I first heard about the Donegal Donkey Sanctuary about 6 months ago. I constantly made plans to visit, but these plans didn’t materialise until last weekend. A few friends and I (plus two of the… More
I’m heading to Dublin for the weekend and it had me thinking about the items I usually pack specifically because I’m vegan; essential things I’d miss if I forgot them! If you’re thinking of travelling soon, even if it’s only a few hours away in another county, these tips might help you out!
Travel bottles for dairy-free milk
Most places have dairy free milk these days, but you still find the odd place that doesn’t even have almond milk on offer, let alone soy. When you’re in an unfamiliar town or city, particularly if you’re somewhere rural, it’s best to pour a little vegan milk into a small bottle and pop it in your handbag. Or if you’re a guy who doesn’t use a bag, ask your girlfriend to carry it for you!
This is really useful if you’re going abroad, rather than heading somewhere in Ireland, but I thought I’d mention it anyway in case you haven’t heard of it. It’s an app you can download that contains common phrases in lots of different languages so you can let waiters and vendors know what you can and can’t eat. If you need to know how to say “Can you make something for me that doesn’t contain eggs, meat, fish or dairy?” this has you covered.
This is a big one. Never leave the house without a Nakd bar or a flapjack or an apple in your pocket or bag. Not everywhere has items that are suitable for vegans, and in fact it’s usually the exception rather than the rule, so be prepared. Few things are worse than being a starving vegan in a place with no vegan options.
I use Lush’s vegan-friendly dry shampoo, which is a decent sized bottle of what looks like baby powder. You just pop a few sprinkles in your hair and comb it through, and voila! Hair that doesn’t look like a big grease ball. Not only is it better for your hair to wash it every other day instead of every day, it’s also better for the environment as you’re not using as much water. Win-win! There are several VF dry shampoo sprays out there as well, but I don’t use aerosol tins so I have none to recommend.
Travelling can really dry out your skin, especially if you’re spending a long time on a plane or a bus (it’s 4 hours from Donegal to Dublin on a bus… yeah), so you might want to rejuvenate your skin afterwards. I don’t really wear makeup anymore and especially not while I’m traveling, and the Facial Mist by Sukin is an absolute life saver after a long haul journey. However, if you don’t want to buy something expensive, you can get yourself a little spray bottle and fill it with water and a few drops of tea tree oil. Just as good!
If you’re staying in hotels while traveling, I’m sure you’ve noticed that the blinds or the curtains may not block out the light entirely. You may want to pack a sleeping mask so that if you’re faced with cracks of light keeping you awake, you can sleep soundly under your mask. As someone who is scared of the dark, this isn’t a major problem for me personally, but my boyfriend can’t sleep if there’s even a tiny bit of light in the room, so he loves his mask.
Traveling can really upset the tummy. This is due to a number of factors, but mostly because you may not eat regularly, you might be trying different kinds of foods your tummy isn’t used to, or because you’re in a country that has untreated water. I use a probiotic from Optibac that has worked wonders for me in times of need.
This is super important for walking around a city or exploring woods and green areas. I recently came across shoes on Nae that are made of Pinatex (vegan leather made from pineapple leaves). I bought a pair of boots recently myself, but I think I’m going to save up for these gold beauties.
They’re incredibly eco-friendly; they’re a by-product of pineapple farming and it takes no extra water or land to create the leather. It’s a fantastic product.
What are your vegan travel essentials? Let me know in the comments!
If you’re not from Ireland, you may not think that there would be many vegans on our little island, but you’d be surprised! We’re a growing community. Although there are no official figures of how many vegans there are in Ireland, we can still hazard an educated guess just by looking at the numbers that attended Dublin Veg Fest and Vegan Festival in Belfast, which put numbers in the thousands. Plus, veganism in Britain has risen by 360% in the past 10 years. It’s onwards and upwards from here!
Anyway, whether you’re an Irish native or not, here is a list of 5 Irish vegans you need to follow!
