Living in Ireland: Grocery Shopping

I don’t want to brag (or do I?), but I feel like quite the pro when it comes to procuring groceries for our family sans automobile.

(If you’re new here: We moved to Ireland from the USA. We haven’t tried driving here – yet. Public transportation and walking for the win!)

Grocery shopping without a vehicle requires a bit of planning. For instance, I don’t want to purchase all the heavy stuff in one trip because I have to carry it home in a backpack or reusable shopping bag.

More or less, I’m purchasing what we will consume that day or the next. No bulk shopping here. A jumbo pack of toilet paper is AWESOME – except when you have to haul it a mile down the street. It becomes awkward. On so many levels.

Today I want to take you on a virtual shopping trip of my local grocery store. By and large, the store’s presentation is similar to what you’d see at your local Safeway, Kroger or Walmart.

The differences are in the details.

For instance, this section of the meat case is devoted entirely to lamb. I’d say lamb meat is much more prevalent in Ireland than in the United States. They must not sing Mary Had a Little Lamb as kids.

(The dollar and the euro are getting close to 1:1, if that helps you decide what the prices mean. )


The Irish also LOVE their pork.

This is an entire section devoted to “rashers” or bacon. (There’s another 10-foot section for other cuts of pork out of camera frame.)

These types of rashers are what I would equate to super thinly sliced boneless pork chops. They taste great, but they aren’t bacon. If you want American-style bacon you need to purchase streaky rashers. That will be closer, but they still don’t crisp up quite the same.

Then there’s a special sort of Irish meat: black and white pudding.

Calling it meat might be over-selling it.

Black pudding is a type of blood sausage. It’s made with pork blood, fat and oatmeal. There might be a few other ingredients in there, but I think we can stop with blood.

I had the pleasure of eating black pudding at Christmas dinner and I actually enjoyed it. It was prepared in such a way that it was a little crispy and quite flavorful – not at all off-putting. I’m not sure I’d go out-of-my-way to order it at a restaurant though.

White pudding is pretty much the same as black pudding, but without the blood. Oh, yay.


Let’s move on to the condiment aisle.

Need some salad dressing? How about salad cream?

I just haven’t been able to bring myself to try it yet…should I?

I’ve been making this easy berry balsamic recipe at home instead.


Interestingly enough, ranch-flavored salad dressing is not a thing in Ireland. There are garlic and herb dressings, but if you’ve grown up with American-style ranch dressing you will know it’s not the same. The ONE brand of ranch dressing I’ve found here comes from the USA and it is Newman’s Own brand.

Moving on to soups, I haven’t tried this doozy.

Oxtail soup.

But it was on sale!

I should have gone for it.


Bread is pretty inexpensive in Ireland.

I’m not sure why that is, other than bakeries are very common. The Irish seem to prefer bread and pastries over crackers for snacks. Crackers aren’t that prevalent. This has been hard for my kids to get used to. I think my son survived on crackers and grapes for an entire year once…or so it seemed. Those toddler years are a bit of a blur.

Barmbrack is a sort of sweet bread – usually with raisins and sultanas inside.

I think I’ve mentioned waffles before on the blog. Waffles and pancakes are sold on-the-shelf. Much to my children’s dismay, they cannot get blueberry freezer waffles here. They can’t get any frozen waffles. Perhaps I should break down and purchase a waffle maker?

I’m sure it’s becoming apparent to you that my children have highly refined tastebuds.

I will leave you with one final picture.

It’s of another product that I cannot bring myself to try. At least not yet.

I think it’s something to do with the name.


Have you tried mushy peas? Did they make your tastebuds so happy you bought the value pack? Mushy peas are served a lot in restaurants in Ireland, so it’s quite the normal thing around these parts.

Well, this concludes today’s virtual shopping trip. Let me know what other things you are curious about in Ireland. I’d be happy to share more of life in this great country with you through my expat lens.

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