How to Eat Vegan in Ireland
In the sky:
Norwegian Airlines: Vegans never seem to get fed on a plane. Even if you request a vegan meal, it always seems to fall through the cracks. For this reason, I only bought food for my return flight. I flew with Norwegian, and the meal was not included. I paid around $30 for the meal. I was pretty worried that when the time came, they would tell me they didn't have a vegan meal available, but they did not disappoint. I was given the worlds tiniest box of raisins, a very tiny salad (with no dressing), and a pasta dish. The dish had penne noodles, spinach, mushrooms, and small pieces of tomato. It tasted pretty good for airline grub!
143V: On a very rainy first day in Ireland, I walked into 143V on Lower Glanmire Road in Cork. It's about 15 minutes out of the city center. I was greeted by warmth, friendly owners, a cozy atmosphere, and a friendly grey cat. I started off with a delicious fresh juice, while the owner hung up my coat to dry and made me feel at home. I ordered a vegan "smoked salmon" bagel with dyl cream cheese. The smoked salmon was made from carrots and seasoning, and it was out of this world. I would go back to cork again simply to eat there!!
They had so many other options that sounded delicious as well like a tumeric latte.
Not only was the food amazing, but the lovely owner let me use their phone, filled my water bottle, and insisted I take an umbrella with me! They were a lovely family, with delicious fresh food, and extreme hospitality. My only complaint is that I didn't get to eat there again!
The Shire: A girl at my hostel invited me and another girl out to dinner at The Shire; a Lord of The Rings style pub. This place was so unique, quirky, and cool. It was dark and there were glow in the dark decorations everywhere. It was decorated Lord of the Rings style; think shrooms, woodland, fairies etc. The atmosphere was perfect. The allergens on the menu were easily marked. I got a huge and tastey veggie burger. It paired perfectly with some fries and a Gandalf Ale. I'd highly recommend for the food and experience.
True Natural Goodness: I found this vegetarian cafe on a cold, rainy day in the cute town of Killarney. It was a small cafe with coffee, smoothies, vegetarian foods, and a few vegan options. The woman working was knowledgeable and helpful when I asked what my vegan options were. I ended up having some type of carrot ginger soup. It was healthy, hearty, and warm. Just what I needed while I wrote in my travel journal and looked out the window at the town on a dreary day.
In Dublin: (Dublin has the vegan GOODS my friends!)
Happy Food: I'm a big fan of trying a countries traditional food when I travel. A Full Irish Breakfast is a traditional meal in Ireland. A lot of people go for it after a night or drinking. I knew it was something I needed to try. This traditional breakfast usually includes some sort of combination of bacon, sausage, eggs, baked beans, mushroom, tomatoes, potatoes, and bread. I searched online for a vegan restaurant which served this, and I found Happy Food. Happy Food is attached to the Yoga Hub. I got dropped off by a taxi, and walked down a street, and then an alley which would've been sketchy if it wasn't day time. It was fairly empty, and only got a little busier once some of the yoga students left class. The decor was very simple. The vibe was chill, probably due to the fact that it's attached to the yoga studio.The seating reminded me of a school cafeteria, but they had simply flower centerpieces which added a nice touch. There was a cute outdoor patio for warmer days.
I got a Snickers shake; peanut butter, banana, cocoa & almond milk. And.....a Happy Vibe Full Breakfast. Yay! Vegan tofu bacon with a nice crisp. Delicious sausages that tasted much more natural than the processed frozen soy sausages. Chickpea scramble seasoned with tumeric; to die for. Beans in a thick red sauce that I want to try to recreate one day. Fresh, raw lettuce and tomato. And sourdough bread. This breakfast was everything I hoped it would be! If you want try a vegan traditional Irish breakfast, this is the place to go!
They also had burgers, wraps, tofu ribs, and various other foods that sounded delicious.
Zizzis: While walking around the beautiful city at night, I strolled past the Molly Malone statue and found Zizzis. The vegan options were clearly marked on the menu and the staff was super helpful. Their food was heaven! I started off with a plate of mixed olives while I searched the menu, because olives are awesome. I got a huge vegan marghertia pizza. The cheese was melty and delicious and you wouldn't have even known it was vegan. The crust was thin and sauce was yummy. I'd compare it to a vegan version of Papa Ginos pizza.
Even though I was stuffed after the pizza, the vegan desserts looked so tempting. I ended up getting a chocolate mousse which came with coconut ice cream on the side. (Because dessert doesn't go to the belly..it goes to the soul).This was to die for. I left full and happy, and I highly recommend Zizzis for vegan eating.
Chopped: Chopped is a chain healthy fast food restaurant that you'll see all over the place in Dublin. It's essentially a salad bar. It's set up like a Subway or Chipotle, where you choose what you want as you go down the line and the worker makes it for you. You could make salads, wraps, and bowls. There were lettuce options and plenty of veg options like olives, corn, onion, tomato, peppers, nuts, tofu etc. You can easily check online to see what dressings and toppings are vegan. They also had smoothies. I loved this place and I hope the US sees something like this soon.
The Rolling Donut: On my last half day in Dublin, I spent the morning at the beautiful Trinity Library. On my way to grab my bags from storage, I peaked in a cute donut shop to find that they had tons of vegan donut options! They had classic options like chocolate sprinkled and unique options. I ended up going with a vegan jelly donut and a hot coffee with non dairy milk and it was the perfect way to end my time in Ireland.
♦ In additional to the above places, I also ate at some other places in Killarney, Waterville, and random towns. In smaller towns it was harder to find vegan options. For some reason Vegetable Curry was a popular veg option. Just be sure to make sure theres no fish! For the most part, the menus in Ireland have an allergy guide. Generally at the bottom, it will list allergies with a corresponding number. For example: Fish 1, Milk 2, Eggs 3, Soy 4, etc. Near the menu item, if it includes this allergy it will have the number near it. The vegetarian items generally had a V near them.
Fish & Chips (1, 2, 3)
Full Irish Breakfast (2, 3)
Vegetable Curry (V)
Veggie Burger (V)
♦An awesome resource for vegan eating in Ireland and around the world is Happy Cow!
♦Hostels and Bed & Breakfasts are awesome places to stay in Ireland. Hostels generally offer free breakfast which usually involves fruit, toast, cereal, juice, coffee, and tea. Sometimes more, sometimes less. If you're staying at a Bed and Breakfast, contact them ahead of time to see if they can accommodate you. I stayed at a B&B in Cork and they happily provided bananas, kiwis, oranges, soy yogurt, coffee and tea.