Adventures in Ireland – Galway and The Cliffs of Moher

GALWAY, IRELAND

Galway, Ireland is a medieval town situated on the scenic route of the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland.

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Galway is also known as “City of Tribes” because of the fourteen merchant families known as the  “tribes of Galway” dating back to the early 13th century. The most prominent family was the Lynch family. The Lynch castle is still standing today and is now used as a bank.

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This area of Galway is known as The Latin Quarter. Brightly colored shops, pubs, and restaurants line the cobblestone roads. We spent three days in Galway and really fell in love with this city.

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Music is such a huge part of the Irish culture it is not surprising that there are street entertainers everywhere.

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If you like to enjoy a pint or two, there are no shortages of pubs to choose from. We definitely enjoyed a few while we were there.

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In the heart of Galway is a popular park known as Eyre Square, also known as John F Kennedy Memorial Park. A great spot to sit and relax on a beautiful day. I know Ireland is known for raining a lot,  but other than our first day in Galway, we hardly had any rain at all in the two weeks we were there.

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After a lot of sightseeing, we were starting to get a little hungry so we decided to stop into the pub An Púcán. Ireland is well known for having an abundance of amazing, fresh seafood so we decided on the fresh oysters and calamari, along with a cold beer. In my opinion, fresh seafood and a cold beer is a match made in heaven. This is what vacation is all about!

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We enjoyed our visit to An Púcán so much we decided to return the following evening. They had an amazing band playing live music and we had so much “craic” (the Irish word for “fun”).

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Half Mile Down

 

The Cliffs of Moher

We were sad to leave Galway but excited to finally get to see the Cliffs of Moher. We got to cross off a few things on our bucket list on this trip. The Cliffs of Moher is an absolute “must see”. The day we went was an extremely windy day, in fact, it was so windy that it was actually closed due to power outages in the area, and we were told to go “at your own risk”. Well, we had gone all the way out there, we couldn’t just turn around without seeing this majestic landscape. The wind was absolutely insane! I have never experienced anything like that. It was so windy we were actually having great difficulty walking and at one point I almost fell over. We were just hanging onto each other for dear life! It wasn’t as scary as it sounds because there is a barrier going around the edge to prevent people from blowing off the cliffs. The sheer beauty of the cliffs, as well as that crazy wind,  is a memory I will have forever.

 

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Beef and Guinness Stew

 

Beef and Guinness Stew – A hearty stew slowly simmered for hours in a rich, deeply flavored broth until the beef is melt-in-your-mouth-tender. Guinness Stout Beer adds an incredible depth of flavor. 

 

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One of my all-time favorite meals is beef stew. It is so cozy and comforting, especially on a cold day. I never really make it the same way twice; sometimes I add red wine, sometimes I add Cognac. As St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, I thought it would be a great time to try Guinness Beer. Well, I have found my new favorite addition to beef stew!

Dark, malty, Guinness beer adds a deep, rich, complex flavor to a classic beef stew. Even if you are not a fan of beer, I think you will still really love this stew. I served this with  Colcannon

Beef and Guinness Stew

Recipe Source: A Vintage Kitchen

  • 2 1/2 lbs. chuck roast, cut into  1″ to 2 ” pieces
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced thinly
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 – 12oz. bottle Guinness beer
  • 3 cups beef stock
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 Tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
  •  sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 large carrots, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 3 stalks of celery, chopped into 1″ pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups potatoes, chopped into 1″ pieces (or other root vegetables such as; turnip, celery root, rutabaga, sweet potato)
  • 1 large parsnip, chopped into 1″ pieces

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cut the beef into 1″ to 2″ pieces. Pat dry the beef with a paper towel, and season well with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot, heat a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef in small batches and brown well on all sides. Remove beef from the pot and set aside. Lower the heat if the beef is browning too quickly.
  3. Reduce the heat and add the onions and cook until the onions are starting to caramelize, about 10 – 15 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and tomato paste and cook for a couple of minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook while stirring, for another couple of minutes.
  6. Whisk in the Guinness and stir and scrape the pot with a wooden spoon to lift off all of those yummy brown bits off the bottom of the pot.
  7. Add the seared beef, beef stock, Worcestershire, brown sugar, Balsamic vinegar, dry mustard, and herbs to the pot.
  8. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours.
  9. Add the remaining vegetables and simmer until the beef is very tender, about 30 to 45 minutes longer. Remove the bay leaves and thyme stems. Yields: about 8 servings

 

NOTE:  This stew freezes well, provided it is made without potatoes. Potatoes don’t generally freeze well, especially larger chunks of potatoes.

 

 


Buffalo Chicken Wontons with Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce

Crispy Buffalo Chicken Wontons with Cool Blue Cheese Dipping Sauce. YES, PLEASE!

 

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There is nothing better than spicy Buffalo chicken wings paired with tangy blue cheese! I guess I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Buffalo wings. I love the way they taste, but I can’t stand getting the sauce all over my hands and face. It drives me crazy! These crunchy little pockets have all that delicious flavor with a lot less mess.

Buffalo Chicken Wontons with Blue Cheese Dip

Blue Cheese Dip:

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Combine all in ingredients in food processor. Process for a few seconds, until blended but still chunky. Cover and let chill. ( Dip is best if refrigerated for a few hours before serving).

Buffalo Chicken Wontons:

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 12 oz. boneless, skinless, chicken thighs
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup buffalo wing sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • 1 pkg. square wonton wrappers
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten with a splash of water
  • vegetable oil for frying

Directions:

Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add butter to the pan. Coarsely chop chicken. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Saute chicken until completely cooked. Let cool. In a food processor, pulse cooked chicken, green onions, and buffalo sauce, until finely chopped. Remove from food processor and stir in mozzarella cheese. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a splash of water. On a clean counter, lay out a few wrappers. Brush edges of wrappers with egg wash. Scoop one rounded Tbsp. of filling onto each wrapper. Fold in half pressing out any air. Crimp shut. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to coat the bottom of the pan. When the oil is hot, pan-fry wontons until golden brown on each side. Drain on a paper towel-lined tray. Serve hot with Blue Cheese dip and a side of carrot and celery sticks.