Irish Cuisine: More Than Just Bacon and Cabbage

Let’s get one thing straight from the off: there’s nothing wrong with bacon and cabbage. In fact, done right, it’s a delicious dish. However, there’s a common misconception that this popular Irish dish of boiled bacon and cabbage (along with stew) are the only culinary delights to emerge from the Emerald Isle. Nothing could be further from the truth, and anyone who has spent a weekend in Ireland will know that the Irish take their food very seriously. So, what else do the Irish have brewing in their pots beside the fabled bacon and cabbage?

Dublin coddle

Let’s start off in the capital. We all know that Dublin is the home of Guinness and there are plenty of places in the city to enjoy a pint of the black stuff. But did you know that it’s also home to a delicious dish that makes use of all your favourite leftovers? Dublin coddle is a traditional hotpot that usually includes bacon, sausage, potato, onion and whatever else is in the fridge. Now, I know what you’re thinking; isn’t this just a stew? In actual fact, it’s not. A stew makes use of fresh ingredients (more on that later), whereas a homemade coddle consists of leftovers. It’s a great way to cut down on food waste and stretch the pennies a little further, and if you follow a traditional Dublin recipe, it’ll be extra tasty.

Irish stew

Now, more on that Irish stew. I won’t spend too long on this, but you can’t talk about Irish cuisine without mentioning stew. Your typical Irish stew will be brimming with root veg, onion, tender chunks of steak and often a splash of Guinness too. You can throw in whatever herbs and spices you like, but a drop of soy sauce helps to add a little zing to the gravy.


But you’re not here to hear about stew, are you? Okay, let’s move along, and this time, we’re heading for the coast. Unsurprisingly, seafood is quite prevalent in Ireland (and no, fish and chips don’t count), with oysters being the most sought-after dish. In many coastal restaurants and pubs, the most common item on the menu is a serving of oysters with fresh baked brown bread and a pint of Guinness. It sounds bizarre, but it works very well indeed.


Head down south to “the Rebel County” of Cork, and you’ll find that seafood is just as widespread as elsewhere on the island, but Cork is home to another signature local dish far more exciting than oysters. You’ve probably never heard of a dish called crubeens, but you may have heard of trotters. No, not Peckham’s finest independent traders – pigs’ trotters. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, this one-time street-side snack is now found on many high-end dining establishment’s evening menus. I tried them for the first time last year at Gliffaes Country House Hotel in the Brecon Beacons (pictured below). If you want to eat them old-style, ask for a piece of soda bread and a pint of stout to wash it all down.

Lobster and trotter at Glffaes Country House Hotel


This is the last item on my list not because there are no other options left but because all this food talk is making me hungry. So, I’ll make it a good one. Boxty is an easy-to-make dish that is wonderfully delicious. Basically, it’s a potato pancake made using grated potatoes, onions and eggs. Add some nutmeg or spring onions if you like, but whatever you do, make it crunchy and serve it with lots of bacon or, if you’re feeling adventurous, some crubeens. 

There you have it. I’ve only covered a sample of the delicious food on offer in Ireland but believe me, there’s a lot more to try. So, the next time you’re thinking about a weekend across the sea, don’t assume that you’ll be eating bacon and cabbage for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

This is a collaborative post.


  1. February 16, 2018 / 9:27 pm

    Boxty sounds yummy. I love trying out regional cuisine but must admit I’ve been to Ireland a few times and didn’t know anything about traditional dishes / food. Definitely something I’d like to try next time I’m there.

    • February 18, 2018 / 11:45 am

      I’m off to Ireland for the first time next month and I can’t wait to try out the food 😀

  2. February 16, 2018 / 10:15 pm

    I really need to get my self over to Ireland – it sounds like good hearty food. Boxty sounds right up my street!

    • February 18, 2018 / 11:44 am

      I love the sound of all these dishes, but it’s the Dublin coddle that’s really making me drool!

  3. hxanou
    February 17, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    These sound lovely! I’ve tried Oysters but I gotta admit, they’re not for me! xx

    • February 18, 2018 / 11:43 am

      I’m still not brave enough to try oysters, LOL! It’s taken me a while to become comfortable with eating mussels.

  4. February 17, 2018 / 9:16 pm

    This was an interesting read u have lived all over the world and it always reminds me how similar we are really when we look at food for example there are many similar versions of the boxty in eastern Europe even Palestine I suppose comfort food is universal

    • February 18, 2018 / 11:43 am

      Ooh, that’s really interesting to know. I don’t know a great deal about Eastern European cuisine. Comfort food is always a big win, for me!

  5. February 17, 2018 / 10:18 pm

    These all sound delicious but let’s not knock the cabbage and bacon! I freaking love it lol

    • February 18, 2018 / 11:42 am

      Hehe 🙂 I feel ashamed I’ve never tried it myself. I’m off to Belfast in March to attend BelFeast Food and Drink Festival so hopefully I’ll be able to try it then!

  6. February 18, 2018 / 11:04 pm

    Have to confess I’m not sure about the trotters but the Guinness is a definite yes and it does taste completely different in Dublin.

    • February 19, 2018 / 1:20 pm

      Hehe, I’m the opposite – I love trotter as I’ve tried it before – it’s a bit like chewy pork crackling – but I’m not big on Guinness unless it’s in a pie.

  7. Deborah Patrick
    February 19, 2018 / 12:24 pm

    All of these look & sound amazing and make me think of Saturday afternoons at my wee Granny’s house!

    • February 19, 2018 / 1:19 pm

      Aww, what a lovely memory. I bet she cooked delicious food.

  8. February 20, 2018 / 7:27 am

    I do remember my initial visit to Dublin 2 years ago now and we tried several different local cuisines and loved them some had a splash of Guinness

    • February 20, 2018 / 8:57 pm

      I’m not a fan of Guinness but when I visit Ireland for the first time next March, I’m going to give it another go. I figure it’d be rude not to, and they do say that your tastebuds change as you get older.

  9. February 23, 2018 / 12:15 am

    Wow I had no idea that oysters were such a big thing in Ireland! Guess it makes sense since it’s surrounded by all that sea..

    • February 23, 2018 / 9:22 pm

      Me neither. Writing this post was such an eye opener for me! I’m off to Belfast soon, so it will be great to get to taste some authentic Irish cuisine for myself.

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