - May 10th, 2011, 11:30 am
    Thanks for the suggestions. Based on those in this thread plus the input of an Irish friend, we've cut out a night in Cork & added two night at Cahernane House in Killarney.
  • Post #29 - May 10th, 2011, 1:57 pm
    Post #29 - May 10th, 2011, 1:57 pm Post #29 - May 10th, 2011, 1:57 pm
    chgoeditor wrote:Thanks for the suggestions. Based on those in this thread plus the input of an Irish friend, we've cut out a night in Cork & added two night at Cahernane House in Killarney.


    I'm sure you'll enjoy it, the staff is great. No need to stray from the Full Irish at breakfast, the omelets and pancakes were so-so. The salmon and brown trout at dinner were locally caught, both were excellent.
  • Post #30 - May 12th, 2011, 10:07 am
    Post #30 - May 12th, 2011, 10:07 am Post #30 - May 12th, 2011, 10:07 am
    Food aside, Killarney is a great base to see the Ring of Kerry and the Dingle penninsula from, which are not to be missed. Also close to the Cahernane House is the Muckross Estate, which has an interesting baronial home and a large historic working farm exhibit village intended to show what life was like in Ireland in the 1800's.

    I hesitate to make recommendations which would be 15 years old, but we stayed and ate here, and I am glad to hear it's still good. A lot of French seemed to be staying there, which suggested that the west of Ireland is to the French as Provence is to the English. When we mentioned we'd been there to Irish folks, though, they usually said "Ooh, that's where all the rock stars stay!"


    Ballynahinch was my overall favorite place to stay during my trip, although we ate only in the pub for dinner so I can't comment on the main restaurant, although the breakfast was very good. While wandering around the place looking at all the photos of fishermen showing off their catch, I swore one of them was of a younger Eric Clapton holding a huge salmon. My girlfriend thought I was crazy. Maybe I wasn't.

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