Cosmic Colette is a vegan YouTuber and body positive advocate. She posts very regularly and her content is always incredibly helpful and informative. If you’re looking for a mindful approach to vegan living and eating, make sure to check out her videos (and her Instagram feed – I always find out something new or get a positive affirmation for the day!)
If you have kiddos running around the house and you’re having trouble converting them to a plant based diet, Vegan Mammy has some fantastic recipes on her blog. There’s something for even the fussiest of eaters!
If you’re active on Instagram, you’ve no doubt come across Green Leafy Gael in the tags! She’s a Donegal native and a passionate vegan and healthy eater. If you’re looking for fab healthy recipes and lots of great information on vegan living and rejecting fast fashion, she’s your first port of call!
Otherwise known as Saoirse, Irish Mountain Child is a blog where you’ll find posts on many different things, but she writes a lot about living a healthy lifestyle and shopping ethically. I really enjoy her Instagram feed in particular, especially now as she’s gotten engaged and is exploring ethical wedding options like checking out the dresses at Oxfam Bridal.
If you’re looking for a bit of vegan comedy in your life (and sure who isn’t?) as well as lots of tips on the best places to get vegan food in Ireland (and abroad as well), then make sure to follow Veg Huns on Instagram.
Do you follow any great Irish vegans? Let me know who they are in the comments below! I’d love to hear about them!
I’ve loved The Happy Pear since the first moment I saw their smiling faces on the cover of their fantastic cook book. I’m fairly certain they’re the most positive guys in the country, not to mention the healthiest!
Their business prowess seems to know no bounds as well, as they’ve just released a new branch of their brand – oven bakes! I have to say, they look DELISH!
The new bakes come in three flavours; Shepherdless Pie, Tomato and Sweet Potato Bake and Veggie Lasagne. Apparently each bake provides 2 to 4 of your five a day and they’re ALL less than 450 calories!
The bakes are available in SuperValu and Centra stores nationwide, as well as the official Happy Pear food stores of course.
NOTE! The Veggie Lasagne and Sweet Potato Bake are NOT vegan, they’re vegetarian as they contain cheese, so make sure to be aware when you’re checking these out! This is unfortunate, but at least the Shepherds Pie (my FAVOURITE meal) is vegan friendly.
The Happy Pear are currently running a competition on their Twitter page where you can win six packets of your favourite flavour! Make sure to enter 🙂
As you’ll probably know if you follow me on Instagram, I’m a huge fan of Dublin. I love it. It’s my favourite place to be, and not just because of the growing number of vegan options. And there are plenty!
When I first started looking for vegan options, I either tried my luck and asked in different restaurants and cafés (if you don’t ask, you don’t get!) or I went to Cornucopia. There really weren’t very many options in Dublin when I transitioned back last year. Now, however, we’re spoiled for choice!
I’ve put together a list of places I myself have been (or others I know have been) where there are definitely vegan friendly options. I know there are a few more note-worthy places in the city as well, but I’ll mention the ones I have direct experiences with! I will do an ultimate list of vegan places in Dublin at some point though.
I was dead excited the first time I went to Sova. An ENTIRELY vegan menu? Yes, please! I’m happy to announce it’s just as delicious as you’d hope.
The only item I tried that I didn’t like were the schnitzels. But everything else was fab! Read my full review here.
What to order: the seafood chowder
Like most restaurants, Koh serves meat and all manner of animal products, but they also have quite an extensive vegetarian menu and even some vegan options as well (yummy ones!)
This place is what I call a “special occasion restaurant” as it’s VERY expensive, but it’s well worth the price. Get the vegetarian starter platter, which is suitable for vegans! The vietnamese rolls are to die for.
What to order: the yellow curry with tofu
Cornucopia is one of Ireland’s oldest vegetarian restaurants -if not the oldest – but it is slowly making its way to becoming totally 100% vegan! It’s not there yet, but you’re always guaranteed to have a huge range of vegan choices, both for dinners and for treats!
Burritos are the holy grail of foods for vegans. It’s also super easy to make it vegan and often doesn’t prompt a lot of questions, which is a plus for the shy vegans among us! There’s nothing tastier than a big dollop of re-fried beans and rice wrapped in a doughy pocket and filled with onions and peppers. Mmm.
