Irish Cuisine for St. Patrick's Day: Try Something New (or Old!)

Updated on March 15, 2020
DixieMockingbird profile image

Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over 20 years. She has cooked on multiple television stations, including the Food Network.

Irish boxty
Irish boxty

I’ve heard it said that on St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish. It does seem to be a holiday that almost everyone loves to adopt—regardless of their ethnic backgrounds. Most Americans whip out a batch of corned beef and cabbage in homage to the Auld Country.

But . . . I hate to be the one to break it to you, since many of you will hold this dish as authentic and beloved, but corned beef and cabbage is just not traditional Irish fare. I’m so sorry.

“How can this be?” you might now be wondering. It’s actually a very simple answer.

In Ireland the cattle were highly prized, but kept primarily for the milk production. That’s not bad—think of the glorious Irish Cheddar and butter. What beef was consumed was by the wealthy, and in Ireland, that just wasn’t very many people. Today Ireland raises some of the best beef cattle in the world, exporting it all over.

Prior to the Norman invasion in the 8th century, the Irish subsisted on hunting, the occasional vegetable matter, and the abundant seafood. After the 8th century, they were no longer free to hunt as they wished, and began keeping dairy cattle and kitchen gardens. The Irish kept other crop animals besides the cow though, including umpteen bajillion sheep, as well as chickens and pigs. So while beef wasn’t common on the table, the Irish were by no means strangers to meat. Mutton, chicken and pork often made their way into the Irish cookpot.

After the mid-1600s, the potato had made its way to Ireland from South America, where it was welcomed with open arms. It joined oats, cabbage and onions as staples. It could be the Irish reliance of these foods that has led to the Irish cuisine being described as "bland," but that’s only by those who can’t appreciate a lovely bowl of Irish poundies.

While the cuisine of Ireland did rely heavily on a few staple foods, there was certainly more variety than Ireland normally gets credit for. Not only were the Irish clever and creative in making the most of their staples, giving beautiful sausages, breads and dairy products, but the predominance of the Irish coastline meant that cod, haddock, salmon and gorgeous shellfish were also available and widely used.

Modern Irish cuisine has entered the modern age with the rest of Europe of course. Modern Irish chefs are known for the elegant simplicity of their dishes, utilizing local ingredients with flair. Many traditional favorites have gotten gourmet upgrades and makeovers, with delicious results.

If you wish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with an authentically Irish menu, try one of the following dishes at your house. While you’re at it, give some of the liquids a try, as well. Imbibe a bit—to toast old Ireland, of course.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
BarmbrackBoxtyChampColcannonSlieve na Mbam
Slieve na Mbam
Slieve na Mbam

Traditional Irish Foods

  • Apple Mash: Savory apples and potatoes mashed together
  • Bacon and cabbage: Boiled Irish Bacon with cabbage, served with a sharp mustard or parsley sauce
  • Bangors and Mash: Slightly lumpy mashed potatoes with Irish sausages and cheese
  • Bap: Large soft yeast roll, often with currents or raisins
  • Barmbrack: Fruited yeast bread
  • Beef and Guinness: An Irish Stew made with beef slow-braised in Guinness stout
  • Blaa: Soft floury yeast roll
  • Boxty: Traditional Irish potato pancakes
  • Carrageen Moss
  • Champ: Similar to Colcannon, but done with cream and green onions, Northern Irish, and also known as poundies, colly or pandy
  • Coddle: Casserole made of ham, sausage, potato and onion
  • Colcannon: Comfort food at its best, made with mashed potatoes, scallions and cabbage
  • Crubeens: Brined and then slow-roasted pigs' feet, done like an American pot roast. Renowned as a hangover cure.
  • Drisheen: Irish blood sausage
  • Dublin Lawyer: Lobster cooked in whiskey and cream
  • Dulse: Edible Irish seaweed
  • Fadge: Potato bread
  • Goody: Dessert made by boiling bread in milk with sugar
  • Irish Breakfast or Fry-Up
  • Irish Stew: Stew of mutton or lamb, with potatoes, carrots and sometimes Guinness
  • Oysters and Guinness: Just what it sounds like!
  • Potato Bread
  • Potato Farls: Potato bread flattened and cooked on a griddle, then quartered
  • Poundies: See Champ
  • Shepherd’s Pie: Meat pie, usually lamb or mutton, topped with mashed potatoes instead of a pastry crust
  • Skirts and Kidneys: Pork dish with skirt steak and kidneys
  • Slieve na Mbam: Carrots in cream with parsley
  • Soda Bread: Quick bread with baking soda for the rise instead of yeast
  • Soda Farls: Soda bread flattened, cooked on a griddle and quartered
  • Wheaten Bread: Similar to regular soda bread, but with whole wheat flour

If you find that you simply can’t make it on St. Patrick’s Day without corned beef and cabbage, don’t worry. When the Irish immigrated to America they applied many of their cooking techniques to the foods more available here. In this case, it was beef vs. mutton. So while it’s not traditionally Irish, it is Irish-American.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • DixieMockingbird profile imageAUTHOR

      Jan Charles 

      8 years ago from East Tennessee

      Erin go braugh indeed! I hope you enjoy - and thank you!

    • profile image

      Deborah MCMenemy 

      8 years ago

      THANK YOU...I am Irish and HATE corned beef and cabbage. I would like to try some of your recipes and enjoy a lighter fare. I have been eating seaweeds for years....Erin Go Braugh!!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)