There was one thing I was looking forward to most when I left for my vacation this year, and it was the vegan food tour that I had booked in Dublin. I never heard of something like this and I was so excited to see what it was all about. It definitely lived up to it’s excitement, as it was a major highlight to my trip.
Overall, Dublin is extremely veg friendly. I was surprised to see milk alternatives at almost every small coffee shop and vegan donut options at many little bakeries and pastry shops. As I learned on my vegan food tour, there are billboards all over Ireland encouraging individuals to go dairy free. Guinness Beer, the famous beer from Dublin, has recently gone vegan as well. Did you know that brewer’s use fish bladders for filtering beer? Guinness used to, but they stopped about a year ago so they could offer vegan friendly beer! I was very impressed with this small countries forward thinking.
Here’s a little breakdown of all the great vegan and vegan friendly places I visited on my short trip to Dublin.
The first day I arrived, we visited Cornucopia. It is a vegetarian restaurant and they offer great home cooked meals and cater to vegan, gluten free, sugar free and raw food diets. I tried their classic Irish porridge dish with the daily scone. It was hearty and healthy and I felt like I got a taste of a traditional Irish breakfast!
On day 2, I tried to save my appetite all day, as much as possible, so I could enjoy the Vegan Food Tour that was coming at dinner time. Vegan in Ireland hosted this food tour and they did a great job! Both hosts were vegan and they were extremely knowledgeable and passionate about plant based diets and cruelty free living. One of my favourite things about this tour was that half the people on it weren’t even vegan! They just wanted to try to eat healthier, or, like my husband, they came on the tour with a vegan companion.
We started our tour at Cornucopia, this time for dinner! We tasted many plates of goodies, but my favourite was the potato/dill salad. There was about 6 dishes to try, and this was only stop number one!
Next up, we went to Aperitivo for some pizza! This is a little pizza shop that has a full vegan menu and another menu for “real meat and cheese” style pizzas. I was really impressed with the many restaurants in Dublin that aren’t plant based but offer a full plant based menu. We had the vegan cheese pizza and the vegan green pizza. Both were amazing and between 6 people, both pizzas disappeared very quickly!
The next part of our trip was supposed to be another restaurant, but during our pizza stop, our tour guides were informed that the restaurant had electrical troubles and they were temporarily closed! Our tour guides had to rearrange the tour on the fly, but they did an amazing job, and we went to the next stop a bit early, which was supposed to be just for wine but in the end they were able to offer us a little bit of food to make up for the cancelled stop.
We walked in the rain to Fallon and Byrne for our wine and discovered that it was a really cool grocery store! There was a wine bar in the basement along with a small restaurant on the upper level. It was a really neat place and I’m sad I didn’t have time to go back there again before we left. We tasted some great vegan wine and had delicious avocado toast with a beet-ball. You may ask, “Isn’t all wine vegan, since it’s made from grapes”, but in fact this is not true. Some wines, like Guinness beer, use fish bladder! So make sure you read your labels!
Our next stop was a Traditional “Chipper”, or as we know it, a fast food restaurant. Open 24 hours a day, “Chippers” in Dublin are busiest at night. McGuinness Traditional Take Away is a chain of Chippers and a few years ago, this locations owners decided to add a vegan menu. Here you’ll find battered sausage, burgers, poutine and onion rings, all plant based! It was a nice treat, but also a nice reminder that not all vegan foods are healthy and you don’t want to get in a habit of eating vegan junk food like this on a daily basis! It was pretty neat because some costumers came into the store while we were there, and every one of them ordered off the vegan menu! One lady told me “This vegan menu is the only reason I come here”! This would be a great idea for some fast food restaurants in Canada ……
Our last stop on the tour was for dessert at Sova Vegan Butcher. This is Dublin’s only “fine dining” vegan restaurant, but it was actually more casual then fine dining, which I loved. We each got a dessert plate of coconut cake topped with avocado chocolate mousse and berry cream cheese and berry compote. It was the first time I ate a raw coconut cake and it was quite hard and not as sweet as I normally like my treats, but the chocolate mousse was spectacular! I wish we had time to go back there to try their brunch menu, because it looked quite interesting.
Our tour guides gave us a little goodie bag at the end and I was a very happy camper with a full stomach. This tour experience got me thinking about starting something like this at home in Montreal. Although Dublin was small, and all our restaurants were within walking distance, I think something can be arranged in Montreal. This may be one of my next projects, so stay tuned!!
The next morning, we took a trip to Greystones, just a short train ride from Dublin, to try the highly recommended “Happy Pear”.
This little shop and restaurant were like heaven to me! It’s one of my life goals to open up something like this. A little grocery market and café and restaurant all in one location offering healthy, local and homemade plant based goodness! Although not entirely vegan, it is entirely vegetarian and had a lot of vegan options. I did their Irish Porridge Bowl and I got a huge bowl of porridge topped with bananas, apples, coconut yougurt, granola, pumpkin seeds, chia jam and almond butter. It was a full and hearty breakfast but I still had room for a little vegan cookie afterwards as well! I wandered around their market and got a few snacks for the road and I couldn’t leave without picking up one of their cookbooks! I loved the décor at the Happy Pear, it was rustic with loads of inspiration painted on wooden panels and the photos lining the walls.
We hiked over 6 km between Greystones and Bray and took the train back into the city. Upon our return, we happened to pass a donut shop that offered almost a dozen vegan donuts!!
The rolling donut is kind of like an Irish “Tim Horton’s”, offering big selections of donuts. I couldn’t decide which donut I wanted to try, so I got 2 and I have to admit, that as the day passed, I slowly snacked on both of them, finishing them both before dinner time.
I spent the evening at The Eat Yard, which is a weekend food festival in Dublin. Little vendors set up shop in a small yard and there happens to be a few plant based vendors there! We tried the Vish, a vegan fish stand and we got Vish and chips. They were very good and the tartar sauce that accompanied the Vish was probably my favourite tartar sauce I’ve ever had!
Thus concludes my vegan adventures in Dublin. I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of plant based goodies in the city, and I didn’t even get to half of them!! With my belly full and my heart happy, we continued on to the United Kingdom for the rest of our trip. Stay tuned for a post about my Vegan adventures in London!