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Food & Drink in Ireland - Overview

The Irish really enjoy their food and eating out is an important part of social life. There are a vast range of restaurants and choice of cuisine from which to choose. Being a maritime nation surrounded by the Atlantic, fresh seafood is widely available and the quality is reknowned worldwide. The rich farmland provides a superb choice of meats which are used in both traditional and international recipes. Salmon, both fresh and smoked is used for both starter and main courses. International cuisine is very popular with Chinese, Italian and Indian being the most popular.

Restaurants can be found almost everywhere and range from top class international cuisine found in the main cities and in luxury hotels to family run restaurants. Along the coast, you will find the best seafood restaurants and towns such as Kinsale in County Cork host an annual gourmet festival, Galway - an annual Guinness Oyster Festival.

Prices can differ greatly depending where you eat, this is a rough guide (priced per person):
Fast Food / Take-away - € 6
Lunch Menu - Pub / Small Hotel - € 10
Lunch Menu - Restaurant - € 15
Evening A la Carte - € 25
Evening Top Class Restaurant - € 60
Prices do not include wine which can range from € 12 and up per bottle.

In most cases the price displayed / quoted is what you will be charged. A service charge if applicable should be displayed and will be normally 10 to 15%. Tips are voluntary and are not expected.

Very few city center restaurants / hotels have their own car park, enquire when booking for information. Most have disabled access and facilities. Most will have a wine licence.

It is advisable to book at least one week in advance for the most popular restaurants while normally several hours notice will suffice. Major credit cards are accepted. For the majority, you should be able to walk in, and with a short wait get a table.

Irish hotels and restaurants generally have a very welcoming attitude towards children (especially before 7:30 pm). Facilities like child seats are normally widely available. Half sized meals can be ordered for children.

An evening at the pub, is a popular social activity. There are a wide range of pubs to choose from;
  • Hotel bar
  • Nightclub bar
  • City center bar
  • Suburban bar
  • Country town bar
  • Rural rar
    Each will be different from the other, city bars tend to be loud and exciting in contrast to a rural bar where locals come to enjoy a quiet pint in the evening and maybe enjoy the talents of a local musician. The choice is yours depending on the type of evening you wish to enjoy.

    The dearest drinks will usually be in hotels and nightclubs. City pubs will offer the widest choice of drinks, including cocktails. If you are looking for a slow carefully drawn pint of the "black stuff", then choose a town or rural pub. Minerals such as Coca Cola are quite expensive in any pub.

    Many pubs serve meals of a high standard, both at lunchtime and in the evening. Wide screen televisions are common for watching matches and other sporting events. Especially in towns pool tables can be found. Many pubs orgainise bands and other music, card nights and other events.

    By law, new pubs must provide facilities for disabled visitors, and many older buildings have been renovated to comply, too. Guide dogs are allowed in most pubs.

    Irish pubs generally have a very welcoming attitude towards children during the day and in the lounge area only. Children must be supervised at all times by an adult, and remember there are very strict laws on underage drinking.

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