Gallagher’s Boxty HousePosted: 08/19/2013
After a nightmarish trip, we finally arrived at our hostel in Dublin about 24 hours after our departure from Paris. I won’t bore you with all the details of why this voyage was the lowest point of our entire Europe experience, but it involved, among other things, a missed ferry that was completely the fault of the company that had sold us our ticket package, as well as landing at a different port than the one we’d planned on. Despite all this, our hostel in Dublin, Abigail’s Hostel, was quite lovely. The staff members were accommodating and the room was clean and had an ensuite bathroom. The three of us had booked a private room for three a couple months in advance, and ended up sharing a room for six, so we also had some extra room, which was great. The complimentary breakfasts were decent and included hard-boiled eggs, toast, cereal, and yogurt, among other things. And everyone needs a hearty breakfast before they go out sightseeing, right?
I really enjoyed my four days in Dublin. It was a nice change of pace from Paris, as all of the tourist attractions we wanted to see were within easy walking distance from our hostel. While the transportation system in Paris is efficient and convenient, just the general heat and crowded nature of it (especially in July, when it’s crammed with tourists) was a bit irritating. In Dublin, we mostly just strolled around, and there were helpful markers all over the city to help you find the more popular tourist spots. On our first morning in Dublin, we briefly stopped by Dublin Castle on our way to what is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in the city…
…the Guinness storehouse! I’m not much of a beer person, but I’d definitely recommend the experience. The building is a multi-floor, air-conditioned monument to Guinness, with the top floor being a sort of bar where you have a fantastic view of the whole city. Included in the price of your ticket is a complimentary pint of Guinness, which you have the option to pour yourself with the guidance of a helpful staff member. There was also an extensive gift shop, which is the perfect place to buy souvenirs for boyfriends, brothers, and dads (always the most difficult family member to buy gifts for, at least in my family). Although it was quite a bit of a walk from our hostel, we had a really great time learning more about Guinness.
We spent our afternoon lounging around, checking out some local shops, and sitting by the Liffey. We also wandered Temple Bar, where there were many stalls set up in a sort of street market. There were lots of pretty, hand-made knickknacks to buy and street musicians playing a wide range of instruments. And, of course, true to the Irish spirit, there were so many pubs and bars, their customers spilling out onto the street with pints of Guinness clutched in their fists. It was a little bit early for us to indulge in a drink, so we headed off for dinner instead.
During my stay in Dublin, I’d found out that Urbanspoon, while being every Vancouver food blogger’s holy grail, is not as well-established in Europe as it is in North America. In any case, I still trusted Urbanspoon to find our dinner spot: Gallagher’s Boxty House. The ambiance comfortingly reminded me of a restaurant in Vancouver, specifically Gastown, and the adorable slogan on their napkins made me smile. I (like most other people) love potatoes, and I was excited to try out a traditional Irish potato pancake in a clean, modern atmosphere. The menu is quite extensive and has several vegetarian options, and there were many different variants on boxty as well.
I’d been longing for something spicy and hearty for a while, so it didn’t take me long to decide on the Boxty House Chilli (€15.90), vegetarian chilli served with grated red Irish cheddar, chive sour cream, and a stack of coriander and paprika mini boxty pancakes. The chilli itself was hearty, had a spicy kick, and was chock full of ingredients, including beans, peppers, and tomatoes. It was a delicious and very filling vegetarian option. As for the sides, I didn’t really use the cheddar, which simply reminded me of nacho cheese. I liked how the sour cream tasted light and refreshing, with the chives adding texture as well as some flavour. As for the pancakes, they were slightly crisp just on the outer edges, and completely chewy on the inside. I wasn’t sure how to eat this, so I ended up kind of creating my own tacos, but the different components tasted fine on their own as well.
Pickles had the Chicken and Smoked Bacon Boxty (€16.90), featuring a more traditional Leitrim boxty pancake. She was surprised and also pleased with the amount of thick slices of chicken inside the boxty. Like me, she found her boxty to be crisp on the outer edges, while being chewy on the inside. She commented that most of all, boxty reminded her of pannekoek, a Dutch pancake which you can easily find in Vancouver at De Dutch, a popular chain restaurant. Like me, Pickles was well-satisfied with her meal, and we both found it interesting to see two different interpretations of boxty.
Lastly, Dolph opted for the Seafood and Boxty Potato Dumplings (€18.90), with fresh salmon, wild smoked coley (usually called pollock in North America), and Dublin Bay prawns in a red pepper and black olive sauce. At first, I thought that the portion size was quite small, especially for the price, but it ended up being very filling. The dumplings were reminiscent of gnocchi, being soft and chewy, with potato on the inside. The sauce was your typical tomato sauce and tasted like marinara. The dish as a whole was simple but tasty.
Overall, the three of us were quite satisfied with our day of sightseeing in Dublin, as well as our dinner at Gallagher’s Boxty House. It was interesting seeing a reinterpretation of traditional Irish fare, as Irish cuisine isn’t something that I’m too knowledgeable about. If you’re ever in Dublin, be sure to drop by Gallagher’s, and maybe stick around Temple Bar afterwards for that traditional Irish pub experience.
Gallagher’s Boxty House
20 Temple Bar