One of my favourite restaurants ever, Umi is a staple for me every time I visit Dublin.
It has loads of vegan options (including a semolina cake that I haven’t tried yet actually!) including plenty of ways to have your falafel as well as spinach filo rolls and wrapped vine leaves, as well as a hearty lentil soup.
What to order: Lebanese falafel with batata hara
If you’re hankering after a pizza, look no further than Aperitivo! It even does vegan cheese AND vegan bacon! This restaurant is quite small (think Harry Potter’s cupboard) so it fills up fast, but if you get it on a quiet day, you’ll be in luck!
What to order: Vegan Meat Feast
Although I haven’t been here personally, I’ve heard great things. I’ve passed it plenty of times and I always seem to already have a full belly. They have lots of vegan options including a moroccan style chickpeas casserole and a tofu miso soup.
What to order: red lentil soup
This is a little off the beaten track, but the trek is worth it. It’s at the end of Camden Street down a side alley (so you might miss it if you’re not looking carefully!)
They sell all manner of vegan food and there’s even a yoga studio attached.
What to order: the Happy burger
You can’t go wrong with Indian food! Most Indians have a vast range of vegetarian options and, in my experience, they’re always happy to cater for vegans. Just make sure you let them know your needs and they’ll handle it for you! Namaste is another restaurant that’s good for options if you’re not close to the city.
I tried this place out with my boyfriend as a treat just to see what vegan options were available! I ended up getting seriously big portions of lovely grub. I got the organic leaf salad with black pepper croutons, roasted cherry tomatoes and olives with lemon dressing, as well as a vegetable tagine and sorbet for dessert.
The chef even offered to make me pea soup (the soup of the day had dairy in it) but I didn’t want to put him out.
What to order: vegetable tagine
Dublin’s newest (and probably only) gaming bar and restaurant, this is heaven for all you geeky vegans out there. Although the menu is very expensive, the food is great and there’s huge variety!
What to order: hotdogs and chips
I often find myself lazing around my house at weekends, and as someone with mental health issues and a habit of hibernating out of season, I felt I needed to get out of the house last weekend. I’m so glad I made a plan and saw it through – that in itself is good for mental health – as I had a wonderful time with my family exploring Donegal.
Naturally, explorers get peckish after a while and I was absolutely ravenous after we got to Ardara. We had driven through Ramelton, Glenties and we had yet to go to Donegal Town, so it was time for food!
I was a bit dubious at the prospect of finding a place that offered some hearty vegan food options for me, but after seeing a menu option for a ‘veggie burger’ at none other than a SEAFOOD BAR, I realised Ardara was not quite like other places! It was way ahead!
We decided to pop in to ask if the veggie burger was vegan-friendly and thank God it was because otherwise I might have turned my back and not experienced the delish food on offer at Nancy’s!
The bar/restaurant is like a labyrinth inside; there are so many little hidden hallways and doorways and staircases and it’s so ‘old Irish’ charming. The staff as well are very friendly and they engage you with you at the table, which is always nice.
They had a whole section of vegetarian food available and all of it could be modified for vegans. Their menu also specifically stated that their soup was dairy free (the menu was LAMINATED, so it’s here to stay 😉 ) and it was so refreshing not to have to ask. They also had a vegan carrot cake on offer for the troopers who managed to get through their portions!
I also had a soup to start, which was so thick it was more like a stew than anything else. It was delish! Though it came with Dairygold butter, so obviously I avoided that and just enjoyed the soup on its own.
I had a veggie burger with – wait for it – chilli on the side! I thought this was a bit strange (chips weren’t available), but although I could’ve gotten baby potatoes as a side instead, I really wanted to try the chilli because it’s a main option on the menu as well. Two birds with one stone! Not that I’d excuse violence towards birds, but you get the idea!
I didn’t opt for the carrot cake because I was absolutely STUFFED but I imagine it would’ve have been fab as well. The moral of this review is that you shouldn’t judge a restaurant or café by its name or by the food it specialises in; you CAN be surprised!