Thursday 28 March 2019

Tips for Travelling Vegan in Ireland

vegan ireland

Ireland, with it's extremely friendly people and vibrantly green wildlife, is a bucket-list destination for most. The main port of entry is Dublin Airport, if you are arriving by air the airport offers a good range of both car and campervan rental options, and pieces are fair in my estimation. (Btw if anyone is interested: I used MPV Rentals as we like to hire a 7 seater for the extra space and comfort on longer journeys.... niceeee rideee, highly recommended!)

Vegan Ireland

Ostensibly for (English-speaking) vegans Ireland seems like a walk in the park with one of the official languages being English (aka no language barrier) and with over 13 vegan restaurants in Dublin. But what's it like in reality? And, more importantly, is Guinness vegan? I spent a week exploring the west coast of Ireland and this is what I found:

irish vegan recipes

Accidentally Vegan Traditional Irish Recipes?

As a travelling vegan, I try to keep my meals as traditional as possible, whilst still keeping them meat, fish, dairy, egg and honey free. Here are a few Irish vegan recipes to keep an eye out for in restaurants and pubs:

Okay, pretty much all traditional Irish recipes are traditionally non-vegan. This is farming country after all and almost any Irish recipe that you'll come across from bangers and mash to Irish stew to oatcakes, toad in the hole, bread and butter pudding (of course) and even leek and potato soup will have (at the very least) some kind of butter in it. Don't worry Travelling Vegans, I've got a plan:

vegan food ireland

Traditional Irish Recipes Veganised!

If you find a place that's vegan friendly or even a vegan restaurant Ireland what should you be on the look out for? Here are some traditional Irish foods that can easily be made vegan (and how):

  • Bangers and mash, aka sausages and mashed potato, traditionally meat of course, but easily veganised with some vegan sausages.
  • Toad in the hole, aka a sausage (the toad) cooked in batter (the hole). Again check for vegan sausages and ask what the batter is made from.
  • Full Irish breakfast, similar to a full English (aka lots of unhealthy shit and no real set of rules about what makes a full breakfast). Think vegan sausages, hash-browns, tomato, mushroom, beans, tofu scramble, avocado, toast - some or all of these may be featured. A full Irish will traditionally be served with Soda bread (maybe), just check the soda bread wasn't made with buttermilk.
  • Colcannon, that is, mashed potatoes with kale or cabbage. Traditionally made with milk/cream/butter, but for a vegan (and healthier) alternative these can be replaced with sunflower/olive oil. Double check there are no bacon bits.
  • Brambrack: bread with sultanas and raisins, generally made with egg easily replaced with baking soda and vinegar.
  • Bread and Butter pudding: ahh the apple of my eye, as a kid I loveddd bread and butter pudding (basically bread and butter baked in the oven). So good. Easily veganised with vegan butter/milk substitutes.

vegan food in ireland

More Accidentally vegan Irish food

Although you might struggle to find traditionally Irish vegan recipes, what you will find are the odd accidentally vegan Irish side (or two or three, in a pinch you can mix and match to make a meal):

  • Potatoes: boiled, fried, stuck in stew... Chips are beloved and can be found in most places. Double check they weren't cooked in butter and you're good to go.
  • Soup: whilst a lot of soups are cooked with butter (like leek and potato) you will find ones that aren't - just double check for non vegan ingredients.
  • Guinness: is Guinness vegan? Yes, Guinness recently changed their process to not include isinglass and all Guinness is now vegan! It's an excellent filler if you're struggling to find vegan food and you need something to fill you up right now!

is guinness vegan

(Note: Vegan Vs Travel does not endorse drinking on an empty stomach, even though it's something she does on the regular.)

vegan ireland

Vegan Restaurants in Ireland

Where do you even find vegan restaurants Ireland?

vegan restaurants ireland

These little gems will have vegan Irish food for you and are 100% authentic. I use happy cow to find vegan restaurants Ireland and vegan restaurants all over the planet.

vegan shop ireland

Vegan Products Ireland

If you decide to make some of your own meals in Ireland where do you find a vegan shop Ireland? I stayed with one of my best friends Jess and she foraged:

  • Non-dairy milks: Aldi
  • Vegan ice cream and chocolate: Tesco
  • Vegan toiletries: Lush
  • Vegan cheeses, sweets, chocolate spread and mayo: Soul Bia
  • Vegan Christmas box: Holland and Barrett

irish vegan recipes

Thank you Jess!

(Not) Buying Wool in Ireland

Wool, especially Aran wool, is popular in touristy stores all across Ireland, from scarves to jumpers to just straight up wool, it's kind of hard to leave the country without buying something that has a sheep knitted onto it. Whilst I think the majority of people get that leather is cruel, people don't necessarily know about wool being cruel - with the general thought being 'well, sheep get overgrown if you don't sheer them don't they, we're really doing them a favour.'

vegan ireland

Let's put it this way: would you want a non-consensual haircut? No, so when it comes to sheep that naturally have the right amount of wool for them, leave them be. But when it comes to the sheep that have been weirdly bred for thousands of years (thanks shepherds), who get all infected and maggoty if you don't sheer them, what do you do about them?

Currently, the wool industry deals with this in a gross way: it cuts the hair off the butt of the sheep, but in such a haphazard way that it's not just the wool that gets cut, but the sheep themselves. There's no pain relief here and lambs often walk around for weeks in pain. Shearers are paid by volume, meaning that it's not in their monetary interest to take the time to be kind to sheep. And it doesn't stop at gapping wounds and no pain relief, sheep are generally starved before shearing to make them more docile and are abused: punched, kicked etc, you can read more about it here: the truth about the wool industry.

So yeah, if you buy wool and haven't personally visited the shearers and checked they're not sadists, chances are you're wearing cruel wool. The easiest way not to do this is to not buy wool. As for sheering the sheep that need sheering in a nice way? As usual, I don't know everything, but I sure damn do know that the answer is not butt cutting.

Where to Stay in Ireland for Vegans

On a lighter note, where are good places for vegans to stay in Ireland?

Airbnb for vegans

If you want a guarantee that all your food is vegan / you want to try your hand at traditional Irish meals veganised, rent an airbnb - you get full use of the kitchen, among other things. 

Vegan Hotels Ireland

  • Dublin: Ariel House Dublin boasts a vegan-friendly breakfast and is just ten minutes from Sova Vegan butcher one of the vegan restaurants Ireland you must visit.
  • Cork: The Kingsley Cork apparently has brilliant breakfast options for vegans.
  • Limerick: Castletroy Park Hotel Limerick has an entire vegetarian and vegan-friendly menu.

Vegan House Sitting Jobs in Ireland

I did a two week house sit in Ireland and it was awesome. Free accommodation for two weeks in a house with a sauna and a jacuzzi? + the homeowners left me their car and an abundance of vegan foods. Find out more about house sitting in Ireland here. Or find out more about house sitting as a vegan here.

Wrap Up: Vegan in Ireland

Being vegan in Ireland is relatively straight forward: take advantage of the language, avoid butter, and get ready to see probably the greenest country of your life - enjoy! More vegan Europe guides:

Here is a video about the nascent vegan scene in Ireland - enjoy :)

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillionveg. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

Whatsapp Button works on Mobile Device only

Start typing and press Enter to search