Here’s What Irish People Eat For St. Patrick’s Day

Whether you’re Irish all the way or just Irish for a day, raise your glass and fill your plate with these irresistible culinary gems from the Emerald Isle.

Braised Corned Beef Brisket

Braised Corned Beef Brisket | Photo by KGora

Irish cuisine offers us so many good things to eat that it’s a shame to wait until St. Patrick’s Day to sample them all. Dig into fresh seafood like salmon, haddock, and scallops; dense wedges of soda bread; rich lamb stew fortified with root vegetables and savory bacon; tangy artisanal cheeses; stout beers and well-aged whiskeys; cakes and pies made from robust, tart apples.

Are you hungry yet? Let’s get to the recipes.

Irish Potato Soup

Irish Potato Soup | Photo by Meredith

Everyone knows that the Irish have an ongoing love affair with the potato. People in Ireland talk about potatoes the way the French talk about wine. And Irish cooks use spuds unsparingly in everything from soups to cakes. Potatoes dishes such as Colcannon and Champ, therefore, are always popular choices.

Colcannon (from the Gaelic word cole, meaning cabbage) is made of cabbage that has been cooked in milk and blended with buttery mashed potatoes. It’s traditionally served in a fluffy pile with a sort of well in the centre that’s filled with even more melted butter for dipping each forkful into. Champ is more favored in the Northern counties of Ireland. It’s equally heavenly in taste; the only difference is it’s made with scallions.

In many parts of the world (though, notably, not in Ireland) a corned beef feast is the thing to serve for St. Patrick’s Day.

Corned beef will be on sale this month so take advantage and stock up! Cook a few slabs of it at once, then slice or dice the meat, wrap it securely and tuck it into the freezer for the next time you’ve got a hankering for a Reuben sandwich or corned beef hash. Cooked corned beef will keep in the freezer for several months.

Corned Beef and Cabbag

Corned Beef and Cabbag | Photo by Meredith

Related: 3 Ways To Cook Corned Beef: Stove, Oven, And Slow Cooker

Or how about something besides corned beef this year? Irish salmon, whose season actually opens on March 17th, is famous the world over. No complicated preparations are needed for this fresh, flavorful fish.

And what will they be devouring in the pubs and on the streets? Fish and chips! For perfect fried fish, dip it in thick beer batter and make sure the oil is hot enough before you begin! Any white fish, like cod or haddock, will work. Serve simply with salt and malt vinegar.

Classic Fish and Chips

Classic Fish and Chips | Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

And let’s not forget Irish stew, a cornerstone of Irish gastronomy. Wholesome and unpretentious, Irish stews will figure highly in many restaurants and homes across the Emerald Isle.

Irish Beef Stew with Guinness

Irish Beef Stew with Guinness | Photo by JavaJosh

Find more Irish recipes in our St. Patrick’s Day collection!

Irish coffee was invented in the 1940s at an Irish port to give a little warmth and cheer to exhausted travelers in the middle of their long transatlantic journeys.

  • To make a proper Irish coffee, start by warming up a stemmed glass with a swirl of hot water. Dump out the water and pour in a shot of Irish whiskey.
  • Fill the glass 3/4 full with strong coffee and stir in a tablespoon of brown sugar.
  • Next, whip some fresh cream just a little bit so that it’s fluffy but still pourable. Slowly pour the whipped cream over the back of a spoon into the coffee, so that the cream remains floating on top.
  • Don’t stir! Serve the drink immediately so that everyone can enjoy the sensation of sipping the hot, sweet bite of the spiked coffee through the layer of cool, fluffy cream.
Irish Coffee

Irish Coffee | Photo by Allrecipes

Related: 10 St. Patrick’s Day Cocktails Paired With Irish Toasts & Sage Sayings

And if that’s not enough, we asked special guest and real-life Irish person Vicky McDonald of — born and raised in Bunclody, Co. Wexford — for the scoop on what you’d see if you spent March 17 on the Emerald Isle. Here’s what she had to say:

On St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland we don’t eat corned beef and cabbage, or drink shamrock shakes or any other lurid green colored food. We just eat regular Irish food like it’s a normal day. We just might drink a little extra! Here is the type of Irish food you might find us eating on Paddies Day (definitely not called St. Patties Day).

The Fry Up

Full Irish Breakfast

Full irish breakfast” by Gus-DLCOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The fried Irish breakfast will set you up for the whole day. The fry includes a few rashers, a fried egg, fried potatoes, black puddings, some sausages, fried mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, stacks of toast, and a huge pot of tea. Coffee has no place at the table with an Irish fry.


We love buttery scones. Home-made scones are available in every small corner shop, grocery store, gas station etc. You need to be careful buying scones in gas stations, as they may be ‘yesterday’s scones,’ in which case they will be hard as the hobs of hell.

Brown Bread

Home-made brown soda bread is a staple in Ireland. It’s made with whole-wheat flour, buttermilk and bread soda. It’s traditionally made into a round loaf with a cross etched in the center to keep the fairies out.

Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread | Photo by Meredith

Roast Dinner

A traditional Sunday roast dinner is very popular in Ireland. The roast meat is served with roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, sometimes boiled potatoes, peas, carrots, and lashings of gravy. Nothing will taste as good as your Mammy’s roast dinner, especially those crispy roast potatoes.

Sunday Roast

Sunday Roast | Photo by Meredith

Apple Tart

In the US, there is apple pie, but in Ireland we have apple tart. These rustic tarts are often baked on a plate, and made with home-made pastry and local apples. No matter where you go in Ireland, someone will always have rustled up a home-made apple tart.

Crisp Sandwich

Crisp Sandwich

Photo by Vicky McDonald


St. Patrick’s Day can be a day of heavy drinking, and the crisp sandwich is a well-known hangover cure. It’s essentially some Irish potato chips sandwiched between two slices of buttered white bread.

Flat 7Up

If you’ve had bellyful of the demon drink, it may be time to reach for the sacred cure prescribed by every Irish Mammy – the flat 7Up. It’s widely believed that the flat 7Up can cure almost anything.

So, if you don’t want to make a holy show of yourself this St. Patrick’s Day, put down the shamrock shake, and give one of these real Irish recipes a try.

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