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American Thanksgiving in Dublin

I couldn't find a recent posting that addressed my particular question.

9 adult family members will be in Dublin during the American Thanksgiving holiday. We would very much like to have some semblance of a traditional Thanksgiving meal on that day. We don't like to go "American" when we travel. We prefer local hotels and restaurants and want our interactions to be with the people of whichever country we happen to be visiting. However, we will be with family members from three different states, so on this one occasion, we would still like to celebrate our traditional way.

The obvious solution is to rent a house/apartment so we have a kitchen and can prepare it ourselves. However, can we buy a turkey and all the other traditional items in the grocery stores there? (My son made Thanksgiving dinner for his host family while studying abroad in Copenhagen, and it took a lot of substituting to even get close).

We plan on sightseeing most of the time, so don't want to be cooking for days in advance. Nor running all over the place getting ingredients. So a scaled down version - but Thanksgiving dinner nonetheless. I was thinking we could pack some of the items and take them with us if necessary. Pretty sure turkeys can't fly (haha), so we can't pack one of those in our suitcase.

Perhaps there are some people who have lived/visited in Dublin who would be willing to share how they were able to celebrate.

Posted by
439 posts

My husband is from a small town, Borris, Carlow. His brother has bought a turkey stuffed from a local butcher, all he did was put it in the oven. Stuffing was a bit different then what I was used to but everyone makes stuffing differently. Bread was all crumbs as opposed to tearing it into small pieces like my family does. You may be able to specify likes and dislikes with them. I did try to make one of my families desserts there, I could not find fresh or canned pineapple anywhere. They had everything else.

Try Dunnes they are a popular grocery store. http://www.dunnesstores.com

Also a butcher or restaurant near where you are staying may cater to your needs. Most people in Ireland are pretty in touch with our holidays, so they may be willing to give you a hand. They do have a tendency to think Thanksgiving is bigger than Christmas and if you aren't Christian, it may be.

Posted by
1277 posts

Personally, I'd be afraid of my containers of sage and cinnamon triggering a drug inspection at the airport, But, I remember lots of lovely baked apple pies and cobblers while on a tour, and a couple of our tour mates complained loudly each time that there was little to no cinnamon involved. SO even if you get some goodies from a local baker, you might want to supplement the seasonings. Pumpkins have shown up for Halloween decor, but I don't know if they have made the jump to pumpkin pie.

Posted by
4631 posts

I would suggest finding a butcher, contacting them in advance, and ordering a turkey. You might also look to see if you can find a website that for American expats in Ireland amd ask about where to find holiday supplies.

However, are you sure you want to do this? It seems like a lot of work. I love to cook, but most vacation rentals have poorly equipped kitchens. You may have to go buy equipment (e.g., a roasting pan). You could go out for a very nice meal with your family and still celebrate.

Posted by
673 posts

We like cinamon over here, easy to buy, so no need to bring it or sage with you. But definately not in the quantities enjoyed in the States!

Posted by
1277 posts

I agree w Laura, maybe pack some cornucopia paper napkins and one pumpkin pie scented votive candle to pass and sniff, and tell favorite memories as you devour shepherds pie

Posted by
996 posts

I used to be the designated cook in our family for Thanksgiving when we traveled. The first time, it was a challenge, but a lot of fun. The second time, it was less of a challenge, but still fun as it was a team project.

By the fifth time, this was a huge challenge again since most of the team had disappeared, leaving me to do the bulk of the planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc., etc., etc.

Now when we travel on Thanksgiving - US or abroad - we pick a fun place and have a meal out, calling it our local Thanksgiving experience. (My Italian Thanksgiving is still my favorite in our traveling series, but I have a weakness where pasta is concerned.)

Enjoy having family together at this special time and in such a special place. Cook if it makes you happy, but don't stress over the little things. You may create some new family traditions this way! Enjoy!!!

Posted by
15 posts

Thank you everyone for your suggestions - you have made some good points. I think honestly, the main reason we are avoiding a restaurant for that meal is because we want to be able to sit around, move around and leisurely visit in a central space that is private, and where another large group isn't waiting to be seated (a la a living room). If we stay at a hotel, the best we can do is a central lobby area - not private, or a meeting room - not cozy.

Also, should probably be a new thread, but...looking for a house or couple of adjacent apartments to rent in Dublin that have at least two beds in the secondary bedrooms. Everything I'm finding thus far only has one bed per room. Most have sleeper sofas or futons available - but that is only a partial solution for us. I've been all over VRBO, booking.com, visitireland.com, etc. Just wondering if anyone has any inside knowledge of a place.