Keith and I scored an amazing once-in-a-lifetime trip to Ireland on a surprisingly low budget. We’d both always dreamt of visiting to Ireland, and when we discovered we could do it on the cheap, we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Between flight credits, hotel rewards, and partnering with Tourism Ireland, we were able to pack so much greatness into 7 days. Before I share all of our accommodations, let’s get to the really important stuff – the food.
The husband and I flew into Dublin and rented a car. We then drove to some of the best stops in the Southern half of the country – I’d say we killed it! Here are the best Ireland restaurants and quick eats from Dublin to Cork to Galway (and everything in between). You’ll have to wait to see the awesome hotel breakfasts, with my accommodations post.
After 12 or so hours of flying, we arrived to Dublin first thing in the morning. Too early to check into any hotels, we opted to walk around town and stopped into the most amazing little cafe and breakfast spot – Beanhive! The seating was cozy, and made for fun chatter with strangers nearby, the cook and barista was friendly and talented, and the food and hot chocolate were delish!
Prices were pretty reasonable, and we were even able to share the 6-item Irish Breakfast. Yum – why don’t we serve beans with our breakfast in America?
Our next notable restaurant was in Cashel, just down the road from the Rock of Cashel. O’Neill’s Restaurant was hoping’ at lunchtime, with workers and locals. We enjoyed what looked and tasted like a home cooked Irish meal, and it was incredible! There wasn’t anything fancy about the chicken, mashed potatoes and root vegetables, but the flavors were to die for. This was the first time we felt like we were a part of the culture.
There are two stops I recommend in Cork – one is for dinner and the other for dessert. The Fish Wife is adorable and great for picking up dinner to-go, but they do have limited seated inside, should you choose to stay like we did. Fresh fish and chips, in several varieties!
Then stop over at Casanova Gelato for a real treat!
I sadly don’t have any photos to show for it, but if you drive around Ireland, you’re sure to come across your share of SuperValu supermarkets. If you’re looking for a truly affordable meal on the run, their deli is pretty incredible, and not like ours in the states. We had a pretty tasty shepherd’s pie from a SuperValue!
Up in Limerick’s Medieval Quarters, we were treated to a superb meal at Azur Restaurant. We walked over from our hotel, and the entire evening was beautiful and enjoyable. The ambience was perfect, and we allowed ourselves to delight in tastings of several courses – none of which disappointed.
Although it was hard to pick a favorite dish, we both drooled and moaned over the Deep Fried Camembert in Plum Sauce. Ah-mazing!
You can never go wrong with the Classic Bruschetta.
I still can’t get over the beauty and flavors in this Monkfish dish! I pretty much wanted to lick the plate clean.
I know it looks like a lot of food, but we just had to taste as much as we could, so Keith and I passed our dishes back and forth. He ordered the 48 hour slow braised beef with scallion mash and root veggies. Such a nice rich sauce and a meat that falls apart in your mouth.
For dessert, we were so full that we opted to get a slice of cheesecake to take back to our hotel room. I’m so glad we did because I think this was the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. You can’t beat the dairy in Ireland!
Up in Galway, we were treated to a lovely meal at Ard Bia at Nimmo’s. I loved the location of this charming and romantic restaurant, next to the water and the Spanish Arch. Lighting wasn’t the best for photographing our meal, but hopefully I can give you a good idea of it’s offerings.
The food at Nimmo’s is on the bold and daring side, with creative combinations. I especially loved the addition of creamy goat cheese to so many of the dishes. My favorite part of the meal was the goat cheese salad with figs (and the dessert later on).
A fun starter was the Short Rib Croquettes. These looked different than I expected, but tasty nonetheless.
For our entree, we shared a pumpkin risotto with walnuts and goat cheese. I truly loved the spoonful of goat cheese to eat with the risotto, and will repeat the idea. I personally thought there were too many ingredients in this dish – overcomplicating the texture and flavor of what could be an amazing dish. If I were to order again, I’d keep the ingredients to the risotto, walnuts and goat cheese. Yum!
Dessert was perfect – not too heavy and traveled great to our hotel. Memory is starting to fail me, but I believe it was a ginger cake with fresh cream and a fun honey crisp garnish.
My last Ireland restaurant recommendation is Finnegan’s, in Galway. This pub-style restaurant is in one of the oldest buildings in Galway, and serves great pub-style food.
On our last day in Ireland, we finally got us some Bangers and Mash! The meal may not look like much, but we sure enjoyed it and it was the least expensive meal on the entire trip! Fun atmosphere too!