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Hey! This is super early but I am so excited that I'm planning now...I will be in Dublin, Galway and places around Galway (Doolin, Aran Islands) this summer on vacation!!! :) Where should I eat? What should I order? What is something I should not leave Ireland without trying? I know Ireland is not known for its food but I'm sure there is something I should experience. I'll be on a backpacker's budget so nothing too expensive...well, maybe one splurge. Thank you so much! I wish I could go tomorrow! I just can't wait!

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  1. If you're gonna spulrge on one meal, the Park House hotel in Galway City has a great restaurant. But it will cost you.

    1. Not mad about Park house but each to his own I suppose! Can't really think of any evening meal places in Galway off the top of my head but for great salads and sandwiches Delight on Abbeygate Street is great (pick a warm day cos there is no room to eat here so you might as well bring it with you and eat it up in Eyre Square) There are actually a few nice little cafe/bistro type places on that same street too. If you go down Quay Street (really easy to find) there are lots of restaurants there but one of the nicest long lunch places i've been to is above O'Neachtains Pub, however I can't remember the name of it (due to much time spent downstairs obviously:) For a splurge.......I would wait till you get here and then maybe save it for a good seafood place out in Connemara - I won't give you a name cos I havent been out there in a couple of years and I could be waaaay wrong at this stage. Good luck and enjoy! Oh and don't leave Galway without going to Sheridans Cheesemongers(smelly but fabulous) and having one of the stuffed crepes from the stall outside....Yum!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ELDee

        Ard Bia is upstairs from Neachtains (Naughtons in English):

        Decent grub was there last time I was Galway for dinner one night, good grub in a rustic boutique type setting. And I think the lunch menu in Neachtains is from Ard Bia.

        However, many of the places on the same section of the street (Quay Street) are touristy and seem a bit overpriced for the grub they offer. Galway City is a nice town, well worth spending a least a day or two there.

      2. McDermott's in Doolin has great pub food at a reasonable price and good craic in the evenings. O'Connors was a little pricier but you can get a good chowder and a pint there.

        BTW, Ireland has AWESOME food! We saved a ton of money by picking stuff up in the local bakeries, produce and deli or butcher shops for our lunches and snacks. Local produce and cheeses, fresh breads, local made deli meats, it was awesome! You can get good smoked salmon almost anywhere but Lisdoonvarna near Doolin is famous for it.

        We stayed at B&B's so we had breakfasts included. If you're staying at hostels, find out where the nearest bakery is and chow down on the stuff they have fresh out of the oven and still warm in the morning. Lots of them also offer tea and coffee. That and some local fruit and cheese make a great budget breakfast. And if you've got some smoked salmon leftover, even better!

        Evenings we hit pubs for dinner. Out of 3 weeks worth of traveling we had only one dinner that was a disappointment. The portions were generally large enough for two of us to share with maybe an addition of a bowl of soup or an extra salad. Be aware that if you order something like chicken salad what you'll get is not diced chicken in mayo but beautiful slices of chicken breast laid on a bed of greens and accompanied by sliced fresh veggies!

        Also, pack along about a half dozen plastic grocery bags. You'll need them for grocery shopping because the stores don't automatically load stuff in bags like they do here. You bring your own. I stuffed scads of bags in the cell phone pocket attached to my back pack. Also pick up a cheap paring knife once you land, it'll come in handy. We had a medium size soft sided cooler with gel packs for ice that worked great carrying our food. It folded flat in our checked luggage to get there, carried our food nicely while there and served as a carry-on coming home for the stuff I bought. The places we stayed we very nice about throwing the gel packs in their freezers overnight for us.

        You are going to love your trip! Doolin is still my favorite place to be and after that comes Dingle or maybe Connemara...or the Burren... But everywhere is beautiful!

        6 Replies
        1. re: morwen

          "chicken salad what you'll get is not diced chicken in mayo but beautiful slices of chicken breast laid on a bed of greens"

          Excuse me, please - but where would chicken salad be diced chicken in mayo and not pieces of chicken on salad?

            1. re: rrems


              As a slight tangent, in that case, what would you ask for in the US, if you wanted a European style chicken salad, rather than chopped chicken in mayo? Would such a dish be on a menu called something else?


              1. re: Harters

                It would usually be described as a salad with grilled chicken, or chicken caesar salad, or some other indication that it was a green salad with chicken included.

                (However you won't find a lot of restaurants offering the chicken with mayo type salad unless it's a diner or maybe a deli type place. But it is what first springs to my mind when I hear "chicken salad.")

                Anyway, yes, food in Ireland is much improved over its reputation. Lots of wonderful seafood, especially in Galway. I've had my share of bad meals there too, but have learned what things are usually a bad choice.

                1. re: irishnyc

                  Thank you for the explanation. I knew I'd had "salad with chicken" in previous visits to the States. Had never occured to me that it wouldnt be called "chicken salad" :-)

                  Returning to the OP's question, you need to eat locally caught seafood and locally grown beef. Ireland has many good cheesemakers - look out for products at farmers & country markets. The markets are likely to provide the makings of good cheap picnic lunches as you move around:

          1. re: morwen

            great tip about the bags, morwen -- thanks!

