Follow me on my Irish adventures as I dish the best places to visit and eat in Ireland, from the best fish n’ chips to the best farmer’s market to the best ice cream! This is the last of the Ireland posts before we take off to Spain next :). If you missed my other Ireland posts, start from the very beginning with the best places to visit and eat at in Ireland part I and part II.
This past weekend someone asked me what my favorite place in Ireland was and I immediately blurted out the Gap of Dunloe. And then after a moment’s thought said actually Dingle is a very close second. As soon as the bus pulled into Dingle, I saw this sign and knew I made the right decision to visit (thanks to Kate of The Well Balanced FODMAPer for the reco!). Who knew Ireland had a #1 foodie town?! I was so psyched. Even though I had less than 24 hours in this beautiful foodie abyss, I was going to make them count.
After checking in to my B&B, Emlagh House, I darted straight into town to explore the streets and eat all the Dingle things. I looked up places for lunch before I left the B&B and decided I would look for a spot that was known for its seafood chowder. That plan was immediately abandoned as soon as I set eyes on this sign – Farmer’s Market!!The Dingle Farmer’s Market was tiny but super cute with all the market essentials: fruit, veggies, breads, pastries, cheese, meat, eggs, and a few crafts. I actually recorded a video of the market that I planned to share with ya’ll but unfortunately the phone snatchers put the kibosh on that one. See that beautiful chocolate filled brioche with sea salt on top in the middle there? I snagged one of those at a local coffee shop to go with my almond milk cappuccino.I came across this cheese stand at the market and the sign for hot melted cheese bread caught my eye right away. I’d never tried raclette before but as soon as I saw this cheese bread making in action, I couldn’t turn my head. These kids at the cheese stand were hot cheese bread masters. They had this thing down to a science: slice the beautiful freshly baked bread right before my eyes. Take a wedge of Raclette and place it under a burner to get it as browned and bubbly as possible. Then shave off that top crispy, melty layer onto the slice of bread. And top with some sweet dill pickles.
This was like your average grilled cheese…on crack. I’d never tasted anything like this before. Raclette hails from France and Switzerland and has a slight nutty flavor like Swiss cheese or Gruyere. That plus the sweet pickles? Heaven.What originally drew me to the Farmer’s Market were these strawberries. I was told I HAD to try the strawberries in Ireland because they were in-season while I was there and tasted very sweet and were red all throughout (unlike the giant white-in-the-middle, bitter strawberries I find at home). I grabbed a pint of strawberries to round out my lunch of cheese + bread + pickles. 🙂The strawberries did not disappoint. They were super sweet and just the right size. Perfect to nosh on alongside cheesy bread.And as if I needed any more cheese after that hunk of Raclette…I stumbled upon this cute little cheese shop…in fact that was its name (minus the cute – I added that in for effect).The shop was filled with different Irish and European varieties of cheese. While I really wanted to try more Irish cheeses, the cheesy bread sitting in my stomach told me to move along. #somuchcheesetoeatsolittletimeThen I found the most adorable artisanal food gift shop/cafe/bakery ever. All of the food products they sell are made in Ireland, which makes this spot great for foodie souvenirs to bring back home with you!I ended up buying my Dad some Irish Cream Butter Fudge made from locally produced Irish butter.It started drizzling a bit in the afternoon so I ducked into this coffee shop, Bean in Dingle, which was so modern and hipster I felt like I was in Brooklyn, not a fisherman’s town in Ireland. I snagged a seat by the window and started reading Daring Greatly while sipping my almond milk cappuccino and savoring my chocolate salted brioche.Remember that awesome Irish coffee ice cream cone from Murphy’s that I had in Killarney? Well, their original stomping grounds is in Dingle so I had to pop in once again to say hello! And try their sorbet! This was Black Currant and Chocolate sorbet, made with distilled Dingle rain water. #kidyounotAfter walking around some more, I made my way back to the hotel to change into my newly acquired warm wool Irish sweater and freshen up for dinner. The owner of the B&B recommended Out Of The Blue restaurant when I told her I liked seafood and I was luckily able to get a reservation!But apparently seafood isn’t in short supply in Dingle. Even the food trucks sell fish!At Out Of The Blue, you’ll get up-close-and-personal with the menu. They set it down on the seat right in front of you. Your very own chalkboard menu. This was my second to last dinner in Ireland but the first and last time I drank wine in this country. #savedthewineforfranceandspain Local oysters were delicious.
For my entree, I ordered the pan fried hake fillet with white wine sauce. Come to find out the Chef at this restaurant is from France so there was a heavy French influence on the menu. The food is delicious, but don’t come for an authentic Irish meal.But I made up for authenticity with the nightlife. Went to this pub called O’Sullivans, which is highly recommended for its trad/live music. But beware, the music doesn’t start until 9:30 here so don’t plan too early of a dinner (like I did) or you’ll need to find some time to kill in-between (for me it was buying sweaters for my Mom and sister). And be prepared to have weird “small world” encounters here. Like the girl I started talking to who turned out to be my friend’s brother’s ex-girlfriend. Or, the couple who has friends who live in the suburb of Buffalo, NY where I’m getting married next year. #cantmakethisshituppeopleIf you’re a foodie like me, the town of Dingle is a must-stop on my recommendation list. I highly recommend staying at the Emalgh House if it’s within your budget (this was the biggest lodging splurge of the trip). It’s a beautiful place and the breakfast is glorious – they have drunken porridge with Baileys! I mean…doesn’t get much better.
Tell me, have you ever been to Ireland? Ever heard of Dingle? Did you know Ireland had a #1 foodie town?!
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I’m a nutrition coach and yoga teacher helping people to learn to love food again. I love cooking, taking pictures of my food and traveling around the world. Follow my blog for delicious, seasonal vegetarian recipes and simple strategies to bring more yoga and mindfulness into your life. And check out my e-book to learn how to improve your health through nutrition and yoga. Show me what deliciousness you make! Tag me @karalydonRD on Instagram.