To celebrate St. Patrick’s day, here’s a recap of my trip to Ireland and my quest to find peanut butter in my homeland (I’m 37.5% Irish!). Ireland was everything I hoped for and more. After landing in Dublin we drove our over-priced rental car across the country and back, staying in Athlone, Dingle, Killarney, Kilkenny and Dublin along the way. We stayed in 5 B&B’s, toured 2 breweries (Smithwick’s and Guinness) and saw/smelled more cows than I can count. I found a new favorite beer, Guinness Foreign Extra, but unfortunately I’ll never have another unless I return to Ireland or visit Nigeria or the Carribean (Update: It’s been imported to the US!). Read on for the details of my hunt for peanut butter in Ireland.


We first stayed in the rural countryside of Athlone where we had fresh milk and homemade scones at St. Ruth’s Farmhouse B&B. It was on our way to Athlone where we first noticed how many cows and sheep there are in Ireland. Farming is a popular profession in Ireland and the Irish take great pride in where their meat comes from. You can question the source of any meat purchased from a grocery store, butcher or restaurant, and it must be traceable back to the farm. You’ll know when you’re eating Irish beef since restaurants in Ireland often display signs boasting “100% Irish Beef” on their menus. Not only that, but you can see the cows outside, grazing on grass. This is in sharp contrast to America where our meat comes from an unknown location and cows are kept in terrible conditions and fed exclusively corn. Given the amount of green in Ireland, the cows there seem quite happy and just a bit inquisitive:

We then headed to the Dingle and saw the coast on a breathtaking hike that is best described as “dangerous”:

We then explored Killarney National Park which was one of our favorite parts of the trip. The sheer quantity and variety of green in Ireland is truly astounding:

Next up was Kilkenny, a medieval town that was probably our favorite town of all. Besides some incredible castles, great food and a fun atmosphere, my favorite part was Kyteler’s Inn, a pub established before Christopher Columbus’ grandfather was born:

Lastly, we stayed in Dublin for a few days and thoroughly enjoyed the area around Grafton Street. The atmosphere and vibe in this area was excellent, with great shops and delicious food (we even found sushi). We particularly liked tapas at Havana and the creative and nutritious food at Honest to Goodness (not to be confused with the cafe chain called “Munchies – Honest to Goodness”). The prized foodie find was a gourmet food store called Fallon & Byrne on Exchequer Street, that had an excellent assortment of dark chocolate as well as peanut butter!

Peanut Butter:

I found Panda brand peanut butter in several grocery stores around the country. Panda is an Irish company, and offers a standard “American style” creamy and crunchy peanut butter. But it was often sold out in the stores and by the time I got to Dublin, I never saw it again. So unfortunately, I was unable to get my hands or taste buds on Panda peanut butter but by the end of the trip I did buy the following three jars:

Meridian is a UK brand that makes a variety of health food products which are often available in health food stores in Ireland. Kelkin, on the other hand, is another Irish company. This variety of peanut butter is unique in that it only contains peanuts, palm oil and sea salt. In America, we call this a natural no-stir variety, but all the brands in America that I’ve seen include sugar, whereas Kelkin doesn’t. I always wondered what this recipe for peanut butter would taste like and now I know – delicious! The oil in Kelkin didn’t separate at all, even after the long journey back to the US. I have yet to find a no-stir brand here that can make that claim. It spreads easily, doesn’t require stirring and doesn’t have any added sugar. Kelkin, you’ve inspired me.

Verdict: there IS peanut butter in Ireland. Could there be more? Absolutely. Chatting with a few locals, some Irish people love peanut butter while others don’t understand it. But judging by the sold-out shelves, there is room for growth in the Irish peanut butter market.

Filed in Other, Peanut Butter, Reviews

53 Responses / Leave a comment »

  1. IslandEAT says:

    Hi, Nick. I just found your site via FoodBlogs and think it’s hilarious! Of course, I should have guessed it would be funny from your blog’s name….

    Good for you creating the PB niche for your site – much-needed. I missed having PB for a year when I lived in Paris for grad school years ago…very sad. I have recovered, however.



