What food did Ireland invent

10 traditional Irish dishes you need to try

While Ireland has traditionally not had the same reputation in the kitchen as some other European nations, that is starting to change. Thanks to the country's lush green pastures, beef and lamb are considered to be the best in the world, and today's Irish chefs do exciting things using simple local ingredients. Here are ten traditional dishes that you must try, and where to find them.

Irish breakfast

Although the original version of the cooked breakfast was invented in England, the Irish made the "fry" their own. An Irish breakfast usually consists of a combination of bacon, sausages, eggs, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, hash browns, white and black pudding - pork with oatmeal and black pudding - and baked beans. Toast and tea are essential pages for this national favorite, also known to be a guaranteed hangover cure after an evening drinking Guinness. The Woolen Mills Eating House in Dublin makes one with Offaly-churned sausages and bacon, beefsteak tomatoes, O'Doherty's black pudding, and a fried egg and toast.

The Wool Mills, 42 Ormond Quay Lower, Dublin 1, Ireland +353 1 828 0835

Irish stew

Traditional Irish stew comes in many forms, but the most common recipes tend to center around lamb, potatoes and onions as central ingredients. This dish dates back many centuries, and before lamb became the custom, mutton or kid would have been used. Popular especially during the winter months, Irish Stew warms comfort food at its best. Herbs like thyme and rosemary make it even tastier. Try one of Ireland's oldest pubs, The Brazen Head in Dublin.

The Brazen Head, 20 Lower Bridge Street, Dublin 8, Ireland, +353 1 677 9549

Irish stew | Courtesy of Enrich and Endure

Galway oysters

The west of Ireland has the best oysters in the country, and those harvested in Clarinbridge, County Galway are known around the world for their superior taste. Seafood lovers should definitely try to come to the Galway International Oyster & Seafood Festival at least once, where they can see the Irish and World Oyster Opening or Shucking Championships and taste some of the best shellfish in the Atlantic.

Oysters | © Pixabay

Soda bread

The Irish love their bread and soda bread recipes have been passed down from parents to children for generations. Soda bread is a form of quick bread, which means that it is leavened with something other than yeast, in this case baking soda. The other ingredients are flour, buttermilk, and salt, and it comes in brown and white varieties. Many who do it put their own script on the recipe and add extras, but one of the best recipes to follow is the simple but wonderful one from Ballymaloe House.

Ballymaloe Cafe, Ballymaloe House, Shanagarry, Midleton, County Cork, Ireland, +353 21 465 2032

Irish soda bread | © Mike McCune / Flickr

Cockles and clams

You don't have to go to the Wild Atlantic Way to try great seafood. Made famous by the song "Molly Malone", the typical Dublin dish with cockles - small saltwater clams - and clams can be found in The Winding Stair restaurant next to Ha'penny Bridge in the heart of the city. The menu features Steamed Cockles and Roaring Bay Clams from County Cork with Clogherhead Crab, Shrimp Toast, and Mayo Toast and Chips.

The Winding Stair, 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland, +353 1 872 7320

Cockles and clams at The Winding Stair | © Dave Sweeney

Barm Brack

Barm Brack - usually called Brack in Ireland - is a sweet type of sultanas and raisins, traditionally served with tea. This dessert is especially popular around Halloween, when objects used to be added to the batter to make some kind of festive fortune telling game. Items such as a coin, pea, and ring were traditionally added, and whoever found the ring was believed to be likely to get married within a year. Today Halloween bar clasps with a toy ring can still be bought in supermarkets. Brack can be found in many cafes, but if you're feeling brave, you can try it yourself, following the recipe from celebrity chef and Youtube star Donal Skehan.

Barmer Brack by Donal Skehan | Courtesy DonalSkehan.com


Another entree for the humble potato, colcannon is a mixture of mashed potatoes, cabbage or kale, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Usually served as an accompaniment to cooked ham, it inspired a nostalgic song of the same name with poetic lyrics like, "Have you ever made a hole to hold your mother's melting flakes / creamy flavored butter? Make?" Oddly enough this is another dish with a strong connection to Halloween, when people used to hide a ring and other surprises in it. The Oliver St. John Gogarty restaurant in Temple Bar serves colcannon with all main dishes.

Oliver St. John Gogarty, 18-21 Anglesea Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 671 1822

Colcannon | © VegaTeam / Flickr

Guinness cake

Few things are more Irish than Guiness, so a cake made with the dark stout is the ultimate Irish dessert. A rich, moist chocolate cake iced with cream cheese to look like a pint of 'the black stuff'. The best in Dublin can be found in the delightful Cake Café on Pleasants Place.

The Cake Café, The Daintree Building, 8 Pleasants Place, Saint Kevins, Dublin, Ireland, +353 1 478 9394

Guinness Cupcakes | © Alexis Lamster / Flickr


A boxty is a type of pancake made from finely grated fried potatoes. The best place to try this indigenous country of Leitrim staple is Gallagher's Boxty House in Dublin's Temple Bar - an entire restaurant devoted to distinctive Irish food. Founded by a man known as a "recognized potato expert," the Boxty House's signature dish is a Gaelic box of Irish beef medallions in a whiskey and mushroom cream sauce. They also make them with chilli and mixed beans, chicken and smoked bacon, or toasted walnuts and Corleggy drumlin cheese. Another Irish dish is the Shepherd's Pie.

Gallaghers Boxty House, 20 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 677 2762

Chicken Boxty Quesadilla | © Fado Irish Pub / Flickr


Usually associated with Dublin, CoDdle is generally made up of leftover food like sausages, bacon, onions, and potatoes. Dinner, made by boiling the ingredients up and steaming the ingredients inside, might sound like an afterthought, but it's popular with Dubliners and even has literary connections - it is reported that coddle is playwright Seán O 's favorite food. Casey and was Gulliver's Travels Author Jonathan Swift. The true mark of a Dublin tradition, it appears even in the work of James Joyce. O'Neill's Pub is so famous for its delicacies that they even have the recipe on their website.

O'Neill's Pub & Kitchen, 2 Suffolk St, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 679 3656

Author: Arturo Clark

Arturo Clark is a 36 year old journalist. Extreme web lover. Prone to apathetic seizures. Lovers of alcohol. Twitter geek. Bacon Evangelist. Incurable beer dealer. Food expert. Professional student.