I’m on the last leg of a wonderful whirlwind trip throughout Ireland, where I’ve been superbly hosted by the Meet in Ireland team. Since last Friday, I’ve spent time in Belfast, Derry-Londonderry, Dublin, Cork, Killarney, and I’m now in Limerick at the historic and majestic Adare Manor Hotel & Golf Resort.
This is my third trip to Ireland and I am no less awe-inspired than my first visit here more than five years ago. This is a country where it’s easy (as they say here) to “tick” the boxes: spectacular scenery, warm and friendly people, fascinating ancient history and inspiring recent history, and a rich culture — not to mention the many lovely hotels and state-of-the-art meeting venues that I’ve been shown around.
But if you were to ask me to name one thing has surprised me most on this trip, I’d have to boil it down to the food. It’s delightful. Ireland has really upped its culinary game in a way that is unpretentiously true to its roots, with fresh dairy items, meats, poultry, seafood, and organic produce — all locally sourced — on nearly every menu.
It really can make a difference to your dining experience when you know where your food comes from. Last night, the traditional Irish brown bread that accompanied my yummy Spiced Red Lentil & Vegetable Dahl at 1826 Adare was served with a round of creamy butter. Neatly over its top rested a paper identifying the local dairy supplier.
Earlier this week, I enjoyed fresh and flaky hake at Fishy Fishy in Kinsale, where owner/chef Martin Shanahan goes one step further in connecting diners to their food source. The local fishermen who bring him their daily bounty are not only named on the menu next to their catch, their photos line the restaurant’s walls. All of which adds to the pleasant memory of a most delicious meal.