What Does a Typical Lunch Look Like in Ireland?

Whenever I give walking tours of Dublin, one of the most common questions I get asked by people is; “where should we go for lunch?“. Eating like the locals is one of the best ways to get to know a new place.

Something simple, like a sandwich, is the typical meal for most Irish people during the week. Though this might be supplemented with soup or something similar, it will usually be light. At the weekend, a larger, hot meal is more common for lunch in Ireland.

In the last 10 years or so, the quality and variety of food available in Ireland has increased dramatically. So what we will talk about here will not be the same for everyone. Also, depending on where you are in Ireland, some people will not even eat lunch at all!

What does it look like?

Lunch In Ireland

The more traditional meal to have in the middle of the day in Ireland is actually dinner. This is still the case in much of Ireland, especially for people who do much of their work outside, like in the agricultural sector. The meal in the middle of the day will be bigger to better accommodate more physical work.

Lunch, the way its known in most other English-speaking countries, has only really become more popular in the last couple of generations. As Ireland’s economy has rapidly improved and more people have started to work in offices, there is less of a need for a bigger meal in the middle of the day.

If you want to know more, I have gone into detail about meal times in Ireland in this article, linked here.Opens in a new tab.

Still, there has always been a need for people to have a lighter meal in the middle of the day. There are plenty of great, traditional meals that Irish people always come back to for lunch.

This is a fancier version of what most people eat for lunch in Ireland

Most of these lunch meals are cold, so if you are looking for a “big feed” in the middle of the day, you might not find it on the lunch menu. Instead, you will typically find something like soup and a sandwich.

If you are really hungry though, don’t worry. With the recent “foodie revolution” that Ireland has undergone and the uptake of delivery apps like “JustEat” and “Deliveroo”, there are always going to be plenty of options available.

Cold Lunch

The more common and traditional form of lunch in Ireland will be a cold lunch. This will usually consist of sandwiches, often made with either pre-packaged meat or leftovers from the night before. The most popular sandwiches in Ireland are as follows:

  • Ham
  • Cheese
  • Tuna
  • Egg Mayo

This information is taken from a survey conducted by Deliveroo in 2017.Opens in a new tab.

Though these will usually be made with white bread, if you go to a restaurant, there will be other options for bread available. Butter and mayonnaise are the two most popular choices for condiments.

If you are ordering this in a pub or restaurant, there will often be an option for a cup of soup. Popular soup types in Ireland would be something like tomato or vegetable. So this might be a healthier option for diners during the winter months.

Another great option for a cold lunch is a salad. While these are not the most traditional meals in Ireland, they have become more popular in recent years and there are plenty of great places all over the country that serve fresh and health salad choices, with locally grown produce.

If you want something more affordable, most supermarkets and convenience stores will also have pre-packaged meals. These are in the form of boxed sandwiches or pre-made salads.

Cold Lunch Examples and Prices (For Dublin)

Food like this gets more popular all the time in Ireland

There are too many places to list here for you. Even if you go into a normal restaurant, there will likely be plenty of options for both warm and cold food, but I want to give you a little comparison of some of the best places to find a quicker, cold lunch in Dublin.

If you want more detailed information on places to eat in Dublin, my recommendations are linked here.Opens in a new tab.

Sandwich/ Salad Establishments in Dublin:

Please note, the prices below should only be used as a guide.

RestaurantType of FoodPrice RangeEat In/ Out
O’BriensSandwiches€5 – €15Either, depending on location.
ChoppedOpens in a new tab.Salad/ Fresh Food€8 – €12Either, depending on location.
Sprout & CoOpens in a new tab.Salad/ Fresh Food€9 – €15Eat Out/ Out
TangOpens in a new tab.Salad/ Fresh Food€7.50 – €15Eat In/ Out
The Joy of ChaOpens in a new tab.Sandwiches/ Hot Food€8 – €10Eat In
Brick AlleyOpens in a new tab.Sandwiches/ Hot Food€8 – €15Eat In
DoughboysOpens in a new tab.Sandwiches€8 – €12Eat In/ Out
TescoOpens in a new tab.Sandwiches€4 – €10Eat Out
FreshiiOpens in a new tab.Salads/ Wraps€6 – €12Eat In/ Out
CentraOpens in a new tab.Sandwiches€3 – €4Eat In/ Out

Warm Lunch

If you want something a little heartier, don’t worry. There are plenty of great places that do fantastic lunches all around Ireland, especially in Dublin. In fact, some of the best restaurants in the city will only open for lunch.

This is really because when most people are working in the office, its just way easier to buy your lunch rather than go through all the effort of making it yourself. I’m sure that if my grandparents heard me say something like that they wouldn’t be happy, but this is the common sentiment these days, like in most other countries.

Though you can find some amazing restaurants in Dublin, with cuisine from all over the world, there are some meals that are more traditional than others. I will go over both a little further on. Common Irish hot lunches, especially at the weekend, are as follows:

  • Fish and Chips
  • Burgers
  • Hot Wrap/ Burrito

As you can see, many of these meals would also be common elsewhere. Though, here in Ireland, they use fresh local ingredients, whenever possible.

Popular Lunch Restaurants in Dublin

Don’t worry, you will still be able to find this sort of food in Ireland

Some of the places that I will mention below are repeated from above. If that is the case, they will have options for both hot and cold lunches and are well worth checking out either way. Also, please note that the prices below are just a guide.

RestaurantType of FoodPrice RangeEat In/ Out
BunsenBurgers€8.45 – €11.65Either, depending on location.
Pablo Picante Opens in a new tab.Burritos€7.50 – €12Either, depending on location.
Sprout & CoOpens in a new tab.Wraps/ Food Bowls€9 – €15Eat In/ Out
TangOpens in a new tab.Wraps/ Food Bowls€7.50 – €15Eat In/ Out
The Joy of ChaOpens in a new tab.Sandwiches/ Hot Food€8 – €10Eat In
Brick AlleyOpens in a new tab.Sandwiches/ Hot Food€8 – €15Eat In
YamamoriSushi€15 – €20Eat In/ Out
Leo BurdockOpens in a new tab.Fish and Chips€4 – €15Eat Out
The Ramen BarOpens in a new tab.Ramen€11 – €15Eat In/ Out
CentraOpens in a new tab.Deli/ Chicken Fillet Rolls€4 – €6Eat In/ Out

Jack

Jack Redmond has been a tour guide in Ireland for the past decade. Having received a national guiding qualification, he has brought thousands of travelers all over the island of Ireland.

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