Dublin (photo courtesy of Lyra at Ces't La Vie Events)
Please welcome guest blogger Christine Carty. An Irish girl in her late twenties, Christine was diagnosed with celiac disease at the age of 24. She currently lives in Dublin. She loves to play Gaelic Football (Ireland's national sport), travel and discover new and fun places to eat gluten-free.
Many visitors come to Ireland with that dreamy look in their eye. Whether it’s to research their ancestors or to sample the local black stuff, Ireland has something for everyone. As a native of the midlands of Ireland, I grew up on a diet of potatoes, cabbage, boiled ham and my mum’s homemade brown bread. My mum is the ultimate “Irish Mammy” and I’m glad for all the years I've enjoyed fabulous traditional Irish food.
Being Gluten-Free In Ireland
I was 24 and had just finished college when I discovered I had celiac disease. Some years on I’m realizing that it’s so easy to be gluten-free in Dublin. In Ireland celiac disease has become increasingly prevalent in the past five to ten years. In fact, it’s got to the point where it’s common to be either intolerant to wheat or to have full blown celiac disease. The Irish celiac community is also a great knowledge base of what’s going on in Ireland, and good reviews and reports spread like wildfire. I would sincerely recommend logging onto the forums prior to your visit in order to set your mind at ease. So without further ado, here’s some tourist info and the gluten free scoop on my city.
Celiac Disease Information
A wealth of information is available on the Irish coeliac website listed below. Although it is €25 a year to join the society, you can use the web forums free of charge once you register with a username and password. Irish people are known for the gift of the gab, and Irish celiacs are the most friendly bunch you’ll ever meet. We all actively share our experiences with each other so you can bet you’ll find almost anything you need here.
If you wish to get in contact with the Coeliac Society of Ireland, the details are as follows:
Coeliac Society of Ireland
4 North Brunswick Street,
Tel: +353 (1) 8721471
Of course there are many restaurants around Dublin that are coeliac friendly. The following webpage lists other potential restaurants that we have not discussed here that have listed themselves as having food adaptable for those with gluten-free needs. Please do note, however, that although these restaurants are completely knowledgeable, the celiac society in Ireland does not personally vet restaurants.
Tourist Top Ten things to do in Dublin
2) Take the DART suburban rail to Howth and Dun Laoghaire for breathtaking seaside views
3) Go to a Traditional Irish Music Session in many of the local pubs
5) Visit Croke Park or Parnell Park to see the traditional Irish sports of Gaelic Football and Hurling, or even dare to go to a local club game
6) Sample some of the delicious locally produced foods at one of the farmers markets
7) Take a stroll through the many parks of Dublin such as St Stephens Green, Merrion Square or the Iveagh Gardens
8) Visit the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery to find out about our most famous alcoholic tipples
9) Take a Bus Tour and learn about Dublins colourful history as well as visiting some of our historic buildings such as Kilmainham Gaol
10) Take a day trip to the nearby attractions of Glendalough and Newgrange
Open: 5pm-10.30pm 7 days
Address: 208 Lower Rathmines Road, Rathmines, Dublin 6
Tel: +353 (1) 4968096
Open: 5pm-11pm 7 days
My star recommendation for any visitor to Dublin is definitely Prego’s and Manifesto. They are two sister restaurants, Prego’s being the longest established. Unfortunately for the average Dubliner, let alone a humble tourist to Dublin, Prego’s is slightly out of the way in Lucan, a suburb of Dublin. So imagine the excitement when Prego’s opened a sister restaurant in Rathmines called Manifesto, a short stroll from the city centre. Gluten-free diners all over have raved about this new addition because of its relaxed rustic style and beautiful food. Manifesto has everything adaptable to gluten-free, from ravioli to pizza, to tiramisu. I have to say, I’ve only been once since it has opened in the past few months, but it will be my first of many visits.
For my first experience, I had tiger prawns served with sliced avocado and orange pieces in an orange martini sauce. The tiger prawns had the perfect amount of bite, and my whole mouth lit up with excitement when the sauce hit my tongue. For main course, I was torn; I really wanted some pizza, but the thoughts of a pasta dish was just too compelling. So I chose gnocchi with mushrooms and Italian sausage. The dumplings are quite heavy, but they are contrasted with the mushrooms and sausage, teamed together with a light mushroom sauce. Just enough was on the plate, a few bites more and I may have been struggling.
With the excuse of a dessert menu I could actually eat from, I couldn’t resist. My mouth was watering as I read down through the options I moved on swiftly to the Tiramisu for dessert. From that first taste to the last, I enjoyed every last bit. I considered licking the glass, but figured that might be a step too far. I walked out with that “yummy in my tummy” feeling, but not feeling like I’d had too much food. It all sat very well.
H< strong>ell Pizza
Open: Mon-Wed: Noon-10:30pm, Thus-Sat: Noon-11pm & Sun: Noon-10pm
Hell Pizza’s first outlet in Ireland has opened on Wexford St in Dublin. This worldwide chain of Pizzeria’s, originally from New Zealand, has plans to expand in the Irish market in the next few years. This wouldn’t really be of great excitement to most gluten-free diners except for one thing – gluten free pizza – the holy grail of gluten-free comforting fast food.
Words cannot describe the excitement of Irish celiacs who found that they could now get a pizza delivered to their doorstep and also walk into the pizzeria and order…wait for it.. a gluten free pizza!! The staff here are knowledgeable and helpful and have a great understanding of gluten-free food. It has become a regular haunt for me, and living just down the road means I can sit in and have a pizza delivered to my door. As for the pizza, they have two savoury menus- their 7 deadly sins menu (my personal favourite is The Envy) or you can have a "gourmet" pizza for those of you trying to be a bit more adventurous. Better still, if you’re in need of something to fix that sweet tooth, there’s even a dessert pizza menu (I kid you not!)
