Dining in Ireland

Ireland has an assortment of excellent restaurants all over the Emerald Isle. Most of the restaurants described in Ireland Dream Trip fall into the moderate price range (15-25 euro for a main dinner entrée). But eating out can be expensive in Ireland, especially if in addition to your main entrée you  have an appetizer, cocktails and wine, as well as dessert and coffee. It all adds up!

 Many restaurants have either an
early bird menu with lower prices than normal.  A set meal means that you will get a certain number of courses (3 to 5) for one inclusive price, which is sometimes better value. At other restaurants you can order a la carte.

Castle Banquets

The medieval banquets at Bunratty, Knappogue and Dunguaire Castles are great fun! Guests dine at long tables lined with food and drink while the costumed "ladies of the castle" entertain with music, singing, dancing and skits. The Bunratty banquet is medieval, while Knappogue celebrates the legendary women of Ireland and takes visitors on a Celtic journey to the past. At Dunguaire the banquet is smaller and more intimate, highlighting Ireland's best writers, playwrights, saints and sinners.

Meals are tasty and well-prepared. They differ slightly from each other but each feast includes an appetizer, soup and bread, a main course with vegetables, dessert and coffee. Pitchers of wine, juice and  water line the tables.

Banquets are held at 5:30 and 8:45 nightly at Bunratty. Knappogue and Dunguaire are scheduled from May to October and are subject to demand. Reservations essential.

E-mail reservations: reservations@shannondev.ie

Bunratty Traditional Irish Night

Bunratty Traditional Irish Night Ceili is an Irish evening held in the corn barn at Bunratty Folk Park. The very enjoyable evening commences with welcoming drinks. Meals include a salad and your choice of Irish stew with potatoes, fish or vegetarian pasta. Wine is included. Dessert is apple tart with cream followed by tea or Irish coffee.

The show is rollicking Irish music and high-stepping dance performed with much enthusiasm. The theme "
addicted to dance" says it all. Open mid-April through October (subject to demand), nightly at 7pm. E-mail reservations: reservations@shannondev.ie

The Pubs of Ireland
Ryan's Pub in Cashel

Ireland's pubs are not merely bars. They serve the functions of meeting places and social clubs. Some pubs in the country double as the post office or grocery store. It is what the name implies "a public house" where families from babies to great-grandmothers gather for social occasions, dancing and music. Every pub is different and music usually starts after 9pm. Those under 18 aren't allowed after 10pm in the summer months and 9pm during the winter.

Most pubs serve
"pub grub", a varied array of food from soup to sandwiches, salad to quiche, Irish stew to full meals. If you are in the mood for lunch or want a light snack instead of dinner, you will find it at a pub.

Yeats Tavern in Drumcliff is a popular, busy pub and restaurant on the main Sligo/Donegal road. The bar area is fresh and modern with wood floors and an arched ceiling accented by wooden beams. A contemporary curved bar is paneled in walnut with streamlined accents of stainless steel. Behind it is a lighted display of liquor done in walnut and glass. There are bar stools upholstered in cream and the rest of the area is filled with individual tables for more intimate dining. Several rustic stone walls are a reminder of the pub's past. Adjacent to the bar is a sophisticated restaurant area with high ceiling. The cream marble floor and gas fireplace with a huge round golden mirror above it are highlighted with modern light fixtures above it are highlighted with modern light fixtures and sconces. Elegant taupe drapes frame tall windows. Armchairs upholstered in fawn and chartreuse surround individual dark wood tables.

The menu includes selections like soup, salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, seafood, chicken and vegetarian. I sampled a stuffed chicken breast in a smoky bacon and cream sauce accompanied by a choice of chips or potatoes either boiled, baked or garlic and cheese. From the stylish contemporary ambiance to the exceptional food and excellent service, Yeats' Tavern is the epitome of Irish eateries. Moderate prices. Phone: (071) 916-3117 Web: www.yeatstavernrestaurant.com

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