What is an Irish Breakfast?

Malcolm Tatum

Irish breakfasts are hearty meals that are intended to fortify the individual for a busy and active day. Containing some elements that are common to many breakfast tables, the Irish breakfast goes on to include foods that help to make this type of breakfast experience unique. The wide range of foods included in the breakfast help to provide a substantial share of nutrients required to create plenty of raw energy that makes it easier for the individual to participate in strenuous activities.

Irish breakfasts may include eggs.
Irish breakfasts may include eggs.

Like many different breakfasts, the Irish version will include eggs, meat, and bread. A typical breakfast of this type will begin with fresh eggs that are prepared sunny side up. It is not unusual for two meats to be included in an Irish breakfast, with sausage and bacon both appearing on the plate. Thick slabs of Irish brown bread slathered with fresh butter and topped with fruit preserves helps form the foundation for the breakfast.

Bacon is common in Irish Breakfasts.
Bacon is common in Irish Breakfasts.

However, the Irish version of breakfast includes several more important elements. Grilled tomatoes provide excellent sources of vitamins and also add another layer of taste to the meal. A blood pudding known as black pudding is served alongside the other elements and adds another texture to the overall experience. For liquids, the Irish breakfast will also feature plenty of fresh milk and Irish tea, which is a lighter blend of teas than teas used at other times during the day. Still, the hot tea provides a pleasing taste and includes antioxidants that help to keep the body healthy and happy.

An Irish breakfast may contain include oatmeal.
An Irish breakfast may contain include oatmeal.

There are some differences between the bacon used in an English breakfast and the thin strips served in several other countries. Irish bacon is also known as back bacon and is prepared as thicker slabs that have a resemblance to slices of Canadian bacon. Irish brown bread is not simply a mixture of several grains, but is often made with freshly milled oatmeal. The thick slabs of bread help the breakfast to be filling as well as delicious.

Sometimes known as a fry or a fry-up due to the preparation method for the eggs and meats, the Irish breakfast is considered one of the most important meals of the day. The elements of the fry-ups are intended to fortify people for a busy day, especially if the work is to occur in an outdoor setting and will involve a great deal of physical labor. Owing to the prominent position of the Irish breakfast in the day, it is not unusual for the table to be fully set and one of the better tablecloths used for the setting.

Blood sausage, which is often included in an Irish breakfast.
Blood sausage, which is often included in an Irish breakfast.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discussion Comments


Growing up, Irish Coffee was a constant staple in my family's morning diet. This was an interesting mix of strong coffee and liquor. The effects of the caffeine would postpone the effects of the alcohol and was an appealing but somewhat perilous combination.


I recall having a lot of good Irish food at a friend's annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. His family would include all the traditional recipes such as corn beef and cabbage, potatoes, corn bread, etc. It was delicious, and they topped it all off with a strong helping of Guinness. I can see how this kind of a meal would be too much for some less hearty stomachs to handle.


The Irish average consumption of milk is one of the highest in the world along with Norway and Finland. Many Germanic nations also rate high on dairy consumption, a trend which is also indicated by a vast linguistic emphasis in Indo-European languages on all things dairy.

Post your comments
Forgot password?