How to Make Traditional Irish Brown Bread

We all have flavors that remind us of home, and for my Irish husband, that taste is brown bread. For readers that want to bake this crumbly loaf at home, I recommend King Arthur Flour’s Irish-Style Flour, available online. This coarsely ground flour provides the perfect texture for a traditional loaf of Irish brown bread….

The Oyster Poaching Mastermind of Connemara

I wanted to write about the sometimes mischievous ways that Ireland’s oysters made it from sea to table in decades past. But this kind of story — no news hook, no service element — can be a tough sell in today’s travel writing climate, where the focus of many pieces is all things timely and…

On the Side of the Road in Ireland

During a summer road trip through the west of Ireland, it wasn’t only sleepy sheep taking a nap in the road that brought my car to a halt. Two unique food experiences stand out as highlights of my trip exploring this wild stretch of Connemara coastline. The Misunderstood Heron has been called Ireland’s most remote…

On Ireland: What to Read

Around St. Patrick’s Day, there is so much terrible writing about Ireland. My small act of defiance is to share some of my favorite writing about Ireland, stories that are transportive and evoke not just the place and the sights but the people and the feel that make the country so special. Why Western Ireland…

Get in the Car and Go

When you turn the key in the ignition in Ireland, you don’t need to know where you’re going. Point the car north or south or west and you’ll arrive at a country pub on a windy road. At a forest full of ancient trees. At a lighthouse treacherously perched at the edge of the sea. This year…

A Trail of Lighthouses in Ireland

In Ireland, you walk for many reasons. You walk to the store for milk when the carton is empty and the kettle is boiled. You walk to the pub, where friends that know your order are waiting. And sometimes, when you’re standing in the harbor of an island off the coast of County Mayo, you…

An Irish Guide to Dating

To all the Irish I’ve known, thank you. Over a decade, your friendships provided countless dating tips—in the form of your actions, that is—that might help people find (and hold on to) love. This guide is by no means comprehensive, but aims to untangle some of the nuance of the much-praised Irish charm. First, the…

Best of 2015

In 2015, I feasted on seafood in Puglia and learned to make cheese in the Basque Country. I lured friends and family to Dublin for my wedding, but also for Irish oysters, music, and craic. I followed a dog on a truffle hunt in Piemonte, got my hands dirty during a cooking class in San…

On the Pleasures of the Off Season

Every December, I get in a car in Dublin. We drive north or west or south, out of the city, into the Irish countryside. We hop on the motorway in the days before Christmas, when most locals are busy wrapping up shopping or preparing holiday meals. When we arrive in Connemara or Antrim or Wexford, we…

An Irish Wedding

The number one question I was asked when planning my wedding was: what makes a wedding Irish? For our May wedding in Dublin, Ireland we wanted to combine traditions for a part Italian-American, part Irish wedding. There would be oysters accompanied by baby glasses of Guinness. There would be an a cappella group bursting into…

Behind Locked Doors

You don’t know you’re in a lock in, when you’re first in a lock in. The changes are subtle. You might look up between sips of your pint, perhaps when it’s nearing the end of the glass, to see the blinds drawn tight. The barman, usually standing upright and busying himself behind the bar, might…

In the Footsteps of Giants

In Ireland, everyone has their favorite nook of the island. Families are often nostalgic for a certain corner, packing up the car and heading off for long weekends in Cork or Galway or Clare or Donegal, settling into their happy place for a bank holiday weekend. For my soon-to-be family, that happy place is craggy…

Sharing the Strand with Seamus

My feet were always wet in Dublin. If the leather of my shoes was soaked through on the walk to work in the morning, they would remain wet all day. If I sat at the desk by the window, with a heater near the baseboard, they would be warm and wet. Otherwise, they would be…

Hands Like Shovels

I’m not always the most prolific Tweeter, but in honor of St. Patrick’s Day this year — when there is so much bad content being published about Ireland — I suddenly had a flurry of things to say in 140 characters. These were some of my favorites: The Irish don’t eat corned beef, and they…

Writer in the Kitchen: Dublin’s San Lorenzos

“In Italian cooking, there’s nowhere to hide.” I had just asked Temple Garner — chef/owner of a new Dublin restaurant called San Lorenzos — why Italian food? “The Italians have a generosity of spirit, a simplicity, they allow the ingredients to really shine.” I couldn’t agree more, having grown up in a kitchen with an Italian mother…

How the Irish Skinny Dip

When you sit down to write a story, you never know where it’s going to wind up. Sitting at the desk in my apartment on Waterloo Road in Dublin, I wanted to write a story about the side of the Irish capital people seemed to be missing. Whenever I encountered fellow Americans (or any foreigners)…

Travel Sins

I blame Yeats. I was reading a collection of his poems at a sidewalk café table on a strangely warm afternoon in Dublin’s city centre, when his musings on young love distracted me from my surroundings. The waitress dropped the check pulling me out of my reverie, and as I reached under the table with…

Where to Stay in Dublin

I became a traveler again, faced with all a traveler’s problems. I was in the center of Dublin — the city I called home from 2008 – 2010 — and instead of a resident, I was a visitor with a visitor’s worries: where to stay, where to eat, what to do, how to manage my…

One Perfect Day in Dublin

On my recent trip to Dublin I was asked by an American traveler, ‘if you had one day in Dublin, what would you do?’ We were sitting at breakfast munching on fresh-baked brown soda bread while sunlight streamed through the windows. This question can be answered in many ways – I mentioned a couple of…

Planning a Picnic in Dublin

We might already be complaining about the heat, but I’ll take sunshine over snow any day. When the sun comes out there can be an infectious atmosphere of craving time spent outdoors. I recently wrote a post over on the Traveler’s Way about planning a picnic in New York City. This got me to thinking that…

The Affordable Side of Dublin

Things have changed in the city that used to be called one of  ‘the most expensive capitals in Europe’. It’s affordable again. During the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, you had to search to find value, but now the city can once again be called affordable. Cheap flights and packages have made trips to…

All Eyes on Ireland

Last week for St Patrick’s Day, all eyes were on Ireland. Now that the green beer is a distant memory, you might have a leftover curiosity about the Emerald Isle. I write frequently about the capital city of Dublin and Ireland in general on this blog, and recently I’ve had a few readers asking for…

Favorite Culinary Moments of 2010

As the year comes to a close, I got to thinking about the best culinary moments of 2010. I sat down at tables from Dublin to Sicily to New York City this year, but a few moments of real culinary genius stand out from the rest. These were meals that I started craving the moment…

Sleeping Swans in Galway

My favorite thing about returning to a familiar place is turning a corner and seeing something very new. This is one of the joys of travel, that each time you return somewhere, there is the possibility of it feeling fresh again. A few weeks ago I returned to Galway, the major city of the west…

Spring Fever

After a long winter – what’s better than drinking a pint in the sun? Sunday was the warmest day of the year so far, and in celebration, we decided to get out of the house and into the sun. After a short 30-minute drive south of the city, we were breathing the fresh air of…