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Jul 22, 2008 09:03 PM

Dining in the in-between places (Dublin to Galway to Giant's Causeway, back to Dublin)

Hi there! I'm a NYC chowhound who's visiting your fair land in a few month's time. In Dublin and Galway, we'll mostly be dining with friends and family, but we're looking for good places to go near Giant's Causeway and esp. in between stops.

So many of the good discussions I've found on this board centre on southern Ireland, which unfortunately, we're not going to be able to visit this time around. Can you tell me about the more northern areas like Tuam, Sligo, Donnegal?

Restaurants are great, but so are regularly scheduled markets, pubs, stands, etc... Everything from the lowest of the lowbrow on up would be welcome.

Among other things, we'll be eating a lot of fresh-caught fish, I hope. Are there any particularly noteworthy places to find it? Any Irish equivalents to the fish markets serving up fresh sashimi or fish tacos right where the catch comes in, in other parts of the world?

What about good Polish / Hungarian / eastern European / African / Chinese fare?

Many, many thanks for any and all recommendations!

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  1. We had a decent dinner at the Bushmills Inn in, er, Bushmills, which is quite close to the Giant's Causeway. You can also go on a tour of the Bushmills factory, which is interesting, and buy special blends of excellent whiskey which are only available there.

    3 Replies
    1. re: greedygirl

      i've been debating with myself back and forth on the bushmills factory. on one hand, i am really, really (probably overly) fond of irish whiskey. on the other hand -- it's so touristy! i am, however, a tourist, so....

      what was bushmills inn like? full of foreign / american tourists? full of irish tourists? and if you remember, what did you have?

      thanks, greedygirl!!

      1. re: cimui

        If you like whiskey you should definitely go, especially as there's a really good blend you can only get there (I'm not a whiskey fan but Mr GG really rates it). Nothing wrong with doing some touristy things, imho. Let's face it, The Giant's Causeway = one big tourist attraction.

        I can't remember that much about the Bushmills Inn, to be honest. Can't remember anything about the food other than that it was nice but not outstanding. Not packed full of American tourists as far as I remember, but it wasn't really tourist season.

        1. re: greedygirl

          Alright, GG, I'm sold on the factory. Thanks a lot for the helpful descriptions!

    2. I live quite near Tuam so I would give that a miss for a food stop as I can't think of anywhere that I would recommend to anyone else unless very hungry. What I can say is that if you stop in Sligo then stop at the Coach Lane/Donaghys Bar for a really great meal. Make sure you are hungry though as the bread is pretty great and its very tempting to gorge before the food comes:)

      3 Replies
      1. re: ELDee

        Thank you, ELDee! I am prety sure we will stop in Sligo for lunch on the way up to Giant's Causeway -- I'm a big Yeats fan -- so I very much appreciate the Donaghy's Bar rec. Other than the bread (a friend who is traveling with us is wheat intolerant), what would you recommend there?

        1. re: cimui

          Well Cimui, I have heard great reports about the ostrich steak but have not tried it myself but the seafood is great. I always get fish when I eat out as I love it but am completely incapable of doing anything interesting with it myself at home. Enjoy!

          1. re: ELDee

            that's a great rec, eldee. thanks, again. if i stop in, i promise to report back!

      2. For superlative Irish hospitality and fine food you cant beat Rathmullen House Hotel in Donegal (breakfast the best in Ireland) and the Bushmills Inn is about the best along the derry/antrim coast, try the Cullen Skink!
        The north antrim coast and donegal is generally a foodie desert i'm afraid.
        The closest thing to the fish market experience is in Cork and they dont serve fish ready to eat. The lack of decent fish restaurants or seafood bars is shocking given our island traditions.
        Forget about ethnic outside Dublin, other than Italian or maybe Indian or Thai.

        4 Replies
        1. re: DublinChow

          DublinChow, I've been reading your posts on other threads with great interest and I'm so glad to have your tips, here. Thank you! We won't be able to head south to Cork this time around, I'm afraid, but I will certainly look into Rathmullen House (perhaps to stay there so we're not travelling to our breakfast). Good to see a second vote for Bushmills...

          1. re: cimui

            If you end up as far north as Rathmullan, there's a fish restaurant in Greencastle (in the Inishowen peninsula) called Kealy's: I haven't eaten there but I've only ever heard great things about it, and it's a member of the "Seafood Circle", an Irish quality standard for seafood. Should be a good place to get some very fresh fish.
            I'm heading up to Inishowen this weekend, if I see anything else worth recommending I'll let you know!

            1. re: janemarcet

              The Skipper's Tavern in Burtonport does really good seafood. Sometimes the tables are a bit sticky, and the service amateur but cute, but they're food is good and they have a nice pint of Guinness.

              1. re: mick_t

                janemarcet and mick t, thank you! for some reason -- i think b/c of the age of this thread -- i'm no longer getting alerts on new postings to it, so didn't see it 'till now. fortunately, i have not yet gone (two more weeks). and i have all of your great sounding recs printed out!

        2. For great fish and chips in Galway City, try McDonaghs on Quay Street. There is plenty of room to sit in or you can take away if a nice day.
          Very fresh fish and reasonable.
          They have a website if you want to have a look.

          1 Reply
          1. re: scooby99

            Another vote from me on the Bushmills Inn. I stayed for 3 or 4 nights last November when working. Cosy olde worlde hotel, real fires, lovely staff, good food. I don't like whiskey normally, but had to have a try while I was there and it was gorgeous! Definitely worth a visit.