Her Passion For The Palette And Travel Led Her To Ireland
By DeAnna Taylor
Lauren Paige recently bought a one-way ticket to Dublin, Ireland. Her goal was to take on the town in her own way and on her own terms.
She walks us through her time in Dublin, exploring the city and creating elegant food dishes along the way.
Travel Noire: What inspired you to take on Dublin, Ireland?
Lauren: My infatuation with the Emerald Isle began on a girls trip in May of 2018. My best friend and travel mentor Marshe had literally and figuratively fallen in love with Ireland and wanted to share with us the magic she found. So in October of 2018, I bought a one-way ticket to Dublin to take the town on my own.
TN: Where did you stay while there?
Lauren: I stayed outside the city in the suburb of Coolee. I spent every day finding my way through the quays on the bus, meeting with local friends for hike days and pub nights. Wherever I go, I try to immerse myself in the culture. I walk the streets like I’ve lived there my entire life. I try to stay on the outskirts of big towns because I’ve found that there is where you really can get a pulse for a city. This last time in Dublin, I was able to look at it from the eyes of my forever home, and it showed me so much more than I expected.
TN: Describe for us how Ireland made you feel?
Lauren: The Celtic magic vibrates hard throughout Ireland. From street signs in Gaelic to castles casually sitting around every turn. I wanted to spend my time here really appreciating this culture, because it felt so foreign to my own but my heart felt so drawn to it. It made me more inventive with my plans, and try to really dig into the lifestyle of the day to day life in Dublin. I found new and different ways to learn about this country that wasn’t from a museum or a tour.
TN: How did you merge your love for new cuisines into the trip?
Lauren: I was able to spend time in the mountains of Ireland volunteering on a farm in Blessington. I learned how true Irish butter is made, drinking goat milk I collected and foraging for herbs and mushrooms in a field of sheep. Sleeping in a barn built before I was even imagined. Speaking to farmers wives who have never known anything but this life of Irish land and pride. Then taking these ingredients that I made and I dig from the ground and then creating a dish of my own to share with friends that made them feel like I really understood and appreciated this place that felt like my new home.
TN: What were the landscapes like?
Lauren: The rural areas surrounding the city is what really hold so much magic. Ireland is known for its cascading cliffs and windblown ocean views. One of the most beautiful days was in Howth. A gorgeous seaside cliff setting surrounded with yellow blooms of the local flower gorse. We climbed and sat with our picnic overlooking the waves crashing the rocks and lived the best moments an Irish summer has to offer.
A short drive outside of the city takes you to the Wicklow Mountains and Tinahely. The range of these terrains go from vast stretches of gothic brown moss to rolling green hills and valley with lakes and small farms with majestic, breathtaking views. Landscapes that make you feel like you are on the edge of the world, propelled through time, on the brink of a something ageless and beautiful.
TN: What were some dishes that you fell in love with on your trip?
Lauren: While you can find a mediocre pie or stew at any pub on the quays, a lesser known delicacy of the Irish coast is it oysters. Galway is known to have the best oysters on earth and getting your hands on some of those large and briny Irish Rock Oysters isn’t hard if you know where to look. I ate my weight in Galway flats in a classic Irish spot in the Wicklow mountains called Johnny Foxx’s.
TN: What dishes were you able to create?
Lauren: I decided to take a spin on some classic dishes for a dinner party with my local friends who all wondered what this American girl could do with Irish ingredients (that weren’t potatoes). To their shock and surprise, I made a stunning lamb shank with Hennessy (an Irish cognac with its family roots from Mallow) and the native gorse flower which I collected during our day in the cliffs of Howth. I accompanied it with a prawn and blood sausage Mariana.
TN: Where can we see more of your journey?
DeAnna Taylor is a criminal defense Attorney turned travel writer. The Charlotte native recently completed one year abroad working as an English teacher in South Korea. Her hobbies include fitness, traveling to new countries, and trying new foods.