Lost in Ireland

Irish food. Six day Ireland southwest, Seven day Norther and West Ireland. Fully escorted luxury Ireland trip

From Potato chips to crisps to an Irish Famine trail. A sample of what to expect on your six or seven day Ireland tour

Irish vs American food and other terms!

Irish food in Ireland

Cookies are Biscuits as Candy is Sweets and Soda is ‘Minerals’ – and we even have red lemonade in Ireland. Chips are to crisps (and we were the first to flavour them) as french fries are to chips. In your hotel, our ground floor is your first floor (to which you might take the ‘lift’ instead of the elevator’). Instead of putting on a Bonnet, in Ireland we raise it – we keep Hoods for our jackets. After after you pop the bonnet, you might need to go the Boot of your car for some tools, rather than the Trunk, which we confined to Dublin Zoo – one of the oldest in the world, which is located in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed park in Europe.

Prices in Ireland

How much does an trip to Ireland cost

“The price you see is the price you pay” – Okay, maybe not quite a translation, but unlike North America, the price displayed in Ireland is what you pay. Be it in hotels, restaurants, bars or shops, when you get your Bill (check) or when you’re costing your Ireland vacation, all taxes are included in the cost presented. This makes it far easier (we think) to budget your spend for your Ireland trip.

The Fightin’ Irish?

The fighting Irish, six or seven day tours of Ireland

“I’ll do the….” – This is one us Irish find unusual when dining out with North Americans. It conjures up images of the fightin Irish, as in – “I’ll do him, hold me coat/back”. Either that, or if you’re helping someone cook, we might say – “I’ll do the spuds” – translation – “I’ll peel and cook the potatoes”.
Now…Potatoes, or spuds (prátaí (praw-tea) in Irish) – there’s a story in itself. So let’s meander off the path and into the potato field for a few moments..

How did the Potato get to Ireland?

Ireland guided and escorted tour story of the Irish famine

It’s said that it was introduced by Sir Walter Raleigh, in the mid 1580s. However, others reckon it came to us from Peru via Spain. Cheap and nutritious, it was easy to grow in the damp poor soil of the west of Ireland. A 19th century English writer commented on the size and strength of Irishmen when compared to their English counterparts. It is said the average Irish male consumed up to 14lbs of potatoes per day back then. When the potato blight struck in 1845 and again the following year it thus removed the main food source for many Irish. But it wasn’t just starvation that caused the 1 million deaths- most died from malnutrition related diseases, such as typhus, dysentery, fever and diarrhoea.

The Famine was all Britain’s fault, right?

While everyone reckons we Irish love to blame our neighbours for all our historical ills, one must take a serious look at the Irish Catholic class divide back then. Many middle class Catholics (e.g. traders) increased their wealth during the famine, profiting off the backs of their starving, dying brethren. A good indicator of this was the price of oatmeal – £2 per ton in 1845, £20 by the end of the following year! Also during the famine period a number of great Catholic cathedrals were being constructed around the country. As we were exporting food to England to the value of £15m at the time, some refuse to call it a famine. However, it’s often overlooked that food imports exceeded exports by a ratio of 2:1.

So why it was that, while the Netherlands and Belgium lost more of their crop to the blight compared to Ireland’s, those countries didn’t experience famine?

The Role of Politics

Perhaps what can be said is that, while the British Administration (and its refusal to interfere with ‘market forces’) may not have caused the famine – it certainly caused the deaths. A change of government in London didn’t help. Prime Minister Robert Peel, who had a fair understanding of Ireland, had ensured a supply of Indian corn from America. As there was no market for this in Britain, its distribution would not interfere with normal trade. Contemporary 19th century Irish newspaper, the Freeman’s Journal, wrote – “No man died of famine during his administration”.
However, once Peel lost power, all changed. Charles Trevelyan, of the Treasury – and basically the man who controlled the purse strings famously said – “famine had been ordained by God to teach the Irish a lesson, and therefore not be too much interfered with”. Trevelyan’s name rings out at every Ireland international Rugby or Soccer game – in ‘The Fields of Athenry’.

Relief and Aid come to Ireland

Irish famine history and scenery escorted fully guided Ireland tours

If you owned more than a quarter acre of land, you had to surrender the land to receive any relief. This proved to be a great land clearance tool for the landlords, who wanted to use new more efficient farming methods that the industrial revolution now offered. This in turn led to a further one million emigrating.
Overseas aid began to pour in for the starving Irish. The most remembered and respected donation here in Ireland, is that of the Choctaw Nation. Though of pitiful means themselves, they donated $170 – a princely sum to them. There is an especially poignant connection between the Choctaw ‘Trail of Tears’ and an 11 mile trudge inflicted on hundreds of starving Irish. Staggering through a March storm over the Connemara mountain pass of Doolough, many dropped dead on the road or were blown into the lake.

Experience more on your Ireland trip

Well, we certainly went off track with this story, and we didn’t really touch on emigration. Maybe we’ll keep it for another day. You can learn more while experiencing the beauty of the Irish countryside and the Wild Atlantic Way on our scheduled Six Day Southwest Ireland tour, Seven day Northern Ireland and Best of the West or your very own Private Tour of Ireland. And, don’t forget to take a peek at our shoulder-season discounts and cash back for Covid-19 frontline workers on our offers page.

If you want to do your own reading, there are many publications on this tranch of Irish history. One of our favourites, and the source for much of this blog’s research is ‘The Irish Famine’ by Colm Tóibín and Diarmuid Ferriter. It’s a nice slim tome as well! Tóibín is an award winning novelist and the film Brooklyn is based on his book by the same name. Ferriter is Professor of Modern Irish History at University College Dublin, author and broadcaster.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest to keep up to date with all things Anam Croí Ireland Tours

%d bloggers like this: