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When it comes to regional Irish cuisine, it is really hard to beat some good ol’ fashioned hearty pub grub. When the mists roll in across the Emerald Isle, there are few things better to do than hunker inside a dark wood pub and knock back a pint of Guinness and some hearty comfort food.
While there is never anything wrong with a massive beef stew or a bone-sticking plate of bangers and mash, my personal preference for inside-warming pub grub is a steaming cup of seafood chowder, served with a side of Earthy brown bread. Excessively thick and stocked with all the bounty of the North Atlantic, there’s nothing like swilling back a combo of creamy mussels, squid, clam, and cod with a foamy pint of the dark stuff.
Here’s a look at 5 Irish chowder location, ranked by salty, hearty goodness.
1. Connemara Bread Basket, Letterfrack, County Galway
If you are ever within a 100 mile radius of anywhere in Connemara, a stop at this local café is an absolute must. Run by two longtime chefs, every item is made fresh daily and various cookbooks and fine photography line the walls above the crackling fire. Oh, and the chowder tastes like you’re literally eating the entire North Atlantic. Seriously, there are crustaceans virtually jumping from the sea into the bowl.
2. Merry Ploughboy Pub, Dublin, County Dublin
An exceptional “old man” pub (traditional) located in the hills just outside of Dublin city center, the chowder at the Ploughboy is always thick and the craic is always strong. Stay for a few pints and have a listen to the Ploughboys themselves, pumping out traditional Irish music until the Guinness lines run dry.
3. Guy’s Pub, Clifden, County Galway
Served piping hot, this chowder is the perfect remedy for the wintry west coast atmosphere that consumes this colorful and secluded little town. A fairly healthy portion and accompanied by some properly chunky brown bread, it is still possible to get hints of the nearby seaside laced throughout the bowl.
4. Cozy Joe’s Pub, Westport, County Mayo
A classic corner pub in this clapboard northwestern town, the stew and mash trump the chowder and leave me longing for the bounty of Letterfrack. Still chock full of mussels and cod, the consistency is somewhat bland and the accompanying bread makes a better sponge than a cracker. Try the bangers and mash though, as they’ll leave you in a food coma.
5. Glendalough Hotel, Wicklow Mountains National Park, County Wicklow
Though the warm hospitality and respite from the freezing mists is much appreciated, while still good, it lacks the thick consistency and aquatic bounty found in some of the more hole-in-the-wall establishments.