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Plant-Based Ireland

A plant-based diet is quite doable around the world

Dr Padma Garvey/The Plant-Based Doctor Mom

Plant-Based Ireland


Cliffs of Moher

My husband and I recently went on a week long vacation to Ireland.  It was actually our second time going.  The first time we stayed exclusively on the west coast.  On this trip we were going to see more of the east coast.  We went with a few of our relatives on the Garvey side (the Garveys originally came from County Roscommon).   Like many large family trips, there were various dietary preferences to consider.  In Ireland, it was fairly easy for me to stick to a plant-based diet.   Every single place we ate at had dishes using seasonal, fresh, local produce.   There were usually vegetarian options, and many places had a vegan menu as well.  This should really come as no surprise though.  Present day menus in Ireland might be heavy on the meat and dairy but this was not typical of the Irish diet in the past.  Throughout most of their history, the Irish were forced to live as subsistence farmers, eating lots of root vegetables and cabbage.  The fact that the Irish famine occurred because of a devastating potato blight says a lot about the tremendous nutritional value of the potato and how much the Irish depended on it.

Castle in Trim Ireland, 1200 AD


We flew into Shannon and stayed a few days in Ennis and Limerick.  The hotels had complimentary breakfasts which featured lots of food.  I ate Irish oatmeal, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, and fresh fruit.  They also had almond milk or soy milk upon request.  The Irish oatmeal was like nothing I have ever had before.  It was so creamy and delicious.  Breakfast always featured potatoes but they were fried so I limited my intake.


Representation of Celtic goddess erected recently by people celebrating the summer solstice on ancient Celtic grounds

At all the local pubs, there was a vegan vegetable soup of the day.  It featured the local produce and was simply delicious.  Many places had an Indian vegetable curry.  Other common items included veggie burgers, vegetable wraps, or a hearty salad with lots of mixed greens.   On the rare occasions where the soup of the day was not vegan, I picked several standard side dishes like baked beans and a hearty salad.  

 Trinity College, est 1592

I was surprised to see a fairly robust vegan community in Dublin encouraging a lot of vegan restaurants.  For this trip, however, the exclusively vegan places were not an option for the entire group. We tended to eat at small, traditional pubs or nice, traditional restaurants.  But because of the robust vegan community in Dublin, all the restaurants had a vegan option for me.  We also went out for Thai food, Japanese food and Italian food.  I had fantastic tofu in green curry, amazing miso soup, wonderful sushi, pasta with mushrooms, and sautéed dandelions.  I even splurged on our last night and had some vegan gelato.

 Selfie taken at the geographic center of Ireland where ancient kings met

In addition to sticking to my plant-based diet, my husband and I made sure to walk a lot every day. We averaged about 5 to 8 miles a day between nature hikes, touring the ancient Celtic ruins, walking tours of Limerick based on the book Angela’s Ashes, and checking out as much of Dublin on foot as possible.  


I had a wonderful time in Ireland. I found the people of Ireland to be friendly, progressive, and interesting.  Their history, from ancient times to more recent, depicts a complex and proud culture that has influenced the rest of the world greatly.  I will go back.  Erin go bragh!

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