Thursday, 28 March 2013

Connemara, Ireland.

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 weren't sure if we'd be able to stock up on vegan treats and staples near where we were staying so we did a bit of shopping in Dublin just in case. We'd also packed some Vegusto cheese and sausages that we bought at Brighton Veg Fest.

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!


  1. I LOOOOVVEEE potato farls. And I always bring a billion packs to my Irish friend when I visit her.

  2. That looks like a wonderful vacation! Super relaxing and beautiful views.

  3. Looks like a fabulous trip! I'm amazed by Fry's being stocked!!

  4. I get Rankin potato farls from Sainsburys, am loving them with cream cheese and tomato at the moment, but you can't go wrong with melted marg.

  5. Looks like you had a lovely time!
    It's so lovely to cuddle up by a log fire!

  6. so beautiful! and I love seeing all your awesome vegan finds! Don't you just love that? Plus, it's so fun to find special surprise treats when you're traveling. I can't wait for the next installment!

  7. The plate of biscuits is slaying me. That and the fact that you're in Ireland, where I wanted to go only since forever! Awesomeness, times a million.

  8. Reading your blog made me hungry! I really enjoyed your writing and pictures, I have to say that the cottage looked fabulous!

  9. What a gorgeous setting! I would love to travel to Ireland one day, staying in a cottage sounds like a perfect way to experience it. I've never heard of potato farls before, they sound like my sort of thing though.

  10. You guys are so cute! Ok, now that that is out of my system, all the issues with the place aside, where you stayed is beautiful. Ireland is near the top of my travel list, I really hope I make it there one day...and eat lots of biscuits...can't forget about those biscuits.

  11. Hang on, did I just see vegan croissant dough in a can??


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