So after a 9-day vacation in Ireland that saw a stomach virus and a fractured tooth, then home to a severely blocked kitchen drain, a basement flood, a freezer breakdown (doesn’t anyone know who fixes these things? lol) and a secondary “rescue” freezer door left open by the food rescuers thus rendering much of the rescued food, trash, I think I need another vacation!
Why Ireland? No, we were not tracing any roots, but we had not seen the Emerald Isle, so why not? And it was absolutely beautiful. Green and lush, extremely friendly and no communication struggles. I had eaten at an American Irish Pub or two in my day, so I was familiar with the food. And I like most of it just fine. But we were in for some discoveries.
Who knew that many pubs in Ireland don’t serve food? Not us. Our first pull had us asking for a menu and being regarded as if we had 2 heads. Lesson learned. We made sure the word “food” was prominently displayed alongside the Guinness and Jameson signs when we were ready for a meal. I must admit I was looking forward to eating authentic fish and chips in the country of origin. A fry up holiday! I really enjoyed that first meal. But our noontime and evening meals of the above, Cottage Pie, Shepherd’s Pie, Irish Stew, Bangers and Mash and Fisherman’s Stew began to get a bit repetitive by the 5th day. Oh, sure, many places had wings, burgers and spaghetti on the menu but I am kind of snobby (who me?!) about eating non-native food when I travel. I’m in Ireland, for heaven’s sake. Eat like a native! I did. I did. I did. And then I just couldn’t. I couldn’t face another fried potato(Chips)…served as a “side”, BTW, for the already mashed potato covered Shepherd’s Pie.
This is a country that truly regards the potato as a vegetable. Maybe the only vegetable. Actually, I lie. I did find boiled beets and Colcannon (mashed potatoes and boiled kale or cabbage and maybe some bacon thrown in) at a “fancy” pub in a hotel restaurant. Of course, this cuisines’ simplicity has its foundation in history, a poor economy and a moist temperate climate. I respect that. But my spoiled American access to hundreds of different cuisines every day without breaking the budget began to emerge after a few days. My bad. But still a fact.
Don’t get me wrong, there is some very fine cuisine and chefs in Ireland and we were fortunate to experience a few wonderful creative meals-one of them being a Michelin star restaurant. But our plan was to wander and eat where we found ourselves, so I did no research and made no reservations. We also really didn’t want to drive at night-wrong side of the road, wrong shifting hand and very narrow, winding roads-so we really did eat where we found ourselves at any given time. Lots of daytime driving-Dublin to Galway to Dingle to Killarney through The Burren to Cork to Kilkenny and back to Dublin. Saw most of the southern half of the country. And saw the new River Dance during opening week. In Dublin. Very cool.
We enjoyed ourselves in Ireland…maybe a bit too much at the Jameson’s distillery…now back to reality. And no French Fries (or Jameson) for a while.