Ways to save money in Ireland

May 22nd, 2008, 05:25 PM
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Ways to save money in Ireland

Does anyone have tips on how to save money while in Ireland? We are taking a self-catering, self-drive tour and plan to eat most breakfasts in our apartment, pack most of our lunches and eat a few dinners back at the apartment. We are staying in Blarney and plan to visit the English Market in Cork for some of our food - are the prices good there or are we better off going to a supermarket? Besides the heritage pass, are there other ways to save on attractions? Any tips on drinking cheaply in pubs?
ByronFreak is offline  
May 22nd, 2008, 08:48 PM
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IME, the cheapest option for groceries would be the discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl.
You can check their websites (.ie) for store locators and to get a feeling for the price level.
It does not make much sense to pay more for grapes, oranges, or any other non-local produce at the market. They don't get better or worse when the truck from Spain or Greece dumps them in the wholesale fruit market or at the supermarkets.
Do get some local cheese at the market (or stores), though

Anything in the remote vicinity of consuming alcohol is FAR from being cheap in Ireland with the sin taxes added.
We pay twice as much for a pint of (Irish) beer in Ireland than in Germany. More than twice for spirits. Bottle of regular whiskey (e.g. Jamesons) costs a whopping €35 in the supermarket - compared to €17 where I live. One can, i.e. one pint or 1/2 liter, of Murphy's (or the other stout) costs close to €2 in the supermarket.

Drinking is not supposed to be cheap in Ireland.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
May 23rd, 2008, 01:26 AM
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You can reduce your drinks bill by going to local pubs rather than bars in the centre - there may be a difference of around 1 euro/pint (e.g. 3.50 euro vs 4.50 euro). But it would be a pity not to visit pubs as they are still centres of local life and entertainment, and you don't normally pay extra for live music.
Lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner, where you can have a filling bowl of Irish stew for around 10 euro in pubs. Sit-down meal in a restaurant for dinner with wine can make a serious dent in your pocket!
Alec is offline  
May 23rd, 2008, 02:06 AM
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Alec wrote: "You can reduce your drinks bill by going to local pubs rather than bars in the centre ... you can have a filling bowl of Irish stew for around 10 euro in pubs."

Pubs that serve Irish stew are catering for tourists; pubs that target tourists often (but not always) have higher prices.

Pub food is often very good value, but quality varies greatly.
- If you get that boiled-to-death vegetable smell, don't eat there.
- If you see people eating from plates with mashed potato, sliced carrots, and one green vegetable (most likely broccoli) then leave.
- It's probably best to choose places that serve from a buffet: they probably do a good volume of business, and you see before you choose.
Padraig is offline  
May 23rd, 2008, 06:27 AM
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There are lots of shops like O'Briends that you can take out sandwiches. Supermarkets have take out sandwiches that they usually make a a counter fresh as well. Drink pints...probably better value! I also think its cheaper in the countryside than in Dublin to drink in a pub. Markets are a great place for food and many open markets run at the weekend. The English market I am not sure if its cheap but you can get the makings for a picnic.
SiobhanP is offline  
May 23rd, 2008, 02:11 PM
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Cowboy1968 writes: "IME, the cheapest option for groceries would be the discount supermarket chains Aldi and Lidl." I would add Dunnes to that list: I know there's one in Ennis, in Galway and in Balliná (County Mayo); and all three have Liquor & Beer outlets adjacent to the main store. I don't know about Blarney.

I usually scout around for a Pub that serves a carvery lunch and make the midday meal my main meal of the day (around 15:00). Later, I have a can or three of beer purchased at an Off Lic store before I 'hit' the Pub and 'nurse' a pint of Guiness for about an hour.

So, your plans don't mesh with mine. I have a 'full Irish breakfast' every morning, either in a Hotel or B&B, or at Dunnes or whatever other cafeteria I can find that specializes in Irish Breakfasts. The brown bread is great and I actually like the Blood pudding.
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
May 23rd, 2008, 05:05 PM
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In Cork the Dunnes Store closes fairly early, but there is a Tesco that was open later when we were there in April. We love to walk around the English Market and always wish we could buy things to cook, but alas, we stay in B&B's so can't. I think the best deal we saw had to be the lamb kidneys, which were .75E or thereabouts.

And sorry, but I have to disagree with Padraig about the pubs that serve "mashed potato, sliced carrots, and one green vegetable (most likely broccoli.)" We have had some delicious vegetables, smashed and otherwise, in pubs in cities and small towns alike.

The price to drink in Ireland was a shock to me on this most recent trip. We used to bring home several bottles of whiskey from duty free (okay, so I have a small problem), but this year we priced out Jameson and others in our local store before we left for Ireland, and to bring it home was twice as much.
allisonm is offline  
May 23rd, 2008, 10:28 PM
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I would rank Dunnes (and Tesco) a bit higher than Lidl and Aldi. The first are not really discount supermarkets, though I did not find the price for foods really frightening (except for alcohol as anywhere).

I like the larger Dunnes stores (w/ household and clothing sections) a lot better than the bit cheaper discount supermarkets since I find more choice (and more local choice) there. And I have to admit that I often take home some kitchen stuff or similar from the household section as a cheap souvenir.

Dunnes usually has more than just one store in larger cities (like Cork City), often one of them 24hr open for grocery shopping. These are often found in real shopping centers on the outskirts of town, and not on the quaint downtown riverfront.
Not all of Dunnes stores have groceries, though. Some smaller outlets (usually those in the cities centers) just have household goods and apparel.

No booze in supermarkets before mid-day on sundays (when they have an off-license section).
Cowboy1968 is offline  
May 24th, 2008, 06:21 AM
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Thanks so much for all the info and tips.

I am especially excited about trying some local farmhouse cheeses so we will definitley stop at the English Market in Cork. However, I won't plan to buy all my groceries there as I thought before.

Perhaps we will have some lunches on the road (rather than picnics) and skip the dinners out in favor of eating at the flat.

What is a carvery lunch?

I love to do souvenir shopping in places like that, Cowboy. Thanks for the tip!
ByronFreak is offline  
May 24th, 2008, 06:31 AM
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Keep the English Market on your list if you plan to cook rather than heat up prepared food. It is a great place for good quality and inexpensive ingredients.

A carvery lunch is a form of buffet lunch -- they carve from the joint when you order. You can often exercise options like having a slice of one meat and a slice of another; it's a great opportunity for those who have problems choosing.
Padraig is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 05:13 AM
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I have to agree with Padraig about the Boiled to death veg in Pubs...it has not improved in any place i go hence I do not eat Carvery or Pub dinners. I think its awful plonk but each to his own

Dunnes is reasonable and you can get a tub and fill it up with the salad bar which I do a lot on my lunch breaks here in Dublin. Eat a good breakfast and lunch. Also Fish and chips are a cheap alternative to an expensive dinner. Not great for the heart all the time but will hit the spot.
SiobhanP is offline  
May 26th, 2008, 05:43 AM
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We loved Ireland and would love to go back someday but we were not impressed with their food. Their breadfast was good but the pub food, most of the time, was just ok. I found the Irish stew that we had only once, to be pretty uninteresting and mushey. However, what I really, really liked was their beef and kidney and chicken and mushroom pie's which we found of all places, in a gas station! We first had these pies in England and loved them so we were pleased to find them also in Ireland. I can recommend them to you and they are not expensive.
cd is offline  
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