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15 of the most delicious Irish foods you HAVE to try

Irish restaurants in Dublin

Ireland is known as the land of lush green fields, friendly locals, Saoirse Ronan and, of course, the festive fun of St Patrick’s Day. Allegedly, there are some leprechauns roaming around the isle – though we’ve yet to suss out the truth on THAT one.

Despite everything we know and love about Ireland, some of you may not be too familiar with the cultural dishes that define this dreamy landscape. Comfort food like colcannon mash and stew, fresh seafood, POTATOES. What’s not to love about Irish cuisine? Scroll through our guide to the best Irish foods you have to try during your next visit…

1. Soda bread

Since homemade bread is all the rage these days, we figured we should add this signature baked good to the list! Pretty much every family in Ireland is guaranteed to have their own soda bread recipe, and chances are that it’s been passed down through the generations. The base ingredients for every version are the same: bicarbonate soda, buttermilk, flour and a pinch of salt. Soft and fluffy bread with a crunchy outer crust, slathered in butter and jam. Perfect with your morning cuppa!


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2. Tayto crisps

No, this isn’t just a fun way of saying ‘potatoes’. It’s a brand of crisps that are as iconic as they are delicious. Founded in 1954, the original Tayto flavour is Cheese & Onion, though they’ve expanded to new varieties like Salt & Vinegar, Smokey Bacon and Prawn Cocktail. The brand is so popular, many people in Ireland refer to all crisps as ‘Taytos’ – kind of like how lots of Americans call tissues ‘Kleenex’. Top tip: pop a handful of these crips between two slices of buttered white bread for a delish Irish snack.

3. Hunky Dorys

Another popular brand of crisps – owned by Tayto – Hunky Dorys has a wild number of flavour choices but there’s one in particular you have to sample: Hunky Dorys Curry Sauce Chips. If you don’t know about curry chips, read the point below, but these crisps have basically bottled up that flavour and seasoned potato chips with it and it is *chef’s kiss*!

4. Curry chips

Speaking of which, you absolutely MUST get your hands on some curry chips. These thick-cut fried chips covered in a mild curry sauce are the perfect dish to devour after a night out. Whether you head to the local chipper, or hit up the nation’s most popular fast food joint SuperMac’s, it’s essential that you try this before you leave Ireland. This local invention is also popular around the UK so you might have heard of it before, but if you’ve yet to taste it we couldn’t recommend it more.


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5. Bacon and cabbage

Anyone who grew up in an Irish household knows what it’s like to come home and smell this dinner cooking. Boiled ham and boiled cabbage with boiled potatoes are the components of this surprisingly appetising dinner. Surprising, because we said the word ‘boiled’ so many times. But, the mix of salty bacon, buttered potatoes and cabbage is a homely wintry delight and one of the best Irish foods.

6. Jacob’s Mikado Biscuits

Hey, you don’t win the honour of being named, ‘Ireland’s Best Biscuit’ for nothing. With a crumbly biscuit base with a jam centre and coconut-covered marshmallow, this delicious treat is a teatime staple in Ireland. If coconut and jam are not your, well, jam, then you should try Jacob’s Kimberley, Coconut Creams, Fig Rolls or Club Milk bars. Take your pick!

7. Full Irish breakfast (AKA The Ulster Fry)

If your holiday is packed with activities and adventures, why not take the morning off and indulge in a full Irish breakfast? The most popular style of this breakfast is the Ulster Fry, which consists of sausages, bacon, eggs, black and white pudding, potato farl, mushrooms and tomatoes. Served up with buttered soda bread and a cup of tea, you can’t go wrong.


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8. Club Orange

This may be a drink, but it certainly deserves a place on our very important list of the best Irish foods! A concoction that’s half soft drink, half orange juice? Sign us up! This fizzy delight mixes carbonated soft drink with ‘real fruity bits’ and it is absurdly refreshing. Trust.

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9. Boxty (AKA Irish potato cake)

An Irish potato pancake is basically mashed and grated potato mixed with salt, flour and sometimes buttermilk. These pancakes are typically fried, though they can also be served up fresh from the oven. Irish pair them with everything from spring onions and sour cream to bacon and eggs. They’re kind of like a hash brown… only significantly tastier.


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9. Oatfield Emerald Irish Caramels

Touted as the OG Irish Caramels, these velvety little toffees combining caramel and chocolate are a road trip staple. Be prepared to polish off an entire pack, though, because one is never enough.

10. Irish stew

Probably one of the most iconic and best Irish foods, a traditional stew uses cheap ingredients like potatoes, carrots, onions and water as a base. Dating back hundreds of years, stew was a popular dish because it was an easy way to cook tougher cuts of meat like mutton. Nowadays, it’s typically made with lamb or beef and people add in things like turnips, garlic and herbs. Comfort food for the win.


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11. Cockles and mussels

With a lengthy coastline, the Irish have access to some of the freshest seafood in the world. Tuck in to a dish of cockles (small, saltwater clams) and mussels, usually steamed and served up with chips or bread. The dish is so popular, there’s even a song about it called Molly Malone.

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12. Fish and chips

Similar to the UK’s classic fish and chips, Irish fish and chips are a delightful combo of thick-cut fried chips, battered white fish like cod and haddock, mushy peas and tartare sauce. With so much seafood to try in Ireland – from oysters to smoked salmon – it’s a good idea to make a list of the best spots to hit. Towns like Dingle, Kinsale, Cleggan, Howth and Lahinch are among the top destinations for seafood lovers.

13. Colcannon

Yes, the Irish were into kale before it was a trendy leaf in your $17 salad. This legendary dish combines potato, butter, milk, salt, pepper and kale or cabbage. Some places also serve up Colcannon mash with bacon! Meanwhile, champ is a similar version of mash potato, but typically has spring onions or leeks in the mix.

15. Guinness

Is this a food? Well, no, but Guinness is pretty much the most filling drink so hey, it counts. Don’t let that stop you from trying this hearty – and legendary – Irish stout. With barley, roast malt extract, hops, and brewer’s yeast, this dark beer is a strong one, but it absolutely must be on your list of things to try in Ireland. Make a day of it and head to the Guinness Factory or Temple Bar in Dublin to try your first pint.

Ready to discover Ireland? Check out our epic 8-days Ireland trip, covering Dublin, County Cork, Galway, and more.

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