Food and Travel: Cork and Kinsale

July 26, 2011

A travel recap for Cork and Kinsale, Ireland — where to go, what to see and what to eat and drink!

As I start this mini-series of posts about our recent trip to Ireland, I have to admit I typically don’t travel there with high expectations for food. That doesn’t mean that I don’t like Irish food. I do. There are also specific types of foods and drinks that I always look forward to having – scones with clotted cream, brown bread, Irish coffee, the perfectly poured pints of Guinness.

It’s just that we often find it difficult to get out of the touristy areas and find something truly outstanding. There have been exceptions, but in general I don’t view my own foodie travel to Ireland as a mission to find new, creative foods, but rather to enjoy some expertly made favorites.

Campus of University College Cork | Fake Food Free | A trip to Cork and Kinsale, Ireland
I’m happy to say that my expectations were blown out of the water this trip. Among a growing number of restaurants using amazing Irish ingredients, we also stumbled upon food creativity that inspired me. This year we had some of the best food we’ve experienced during any of our trips to Ireland.

I have so much to tell you about that I thought it would be easiest to share our adventures separated by the different areas of the country we traveled to this time. We set out to explore a few new spots including Cork, Kilkenny and Belfast. In each place we found markets, delicious food and even new ales and stouts.

We arrived in Dublin on a Sunday and immediately hopped on the train to Cork. We stayed in a quaint little B&B there with the friendliest of hosts, the Fernroyd House. We don’t have much experience with B&Bs because we tend to enjoy the amenities of hotels, but we decided that it was a good time to try out this type of accommodation.

Irish Scones | Fake Food Free | A trip to Cork and Kinsale, Ireland

We were greeted with freshly baked scones which we also had each of our two mornings there. These are 100% worthy of all the compliments they receive by previous guests. I later learned they use the recipe from Ballymaloe Cookery School, a place I really wanted to visit, but it was just too far out to fit it in this trip. They also source their jams locally. One variety we got to try was Blackberry Apple.

I might also mention that the rest of our breakfasts were equally delicious – Savory French Toast, Poached Free Range Egg over brown bread with Ballymaloe tomato relish, Porridge with Irish Honey and Full Irish Breakfast. Unfortunately a photo of the scones was all I got. One morning we had a minor malfunction with the camera card and the next day I forgot to bring it down.

We had some great dining and sight seeing suggestions from the B&B owner, Tony. One of them being Scotts on Caroline Street which we found to serve wonderful, locally sourced food. We both enjoyed the Seafood Chowder which included local seafood and Cork salmon.

White Chowder | Fake Food Free | A trip to Cork and Kinsale, Ireland


A trip to Cork and Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free

I’m pretty sure my talk about my next course didn’t stop for two days. I ordered the Bruschetta, but this was unlike any other I’ve had before. This version included toasted baguette with red onion marmalade and a large, slightly warm slice of local goat cheese. It was outstanding and I can’t wait to recreate it.

Irish coffees were on special the day we were there so it was impossible to pass one up for dessert. Not only is this one of my favorite drinks, but I always love how neat they look in the glass.

Irish Coffee in Cork, Ireland | Fake Food Free

I knew that the English Market had to be a stop on our list and we made it there the next morning. It was full of so many beautiful foods – cheeses, fresh seafood with a special emphasis on Irish salmon, breads, marinated olives and meat, meat and more meat.

English Market in Cork, Ireland | Fake Food Free
Salmon at the English Market in Cork, Ireland | Fake Food Free
English Market in Cork, Ireland | Fake Food Free
English Market in Cork, Ireland | Fake Food Free

We didn’t get to eat at the well known Farm Gate restaurant at the market, but we did grab a bite at the café next door – a cheese sandwich (surprisingly tasty) and cappuccinos. There is just something about a good cappuccino in Europe. I have yet to have one as delicious, creamy and expertly made in the States at any location. We ordered many throughout our week, while also enjoying tea with milk and sugar from time to time.

Travel to Cork and Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free
Travel to Cork and Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free

We hadn’t researched much on what to do while in Cork and were surprised to learn we had so many options. We chose to head out to the coastal town of Kinsale (about a 30 min bus ride) to see Fort Charles and eat at the well known Fishy Fishy.

Fort Charles in Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free | Travel

The Fort was beautiful and historically intriguing. In addition, it was a long and hilly hike up so we worked up an appetite for our meal at Fishy Fishy.

We ordered the seafood chowder to start. It was delicious and very different from our first version at Scott’s. This used a tomato stock and was flavored with tarragon and coriander.

Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free | Travel and Food

We followed this up by sharing the Steamed Local Mussels with basil and lemon butter and the Warm Salad of Chili Seafood with monkfish, shellfish and salmon. The salad also had fried potatoes and homemade potato chips on top. The mussels were very good, but still didn’t beat the mussels we had in Howth on the east coast on a previous visit. I enjoyed the seafood salad, I just wish the chili dressing had more of a spicy kick to it.

Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free | Travel and Food
Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free | Travel and Food

After a great meal of seafood we just had to stop at a place advertising ice cream made with milk from an Irish dairy – Baldwin’s Farmhouse Ice Cream. We both settled on Caramel Fudge. As far as ice cream goes, it doesn’t get much more perfect than this.

Kinsale, Ireland | Fake Food Free | Travel and Food

Lastly, I can’t forget to tell you about the stout. We had never heard of Beamish until we arrived in Cork. Apparently it is the original Irish Stout for the area and it’s still brewed there. We both agreed that it doesn’t have the same distinct flavor as Guinness, but it was still a very good beer.

Beamish Irish Stout | Fake Food Free | Travel in Cork and Kinsale, Ireland

As our B&B owner pointed out, it was also 80 cents cheaper than Guinness which meant we would always find locals drinking it. We ended up finding a bar or two in Dublin City that carried it on tap, but there and Cork were the only places we saw it. It seemed to be very unique to that area of the country.

Beamish Irish Stout | Fake Food Free | Travel in Cork and Kinsale, Ireland
As you can see, I most certainly was not lying about new and exciting food experiences this trip. The mix of old favorites and new finds in Cork and Kinsale exceeded my expectations!
Thanks for reading! All images and content are the property of Fake Food Free unless otherwise stated. Please do not republish full recipes and images without written permission. What is okay? Feel free to Pin images, share links to my posts or share the photo in a round up post with the title of this recipe and a link back to the post.  If you want to use a photo or full recipe, just ask. I’m sure we can work something out. 

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  • Daily Spud July 26, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that you had such a good food experience this trip. That, and I think I need to stay in that B&B next time I’m in Cork!

  • Tangled Noodle July 26, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    Mr. Noodle and I rented a car & stayed in B&Bs during our 10-day Irish tour a few years back. The BB network in Ireland is extensive, well-managed and has something for every budget in nearly every locale, regardless how small the town or village!

    We loved Kinsale and I especially loved the small silversmith shop there. I don’t recall the name of the restaurant but they served me the best fish and chips I have ever tasted. Sad to say, we only drove through Cork, which is why it’s imperative we return. There are so many places to visit and foods to try!

    What a delicious start to your travels! 😎

  • TasteHongKong July 26, 2011 at 10:24 pm

    This is miles miles away from me, but through your words and pictures, I feel it somewhat closer and kind of ‘smelling’ the characters of their foods. Isn’t it a good place to escape from those foods chains : )!

  • Marianne (frenchfriestoflaxseeds) July 27, 2011 at 12:48 am

    So much good food, and so much seafood – I would be in heaven. Although I don’t know if their salmon could ever live up to our west coast salmon here. Looking forward to more from your trip 🙂

  • Neil Butterfield July 27, 2011 at 5:03 am

    Wow some stunning pics here. Irish stew is one of my favorite meals.

  • That's Ron July 27, 2011 at 5:05 am

    ireland … is such a smashing looking country

  • Viv July 27, 2011 at 6:40 am

    im so glad you got to eat so many amazing food during this trip! that seafood chowder with salmon looks mouth watering! cant wait til you recreate that goat cheese bruschetta and post the recipe up here 😛
    its funny how the irish put their coffee into glasses too! haha

  • emily (a nutritionist eats) July 27, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Such amazing pictures Lori! I can’t wait for you to recreate the bruschetta either!!

  • Juliana July 27, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Lori, thank you for sharing the pictures…love the “tour”.
    Hope you having a wonderful week 🙂

  • kat July 28, 2011 at 7:10 am

    You are making me want to book next years trip now!

  • 5 Star Foodie July 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    We haven’t made it to Cork on our travels to Ireland but it is definitely on our list. The chowder looks so good and so does that bruschetta, yum!

  • Lori July 31, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Daily Spud – It was such a great find!

    Tangled Noodle – You all are brave! So many people suggest we rented a car, but we just don’t want the stress of driving on the other side of the road. Lugging the bags can be a hassle, but we went for the trains. 🙂 Altough I’m sure you all saw so many great little towns doing it that way.

    TasteHongKong – So glad I could bring the experience to life for you! It was a fabulous one!

    Marianne – That just means I need to get there and try the salmon so I can compare and make an honest assessment. 🙂

    Neil – Thanks!

    Ron – It truly is!

    Viv – I love Irish coffees! And that bruschetta was one of my favorite dishes of the trip for sure.

    emily – I definitely have to get on it. I’m craving it again already!

    Juliana – You’re welcome. Glad you enjoyed them!

    kat – Are you headed there next year?!

    5 Star – Cork was a bit like a mini-Dublin too us, but much less touristy which we liked. Lots of good food options too with all the great local salmon and seafood.

  • OysterCulture August 13, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I loved Kinsale and Cork for the food and the beauty. I am guessing you did not get to the butter museum in Cork? Now you’ll just have to go back. We ate at Fishy Fishy too and really enjoyed ourselves.

  • Sarah September 10, 2011 at 5:49 am

    I’ve never been to Ireland before. The closest in culture perhaps is Newfoundland with its seafood chowder and ice cold beers. Glad to hear a very positive look on Irish food. And yes, finally did get around to posting your picure (thanks!)