Farm to table dining in Ireland

The week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day always makes me nostalgic for Ireland. Farm to table dining in Ireland is on the rise. For this we can thank voices like Darina Allen, who has been called “the Alice Waters of Ireland,” the emerging trend of chefs who are inspired by’s fresh and local ingredients as well as markets that offer locally produced foods for sale.

Eating from farm to table

In a lush Irish Garden, County Galway photo Steve Collins

In a lush Irish Garden, County Galway photo/Steve Collins

We’ve always had great luck finding farm to table in Ireland. No matter where we’ve dined and what we’ve eaten from fish and chips and that hearty Irish vegetable soup that seems to be on every pub menu in the country to upscale fusion restaurants with mouth-watering fare, we seemed to have picked well. We’ve also had great farm to table cooking experiences shopping at fish mongers selling fish almost right off the boat, butchers who told us which farm the meat hailed from that day and vegetable markets where farm-fresh fare is seasonally available. Buying fresh and local provisions gets easier all the time as more farmers and food producers and sellers get on the bandwagon.

We’ve written a series of food posts celebrating farm to table in Ireland over the years and want to share them with you.

Darina Allen and Ballymaloe

Farm to table dining Ireland- Darina Allen in her garden at Ballymaloe photo courtesy Ballymaloe Cookery School

Darina Allen in her garden at Ballymaloe photo/courtesy Ballymaloe Cookery School

We had such an amazing and diverse conversation with Darina Allan that it became two posts. She’s passionate about sourcing food sustainably and over a long cooking career has championed farm-fresh foods. She’s one of the leaders of the farm to table movement in Ireland and active in the country’s Slow Food movement as well. Read part one and part two of our interview with her.

The Butcher of Clonmel

Farm to table dining Ireland- Pat-Whelan in his Clonmel butcher shop photo courtesy Pat Whela

Pat-Whelan in his Clonmel butcher shop photo/courtesy Pat Whela

While we were working on our farm to table Irish food series we discovered butcher Pat Whelan through Cork food writer Billy Lyons. Whelan (who we dubbed “the Butcher of Clonmel”), takes good meat seriously, even raising and butchering some of his own meat to assure his standards of high quality are met.

The Tannery

Farm to table dining in Ireland -The dining room at The Tannery photo courtesy The Tannery

The dining room at The Tannery photo/courtesy The Tannery

We came across Paul Flynn of The Tannery in Dungarvan, County Waterford when we were looking for restaurants embracing the Irish farm to table movement. We had a wonderful conversation with him via phone and finding out about his restaurant, his food career and his passions. You can read the interview here.

Restaurants committed to farm to table dining in Ireland

Farm to table dining Ireland- The dining room at The Chart House Dingle, Ireland photo courtesy The Chart House

The dining room at The Chart House Dingle, Ireland photo/ courtesy The Chart House

Because I love Ireland, food and farm to table, when asked to write a few food stories for Checkin, Trivago’s blog, I pitched one on farm to table restaurants in Ireland. Researching and writing it was fun. We tried to dine at The Chart House in Dingle- one of the restaurants in the post. They were completely booked on an April Friday night and the owner kindly called The Global Village and reserved a table for us. We had a memorable dinner we’ve never written about. I remember really delicious lamb chops while Steve savored the catch of the day.

This St. Patrick’s Day while we’re dining on Irish favorites we’ll recall our experiences with farm to table dining in Ireland and wish we were there.

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