Irish summer food


A day without sunshine is like, you know, night.Steve Martin

For the better part of the three-and-a-half years I’ve been here in Ireland, it’s been night. The previous two summers have been, at best, a mix of muggy mist, fluorescent-white clouds and a few fleeting rays of sunshine. During that first year in Drogheda I had a total of one al fresco meal, which was cut short by a sudden downpour. When I went home last year and visited my hairdresser, his first reaction was, “Your hair is SO dark!” I hadn’t coloured it, it was darker simply from a lack of sunshine…a bit like my soul!


This summer has been a completely different experience all together. We’ve had long stretches of sunny days and – quell surprise – warm nights. I can’t remember ever being able to step outside after 8 PM in just a t-shirt here, but in the last several weeks I’ve donned short sleeves outdoors in the evening more than a few times. Mountaineering Man and I have been sleeping on top of the duvet for the last month or so, and we’re both sporting tans – REAL tans (not that either of us would ever get fake tan, sorry but I haven’t bought into that Irish obsession nor will I ever!).

We’ve even gotten out for a couple of picnics and barefoot walks on the beach, which I realise for my friends in LA is typical summer behaviour but for us is a real treat. That said we’re also experiencing the downside of having warm weather in a country that is not at all prepared for it; neither of our cars has air conditioning (it’s not a standard feature here). The other day I experienced that brain-melting, so-hot-you-can-almost-see-the-heatwaves moment after getting into my car, which had been parked out in the sun all day. I couldn’t open my windows fast enough.


There’s been a lot of Los Angeles talk lately, mainly between myself and Mountaineering Man. We’re planning a trip for the autumn to visit my family and friends (for him it’ll be the big introduction!) and though it’s only mid-summer I’m guessing October will be here before we know it. Needless to say, the excitement is building.

Last week we had a little taste of LA here in Ireland, thanks to one of Southern California’s most revered bands: Weezer. Back in the ‘90s when I was a music journalist, I was lucky enough to interview the band a few times for various publications. And by sheer coincidence, my brother-in-law (a musician himself) is good friends with Weezer’s bassist, Scott Shriner and I know his wife (writer/author Jillian Lauren). Between all the connections, I’ve gotten to know the guys a little bit over the years.


The band arrived in town the night before their Friday Oxegen set, and Scott had one request: really good fish ‘n chips. He mentioned that on a prior trip to Dublin he’d had a big, greasy version at a takeaway, but that it left him with lasting stomach pains (oh the day-after regret – we’ve all been there!). So we took Scott and guitarist Brian Bell to our favorite place for great, locally-sourced gastro pub eats – L Mulligan Grocer. The guys all ordered the same thing: a starter of L Mulligan’s famous Scotch egg, plus the fish ‘n chips (which is MM’s standard order every time we go there!). I went with their vegetarian Scotch egg and the moules frites, both excellent. They absolutely loved it, declaring it the best meal they’d had in the UK/Ireland in years. It really warmed my heart that they loved L Mulligans – one of our frequent haunts – as much as we do. Scott even Tweeted a picture of his meal, perhaps he’s a food blogger in the making?? 🙂