Bringing Your Dog To Ireland

Bringing your dog/s to Ireland used to be a big hassle. Today this is much easier but there are still a few things to consider.

When we brought Rapsy to Ireland in 2011 he was already microchipped, had a passport and was up to date on his regular vaccinations. But he still needed a certificate of Rabies antibody testing (with a titre of 0.5 IU/ml or above) and, after receiving this certificate, he had to wait 6 months to enter Ireland. Immediately before entering Ireland two more treatments were necessary: an echinococcus and a tick treatment (plus he had to enter Ireland within the following 24 hours).

Since 1st January of 2012 the rules are different. For dogs to enter from a EU and “low risk” country to Ireland they will need:

  • Passport or EU certificate that shows the microchip number.
  • Subsequent rabies vaccination, at least 21 days before entering Ireland.
  • Tapeworm treatment (unless traveling from Finland, Malta, Norway or UK)
  • To come to Ireland within 5 days of the owner.

Maximum number of dogs to travel with one person is five.

For more information go to:

  • Citizen Information — Bringing pets to Ireland
  • DAFM — Bringing your pet cat, dog or ferret into Ireland
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Motortax in Ireland

There are three things you will need to drive your car in Ireland:

  1. NCT
  2. Motor Insurance
  3. Motortax

The car you are buying at a dealership should have a valid NCT. Remember to make sure that you have motor insurance for it before picking it up. Sometimes the automobil still has a current tax disc, other times it doesn’t. You will find out on site.

After you have bought the car the dealer will send the Registration Certificate along with your details to the Department of Transportation which will update the name and address of the owner and issue a new certificate. You will receive the new registration within 5-7 days along with the PIN which you will need to login online.

To renew the tax of your car go to www.motortax.ie

You will need:

  • registration number
  • PIN
  • policy number and expiration date of your car insurance

There, follow the steps given, e. g. checking if all data (car details, your name, your address) are correct, entering in the motor insurance number and date and select which time period (3, 6 or 12 months) you want the tax for. Enter your credit card details to pay. After all is complete, print the confirmation that is shown on screen for your records. Hold on to it until you received the tax disc by post.

For more information check the Motortax Website. For example, you can find out more about the Motor Tax Rate for your car or the car you want to buy — if you have its registration number ready. They provide pages of information including answers to FAQ.

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How To Perfectly Cook Irish Potatoes

Irish potatoes and I don’t get along… :think: Either they are under-cooked or they are mash when I take them out of the pot. There is some appliance, though, that will help me trick these Spuds and they are cooked just fine:

Potatoes

First time I came across a slow cooker was in Germany, at my American neighbour’s house. She could hardly believe that I have never seen a Crock-Pot (™) before. The bolognese sauce she made was the best I’ve ever tasted.

Crock-Pot (™) is a slow cooker but not every slow cooker is a Crock-Pot (™) 😉 In Ireland they are mainly called slow cookers and only the original one is called by its brand name! You can buy them in large supermarkets, electrical retailers and on offer in Aldi and Lidl. (Compare prices!)

Following are just a few of the advantages…

  • Uses only between 100-300 watts (depending on size and brand)
  • Vegetables aren’t easily overcooked
  • Simple cooking: prepare and cook all in one pot; forget about it until dinner.
  • Enjoy delicate and tender meat.

Another advantage, avoid extra humidity while cooking, especially during winter: Use the slow cooker! 😉 There will hardly be any steam escaping the pot, unless you open the lid.

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Champ and Colcannon

There is nothing like living in a country and getting to know the people, their culture, their traditions and their food. For a few years I didn’t know what Champ is and how to cook it.

Champ

It’s a common and loved Irish dish. But what exactly is it? Put simply: it’s enhanced potato puree. 🙂 What make the whipped potatoes so good are their special ingredients: warmed up spring onions and heaps of butter.

Ingredients

  • 800-1000g of rooster potatoes
  • bunch of spring onions*
  • 200-250ml milk (for creamier taste use half milk, half cream)
  • 50-75g butter (alternative: use 3 tbsp of olive instead)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt (pepper to taste)

Instructions

  1. Cook, peel, mash potatoes
  2. Wash and chop spring onions
  3. Warm up milk, butter, salt and chopped spring onions. Slowly add to potatoes and mix well.