Address: 39 Dame Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (0)1 679-9931
Open: Mon-Wed:Noon-10:30pm, Thus-Sat: Noon-11pm & Sun: Noon-10pm
Based on Dame Street in the heart of Dublin, you will not be spoiled for choice in this cozy restaurant. We sat by the fire on our first dining experience here and it was cozy and warm on an otherwise bitter Irish winter night. Although the tables are quite close together its not intrusive and I would recommend asking to be seated away from the guitar player. On stating you are a celiac, you are presented with a celiac friendly menu. The specific celiac friendly menu is full of choice, from starters and pizza, to steak and seafood. If you are looking for a place to eat an experimental pizza, then this is your place to eat as their signature pizzas vary from containing curry to fajita.
Tel: +353 (1) 4005750
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
Bobo’s is a small burger kitchen based on the corner of Wexford Street. Its burgers are all certified organic and are also gluten-free. The décor looks like a cow fell over in the place – as in there is cow patterned high stools and sofas, but it really suits the place. I always get a happy vibe when I walk in here. Space is at a premium as it’s a narrow room, dominated by the counter where the burgers are made in front of you. There is a wide variety of choice of burgers and there is usually a special of the week. They will also let you take away your food, which helps as this is a popular place for students and twenty somethings to hang out. Unfortunately you cannot yet have a burger in a gluten-free bun here, but the burger will be served to you wrapped in lettuce, which is just as funky looking and doesn’t take away from the mountains of food inside your green parcel.
Tel: +353 (1)1 4913731
Open: Mon-Sat 12-11pm, Sun 12-10pm
Jo Burger is based in Rathmines, which is just a short stroll from the city centre. Its décor is like the inside of an old skool living room. The menus are presented in old comic book covers and a DJ spins tunes most nights of the week. This place is extremely popular and packed out most nights of the week, even on a slow Monday! The food does not fail to disappoint. Sadly, there is no gluten-free burger buns in sight, but you can get it served on a plate with all the toppings. JoBurgers signature relish is also gluten-free as no thickening agents or flour is used. The sad news for veg heads though, is that the veggie burgers contain bread crumbs and therefore, are not suitable for celiacs.
Open: Mon-Sat: 12.30-11.00pm Sun 2-10pm
Café Bar Deli is a chain of informal eateries that have a pizza/pasta/salads menu. They have a restaurant in Cork and Limerick as well as a few dotted around Dublin. There is a strict first come first served basis here, so it’s not possible to book. Café Bar Deli has a great relaxed feel and offers all its pasta dishes with gluten-free pasta. My personal favourite is the creamy pasta dishes as they taste like real comfort food, and although delicious, its almost always a struggle to get to the end. The gluten-free pasta is done to perfection, so much so that some non celiac friends even prefer it to its wheat laden counterpart.
Address: 5-6 Cecilia Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353 (1) 679 2723
Open: Mon-Sat 12pm-til late & Sun 1pm-9pm Lunch: Mon-Sun 12-5pm
Luigi Malones is based in Temple Bar in Dublin but also has a restaurant in Cork and Limerick. Although a menu that typically would scare any celiac, the staff are wonderful at helping you adapt your food to gluten free. In fact I have been informed by the kind staff that 4 starters, 7 mains and 2 desserts are suitable for us non gluten people. I’ve eaten here many times and have always had a great meal, in particular when starting a night out in Temple Bar. The portions are very generous and you will roll out of here but satisfied and with a belly full of delicious food.
Open: 7pm –late, 7 days
Saba’s food is Thai and Vietnamese fusion. The décor has almost a bar feel to it as it’s dark and almost describable as seductive and sophisticated. Its popularity is sealed through the fact that its open windows always depict a busy restaurant with happy customers. It also has one of the most extensive cocktail menus around, so if you’re early for your booking, seriously consider a pre dinner tipple. If you’re gluten-free it’s very easy to eat here, as your menu tells you your celiac friendly options. The curries are to die for and the portions are very generous. Sabas business has expanded by now offering its food to take away. It has a ded
icated take out service based in Rathmines (www.sabatogo.com) but you can also order from the restaurant. On a few occasions of dry and pleasant Irish weather, my best mates and I have been known to take our take out to Stephens Green for a picnic, as it’s only a short stroll away.
Address: 71-72 South Great Georges Street
Tel: 01 475 5001
Open: 12.30pm – 11pm, 7 days
One of the few Japanese restaurants in Dublin that has a variety of gluten-free dishes, I’ve found myself coming back to this place to eat with my friend who is extremely fond of sushi. Decorated simply with wooden benches and with a Japanese theme, you can eat as fast or as slowly as you like. If you tell your waiter, they will substitute all soy sauce with Tamari gluten-free soy sauce, and you will also be presented with an information leaflet on your dietary options such as gluten-free options, vegetarian and dairy-free. There are also sushi and sashimi available. As a creature of habit I always end up having the Cha Han, which is rice with vegetables, seafood and chicken tossed in Tamari, and I can never finish the plate of food. Although always busy, you can generally always get a table for two.
So that's a taster of some of our wonderful restaurants in Dublin!! In Part Two we will explore some quirkier things to do in Dublin as well as the humble chip… and if you're lucky… we might even tell you some places to stay.