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Sally's blog

All the best places to eat, shop and stay in Ireland. A local guide to local places.

Bridgestone at Electric Picnic

John Cooper Clarke

The music at Electric Picnic is both memory lane – I saw Roxy Music the first time they ever appeared on The Old Grey Whistle Test! – and the avant garde – Robyn is currently the best and smartest pop star on the planet and if you don't swoon to “Dancing On My Own” then you don't have a soul, or at least a pair of dancing shoes.

Health and Hamburgers

Gourmet Burger Company

When the study from Ulm University first hit the media, the headlines were stark: “Burgers linked to childhood asthma”, roared The Irish Times online. Even when the headline in the printed newspaper had tenderised somewhat by the next morning – “Fruit and fish cut asthma risk - study” – the story still asserted that “Children who eat three or more burgers a week may be at a higher risk of asthma and wheezing”.

Burrito bonanza! by Caroline Byrne

With a slake of new openings in the recent past, the Dubs are going Tex-Mex mad for filling cheap eats of all shapes, sizes and strength of chilli pepper hotness. Burritos are the new panini, it would seem, and with this taste-value ratio we can see why. From new takeaway bars such as Burritos & Blues and Pablo Picante to old stalwarts like Café Azteca and Taco Taco that are still doing their good hot stuff for now even keener prices, we’re loving the Dublin Mexican wave.

Dynamism meets Magic by Caroline Byrne

A trip to Ballymaloe Cookery School any old day is an exhilarating experience; an exhibition of unique culinary tradition based around a passion for real, good food and a zeal for life. But to see the venerable institution play host to the kind of talent and innovation that is the Ottolenghi duo – Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamini – is to see something very special indeed.

The Limerick Market

Country Choice, Limerick Market

14,000 people passed through the doors of the Limerick Milk Market last Saturday. Yes, you read that right: 14,000. It's an astounding figure, but then look at what they were turning up to get: Mari's cheeses; Country Choice terrines and burgers; Paul Cusack's fish; Ponaire coffees, and a host of terrific local specialities and market fixtures, led by the brilliant Theresa Storey with her Green Apron foods. Limerick was always one of the best markets – atmospheric, diverse, with old and new rubbing shoulders together. With the new roof and new arrivals, it's just gone stratospheric.

The Oarsman, Carrick-on-Shannon, County Leitrim

Galway Hooker, served in The Oarsman

There is nothing – nothing! – nicer in this world than a glass of Galway Hooker ale in a nice bar like Carrick-on-Shannon's The Oarsman, late on a warm summer afternoon. You've driven to the busy town, rambled around, and then that nice, talkative barman places the glass of Hooker in front of you. You take a sip, and time stops: aaah! And then the barman brings the best bowl of chowder you have had in yonks, along with the best prawn sandwich, the best chicken strips with fries, and the best chicken salad with ginger and soy, and everyone is placated into delighted silence.

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