Around 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with celiac disease which changed my life forever. Basically, this means that I don’t have the ability to eat any form of gluten (wheat, barley rye). Whenever I travel, I always do some research as to what I can expect! I was completely blown away by all of the options when I first walked into a grocery store in Limerick at the sheer amount of options. So, to help you prepare for the gluten free life in Ireland, here are some tips and tricks!
- While Dunnes and Tesco definitely do have the most options, Aldi or Lidl are significantly cheaper and also have good gluten free options albeit less. I usually get my bread, veggies, meat, and other snacks from Lidl but you can also go to Aldi. This being said, if you want specialty items like gluten free soy sauce, your best bet is Dunnes or Tesco. I would recommend avoiding Dunnes or Tesco for your weekly grocery shop because it can get really expensive (I learned this the hard way 😅).
- For treats like apple pie or cake, Tesco definitely is the way to go. Tesco has these seriously incredible mini Bramley Apple Pies. No joke, I could probably live off of these mini pies quite happily. Tesco is pretty unique in that they have a massive (and I’m talking a full aisle) “Free From Gluten, Wheat, and Milk” section. So you can also find curry mixes, soups (Cully & Sully is my fave), gluten-free ramen noodles, and other gluten free alternatives in this aisle.
For cake – like red velvet or lemon pound cake because I believe it is important to treat yo’ self – I would hit up the Milk Market on Saturday mornings. They also have gluten free muffins, cupcakes, and regular loaves of bread that are super dense but delicious.
- For bread, my favourite loaf is definitely either the white bread or brown bread that Kelkin makes. It’s also great because it looks like a normal loaf of bread rather than the tiny slices that I normally find in Canada. Typically, I freeze it because I don’t eat bread daily anyways and then I just heat it up on the stove or in the oven rather than using the same toaster that my gluten-eating flatmates use. Of course, if you don’t mind the cross-contamination, you can totally use the toaster.
- As for eating on campus and in Limerick, I have never had any issues in finding gluten free alternatives. Stables always has a couple of options for celiacs like this really good beef curry and rice dish the other day. The River Café is good if you want a salad with chicken on it. Scholars sometimes has a cheap soup that you can get with a slice of gluten free bread – I got a bowl of vegetable soup once and it was delicious. The Paddock Restaurant also has gluten free options – I’ve gotten a piece of chicken, veggies, and rice from them before and had no issues. While these are only four of the many restaurants on campus, you’ll always have somewhere you can eat! In Limerick, most restaurants can accommodate gluten free diets. I just recommend looking at the menu beforehand or calling them to ensure that they have options.
- As for eating in other cities in Ireland, I have never had any issues. If you want a delicious gluten free waffle, Herbstreet in Dublin is a stellar brunch place. If you want an amazing gluten free crepe, Lemon Café in Dublin is the way to go (there’s also a place in Limerick at the Milk Market that also does amazing gluten free crepes!). Porterhouse and Woollen Mills are two other pubs/restaurants in Dublin that also have options. In Galway, Maxwell’s Bistro has a designated gluten free menu! I also managed to find gluten free waffle cones in Galway which I can never find in Canada so that was definitely one of the happiest days and I promise you will not starve in Ireland!