After our whirlwind tour of Dublin we grabbed a rental car and headed west. We'd heard that County Galway was one of the best places to head towards if you wanted to see spectacular scenery so off we went. We rented a cottage (which was about twice the size of our house!) near Renvyle for a few days to do some relaxin' and explorin'.
There were a few issues with the rental cottage all stemming from the fact that there was no information pack telling you how everything worked. If we'd known that the stove only lit with a match (and that only three out of eight burners worked) and that the water would come out a strange yellow colour due to the water in the area being coloured by local peat bogs we'd have saved ourselves a few hours of googling things, driving to the shops for matches and water and the first few hours would have been much more relaxing!
All of these issues were thankfully made up for by the beautiful views and proximity to the beach.
We needn't have worried about not being able to find exciting vegan food though because a 15 minute drive away from the cottage was the Letterfrack Country Shop.
This place was chock full of awesome stuff from shelf stable sauces, pestos and polenta to Granovita sausage mix, Tartex spread and all manner of nuts, seeds and grains.
They also had an impressive range of refrigerated Alpro milks, yoghurts and desserts alongside hummus and juices.
I think I was most surprised and impressed by this stash of Fry's products in the freezer. In the UK a small store like this would pretty much exclusively carry Quorn, maaaaybe Linda McCartney, but this shop has chosen to make most of their vegetarian products vegan inclusive. Yay!
So, if you're headed over to Connemara I would strongly suggest that you skip shopping in Dublin, save yourself some cash and stock up here instead. The only thing I don't remember spotting was vegan margarine so maybe grab that from Down to Earth in Dublin.
Whilst we were driving around to buy the aforementioned matches and water we popped into Lidl and discovered these potato farls. A little googling told me that a potato farl is a type of bread made with potato flakes. The potato content varies from recipe to recipe and these were around 70% potato and 100% delicious! We served one with beans and the other toasted with just margarine.
I preferred the straight up margarine one as it let the flavour of the farl shine through. I'm going to be keeping my eyes peeled for these in shops near me.
After all of our trips into various stores we'd amassed quite an impressive collection of biscuits. There were Bourbon's, Oreo's, Orange Creams and Fruit Shortcakes. I love biscuits! I hadn't had a Fruit Shortcake in years and I'd forgotten how much I liked them.
I also like stout and I was pleased to be able to pick up a few bottles of O'Hara's vegan stout in the Letterfrack Country Shop. Bottled stout isn't as good as on tap but it's infinitely better than no stout at all.
We spent our days walking up hills in the wind and rain...
...and our evenings curled up in front of the fire (do yourself a favour and buy a fire log from the store, making a fire from scratch is a pain), reading books, and watching movies. It was perfect.
After our sojourn in the countryside we headed to Galway which surprised us with its vegan friendliness, more about that next time!