          2. Park House is a good choice, try it at lunch time, better value than evening. Ireland's food has come a very long way in the last 15 years, some of the best restaurants in Europe can be found in Ireland, so maybe do a little more research when it comes to dining before you travel.

            1. Oh but Irish food has improved sooo much in recent years!!
              On your budget stick to pubs, cafes and guesthouses.
              Check out O'Dowds seafood pub in roundstone, connemara - watch the sun go down on galway bay with a bowl of mussels, stay and eat at south aran centre on aran islands - fab!
              In Dublin, where i live, check out the italian quarter on the north quays, 'cafe bar deli' on grafton st in the fabulous old bewleys cafe, davy byrnes pub off grafton st, and check out 'The cake cafe' to lay on a few extra punds for the galway trip!
              these places have websites, google them on google.ie.

              1. I will be going to Dublin and London this Sept and be staying close to St. Stevens Green and I'd love to get some real Irish Food, like Bangers and Mash or Toad in the Hole.

                3 Replies
                1. re: vangary

                  I think those are more traditionally English dishes rather than Irish dishes, but you should be able to find sausages and mash in Dublin! Not sure about toad in the hole though.

                  1. re: janemarcet

                    I assumed it was a wind up - it must be surely.

                2. McDonagh's
                  Seafood (fish, chips, mushy peas) :-)
                  Daily noon-10pm

                  22 Quay St
                  Galway, County Galway


                  1. In Dublin, you have to try Burdock's for fish and chips. King Sitric in Howth has fantastic seafood. You have to try lamb somewhere. Someone else mentioned McDowd's in Roundstone; it is good. Renvyle House Hotel, Pangur Ban in Letterfrack are also good.

                    1. I second the recommendation for McDonagh's in Galway City for great fish and chips at a reasonable price.

                      1. Hi,
                        I just returned from Dublin and Galway yesterday, so I have a couple of good places in mind. You can eat very, very well in Ireland these days-- I was shocked! We loved Dunne and Crescenzi on Frederick's Street in Dublin-- it's terrific for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They have great coffee, and they specialize in inexpensive sandwiches at lunch and pasta at dinner (and it's all fresh!). We also ate at Queen of Tarts on Dame St. several times for an inexpensive but filling breakfast, Keogh's (Trinity Street) for scones and tea in the afternoon, and Fallon and Byrne food market has a nice cafe in the back of the store for lunch, too. Eating well in Dublin is very easy, but beware of the tourist traps-- there are plenty of them! If it's in Temple Bar, there's a great chance it's going to be a tourist trap.
                        In Galway, it was a little harder to eat well on the cheap. We had one expensive dinner at The Malt House-- they have the best lamb tagine I've ever eaten. That was a real success. We also enjoyed Goya's Cafe for lunch. We ate (and stayed) at the Park House Hotel, and we weren't impressed with the food at all.
                        We took the Doolin ferries to Inisheer, and well, let me just say that you should have a BIG breakfast on that day or pack a lunch. There's nothing worth eating in Doolin or on Inisheer. If you go up north towards Clifden for the day, try Steam's in the Station House-- we had really lovely, high-quality food there.
                        Enjoy Ireland-- I honestly wasn't looking forward to the trip, but the food, the people and the sights were all fabulous!

                        1. I recently returned to the U.S. after living in Dublin for several years, and although Ireland isn't known for its food, there are a lot of opportunities to eat very well. Unfortunately, the weakness of the dollar (currently $1.59 = € 1.00) makes it a lot harder to do it on a budget.

                          Cost aside, you usually can't go wrong with seafood. There's a lovely Italian/Spanish place, Da Pino's, at the corner of Parliament and Dame Streets in Dublin city center that serves an absolutely fabulous seafood linguine, "linguine frutti di mare," with clams, Dublin Bay prawns (these resemble crawfish), squid, and large shrimp in a light tomato sauce. Service is cheerful, the place is always jammed, and the prices are much more reasonable than a lot of the restaurants in the same area. There's also a great deli on Dame Street called Gruel that stands out from other sandwich shops with daily carvery specials, fresh bread, and colorful pasta and veggie salads.

                          In Galway, McDonagh's on Quay Street is the best for straight fish and chips, which are lighter than you'd expect and delicious. But stick to the fish and chips - I ordered a more complicated seafood dish there once and was disappointed. If you're thinking of one dinner to splurge on, Periwinkle's in Galway may be a good choice. They have fabulous sea scallops served with the roe - a bright orange disc that's technically the scallop's ripe egg mass - that I've never come across in the U.S. The scallops were cooked perfectly and the roe tasted smiliar to the scallop flavor, only more delicate.

                          One last thing - try to sample some fresh brown bread or scones with jam and cream at some countryside cafe. The baked goods in Ireland are usually high-quality and fresh, and the clotted cream and jam are pure comfort, especially on a rainy day.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Stopper

                            I found Ann's not bad food at all and lot's of it too