For our first stop on Fab Food Trails Dublin, Eveleen Coyle, our friendly tour guide and founder of the 10-year-old company, gathered us in from the day’s showers in a favorite coffee shop, just steps from bustling Grafton Street. “I began doing this mainly because I knew Irish produce wasn’t getting the recognition it deserves,” she explained over warming cappuccinos. “I was very aware that our reputation abroad for food was not great.”

Three hours and seven noshes later, it was clear that Dublin’s food profile deserved to be raised. One of our favorites from the moment we opened the door and inhaled the milky, earthy aromas was Sheridan Cheesemongers. Though they sit wheel to wheel with their well-known European cousins, Irish farmhouse cheeses, the company’s specialty since its founding in the late 1990s, should be savored here since the majority never leave Ireland.
Proprietor John Leverrier offered wedges of Coolea, a delicious Gouda-like cheese from Cork; toasty sheep’s milk Cais na Tire (Irish for “cheese from the land”) and an unusual goat’s milk cheddar from Killeen Farmhouse. During the holidays, Eveleen says, customers queue out the door and down the street to ready their larders for family feasts. Hmmm, I can’t help but wonder, could I slip a small wheel in my luggage?

Our small table is soon crowded with plates of Irish soda bread, baked on site daily and topped with chive-flecked goat’s cheese and tender Burren Smokehouse smoked salmon, often lauded as the country’s best. Warm scones follow, along with homemade raspberry jam. These tea-time classics are a recent discovery for me; I try them whenever they’re offered. Pepper Pot’s would be perfect, smuggled back on the cruise ship to enjoy with a Café al Baccio latte. No way, though; we devoured every crumb.

At tour’s end, we are sated – and equally full of a new appreciation for Irish foodstuffs and their unique purveyors here. If you’d rather explore after dark, Fab Food Trails hosts evening tours too. And if travel takes you to Cork, Eveleen and friends will help you sample that city’s bounty as well. Details at