The Long Room, Tasty Treat, McCarthy and much more…

Your letter from Ireland shorts from the 30th of May 2023.

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The Long Room, Tasty Treat, McCarthy and much more…

Céad míle fáilte, welcome to your Letter from Ireland “Shorts”.  Each Tuesday we’ll bring you a quick-read of some of our favourite and interesting Irish things for this week.

Trinity College Dublin.
 Have you ever visited this spot in the centre of Dublin? Just beside “The Long Room” library (shown above) you will find the beautiful “Book of Kells”. It’s an illustrated gospel from around 800 AD. and is open to the public to view. You can see Carina telling us more in the Long Library by clicking here.

Our Irish surname of the week is McCarthy. The leading family of the “Eoghanacht” tribe – one time Kings of Munster. These days, the name is mostly found across the southern half of the island – and especially to the south-west. People think that surnames that start with a “Mac” are Scottish and those beginning with “O”s are Irish, but McCarthy is just one example of a most numerous Irish surname beginning with a “Mac”. By the way – do you know the difference between “Mc” and “Mac”? There is none! “Mc” is just shorthand for “Mac”. To see where the name appears in Ireland in the mid 1800s go to this page on

Irish Traditional Cooking by Darina Allen. 
This book is a comprehensive guide to Ireland’s culinary heritage with over 300 traditional dishes. Darina is a well known name around here and each recipe comes with tips, historical insights, and common Irish customs. We really enjoyed Darina’s passion for Irish cuisine – evident in recipes like Sea Spinach Soup, Potted Ballycotton Shrimps, and Rhubarb Fool. See the book on Amazon here.


Giorraíonn beirt bóthar
(pronounced “gur-ee-an bert bow-har”)

which translates as “two shorten the road“.

I know I feel that way when travelling around with Carina!

Anytime we travel to see our son in England he makes sure we bring over some Ballymaloe relish (click here to see more) which is a staple in our house and goes great on some soda bread with grilled cheese! Ballymaloe house also does some amazing food and we’ve been there many times for a great local meal.

That’s it for this week. Send us an email with any of your own favourites for inclusion in future emails, or if you’re a plus member leave a comment below.

Slán for now,
Mike & Carina.

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