Food: West Coast of Ireland

When visiting the beautiful country of Ireland, one truly learns a lot about both the traditional and non traditional food that the Irish indulge in. Many individuals are aware that the country is known for food such as potatoes, cabbage, and lamb but are unaware that they often incorporate other country’s dishes into their menu as well. Many are surprised to see traditional American food such as a cheeseburger with multiple toppings, chicken tenders, or lasagna at an Irish restaurant because they imagined that the menu would be riddled with foreign dishes that are not appetizing to them. Trying new dishes may seem scary but one can learn an immense amount about Ireland’s food choices and why they are so important.

Pictures of traditional American food that are frequently cooked and eaten in Ireland.

Although Ireland does have unhealthy meals and desserts everywhere, the country eats very healthy compared to other places in the world such as America. Irish dishes tend to be smaller than American dishes and contain more natural and pure ingredients. When consuming the food, you can immediately tell how fresh all of the ingredients are and you feel good eating it. For example, I personally got the chance to visit Ireland with some of my peers. We stayed at a hostel in the town of Cloughjordan in an Ecovillage. A woman named Johanna frequently prepared meals for us and emphasized the importance of cooking with healthy and local ingredients. For lunch, we received an amazingly fresh salad that consisted of vegetables from the Ecovillage itself. In America, I typically eat chicken caesar salads. Although this salad is not entirely bad for you, the salads I consumed in Ireland were fresher, simpler, and much more healthy. I felt as if my body was instantly content with the nutrients I consumed. After lunch was complete, I had the chance to briefly chat with Johanna. It started off by me curiously asking where the vegetables were located in the Ecovillage, but then the conversation progressed into why she believes eating locally is so important. She explained that when you pick crop locally they are more ripe compared to having the crop harvested early so that they can be shipped to stores. I found this fascinating and believe that that concept is one of the best things about Ireland and food. It changed my viewpoint about food entirely and I am now looking forward to sharing the importance of eating fresh local food to my family and making a difference in my personal eating habits.

Moreover, there are many cool places to explore that are different from restaurants in Ireland, including the Killary Mussel Farm. The farm is located in the same vicinity as the Killary Sheep Farm in Galway. My peers and I had the privilege of going on a tour of the farm and the water in which the mussels are retrieved. The owners of the mussel farm are a married couple named Kate and Simon. Simon goes on his boat to the platform in the middle of the water where he gets the mussels and then brings them back to land for cleaning. The couple then cooks the mussels for their popular mussel stand, sells them to local restaurants, or for wholesale distribution.The quality and freshness of the mussels, and other shell fish such as oysters, are superb. I had never tried mussels before, but I was pleasantly surprised and am happy that my first mussel eating experience was at the Killary Mussel Farm in Ireland.  

Overall, Ireland’s food is unique and amazing in the sense that they strive to have their meals fresh, healthy, and pure while incorporating their valued traditions. Irish men and women take pride in their meals which makes the experience for visitors trying their food so much more exciting.

 

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