*Spring onions (scallions) can be substituted for 200-250g cabbage (kale) and then it’s called Colcannon instead. Of course, you can also add more or less butter if you’d like: best to place the butter dish on the table, too. 😉

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Dunbrody Famine Ship

Since we are living in the Sunny South East of Ireland, whenever we think about trips to nearby locations one always comes to mind: The Dunbrody Famine Ship.

The original was built in Quebec in 1845. It only took 6 months to built and its future captain, John Baldwin, supervised the building of it. Dunbrody was intended to serve as a cargo vessel, however…

It was during that year that the potato crops failed and the food prices went way up — Great Hunger had hit Ireland. About a million people died during this period — the Great Famine. Another million people left the country between 1845 and 1852. There weren’t enough boats to transport all the people, though. That’s why on many of the cargo ships bunks were installed so they could carry passengers instead. Between 160 and 300 people were on board these ships. The Dunbrody broke the record, though. On its way to Quebec it carried 313 passengers.

The tour of the Famine Ship begins in a building next to it. Guided through an area filled with information panels, the history and the making of the Dunbrody is explained to the visitors. Next a short film reveals what it must have felt like to live in Ireland during that time and how desperately the people wanted to flee from these circumstances. The tour guide then explains a few things and the visitors are lead through a short hallway and unto the ship.

There is more to learn on board. Many bits and pieces from that era can be seen and touched. The tour starts on deck and continues below deck where some of the visitors can sit at the tables, while others may sit on the wooden bunk beds. The highlight is when the two actresses appear and — through their testimonies — take the people back into the 19th century…

dunbrody-acting-1               dunbrody-acting-2

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Irish Soda Bread

What comes to your mind when you are thinking of traditional Irish Food? Irish Stew? Irish Bread?

Don’t you just love the smell of stew that has been cooked for hours coming right out of the oven (or the slow cooker)? How about homemade bread to go along with it?

Back in the famine years there had been times in Ireland when all there was on the table was bread — often enough without Irish Stew. So this is going to be our recipe for today: Irish Soda Bread.

Irish Bread 2

The recipe calls for only a few ingredients: flour, buttermilk, salt and soda along with some honey and the egg. Some use all wholemeal flour, some use partially or only white flour.

Ingredients

  • 400g whole wheat flour*
  • 1 tsp soda
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 egg
  • 350ml buttermilk

Instructions

  1. Put flour, soda and salt into a bowl.
  2. Pour honey and whisked egg into buttermilk. Mix well.
  3. Slowly add buttermilk mixture to flour-mix; stir well. (Dough will be sticky. If it is too dry, add some more buttermilk, one spoon at a time.)
  4. Sprinkle a little flour onto the workplace. Place dough on it, knead a little, shaping it into a ball.
  5. Put doug on floured baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut a cross on top of it.
  6. Bake at 200°C (180°C fan) for 45-50 minutes.

*Alternatively you can use wholemeal flour instead. I have a grain mill at home so I’m using wheat grains most of the time.

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Pudding

Pudding is found in Ireland, too. But, beware, pudding is not like pudding! 😉 Many Irish are having white and/or black pudding (specific kind of sausage) for breakfast.

Today I’m talking about this kind of pudding, though:

pudding dreierlei-1

Yes, a sort of custard. As the Irish love theirs, we love our sort of pudding. 🙂

Living in Ireland you can either order pudding mix from Germany, buy it at a Polish supermarket (it’s called Budyn there), or make your own. Making your own is not that hard to do!

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 250ml (1 cup) cold milk
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 2 tbsp honey or 4 tbsp sugar
  • Flavoring: 2 tbsp brown sugar (butterscotch) or 1-2 tsp vanilla or 2tbsp cocoa + extra sugar/honey (chocolate)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg and pour into 250ml (1 cup) of cold milk; add cornflour and flour, mix well.
  2. In a saucepan heat up 500ml (2 cups) of milk. Add the flavoring and stir, then add egg-milk-flour-mixture, stir continually until the pudding thickens.
  3. Spoon into pudding cups or bowls. Let sit to cool.
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