    • Nick says:

      Thanks Dan! Peanut butter is the only single-ingredient food I can think of that deserves it’s own site.

      So no peanut butter in Paris? I can cross that city off my list of places to live then… Glad to hear you’ve recovered, that must have been traumatic!

  2. Brian says:

    I’m from Ireland! Panda peanut butter is strange. It tastes like a peanut-flavoured paste rather than real peanut butter. It’s too sweet. You didn’t miss much.

    Glad you enjoyed your visit though, I love living here!

    • Nick says:

      You know, I kinda figured that from the color of it. It looks like the complexion of my skin when I’m sick to my stomach. Glad to hear I didn’t miss much, thanks!

      What city do you live in? Dublin?

  3. Brian says:

    Another thing, you may have noticed that Fallon & Byrne really do jack up the price of everything.

    Peanut butter is usally around €2-3 a jar in regular supermarkets here.

    • Nick says:

      Yes, I did notice that, but it’s about equivalent to the gourmet food stores in the US. I didn’t actually buy any peanut butter at Fallon & Byrne since it was so pricey, but I did buy a huge slab of Irish dark chocolate!

  4. Sally says:

    Glad you enjoyed our little country! The photos are beautiful!

  5. Dorinda Norton says:

    the pics of Ireland leave me breathless. I cannot wait to make a trip there. Thanks to you I know some of the places I will visit and I will be looking for all their peanut butter. Glad you are home safe.

  6. Sagan says:

    Ooh lets set up a gourmet peanut butter store in Ireland! We’ll make millions!

    :) Glad you had such a great trip – I have yet to go to Ireland but it’s very high on my list.

    • Nick says:

      Excellent idea! I think the easiest way to sell it would be to come up with about 1,000 recipes that mix peanut butter and potatoes…

  7. Great photos. And what a great trip! Would love to do something like that myself someday.

    Hmmm… maybe tomorrow.

  8. Bren says:

    Jealous. I’ve been dreaming to go to Shannon for years now…what a fabulous trip! And peanut butter of course!

  9. Shannon says:

    ah, looks lovely! i have wanted to go back ever since my trip in high school… and glad you were able to find some pb! sounds like kelkin is a winner :)

  10. Rebecca says:

    Skippy makes a no stir natural peanut butter. It’s really good, I was wary of it at first (is it actually natural) but it is, just peanuts, palm oil and salt.

    • Nick says:

      It’s a good peanut butter, no doubt. One thing that annoys me is that the oil still separates. Every time I open it (especially the first time), there is a layer of oil on top. I’m used to this from natural peanut butters but it shouldn’t be the case with a “no-stir” variety. But don’t forget, they also add sugar too. I like the sweetness though and it’s not that much sugar, but I still prefer salty peanut butter for that extra contrast when paired with pb&j or on a banana!

  11. I just found your site from HEAB. I studied in Cork, Ireland for the spring 2010 semester! I loved it. So glad you enjoyed your stay in Ireland.

    The first thing I bought in Ireland was a jar of PB at Tesco. It tasted similar to the Panda brand (pastey peanut flavor- eh, not so great). For Easter I had my mom ship me a jar of PB from home! I have since rekindled my love affair with it.

    • Nick says:

      Yes, I absolutely loved it! I never saw a Tesco store but that Panda brand did not look appetizing at all, I could almost taste the pastiness in my mouth just by looking at it! There’s no PB like American PB! I’m assuming you’re from America =).

  12. VeggieGirl says:

    BEAUTIFUL photos! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  13. Sabine says:

    Wow! Ireland looks absolutely incredible, and beautiful. I love the picture of the cows.
    Also, I had no idea there were so many different kinds of peanut butters!

  14. Kristen says:

    I went to Ireland almost a year ago with my family. Their PB was AMAZING!!! We actually stayed in killarney-right across the street from the national park!!! You were lucky to travel around!
    And Smithwick’s is my favorite beer! they sell it here in stl!

    • Nick says:

      Do you remember which brand of peanut butter you liked the best?

      Killarney was great. Having a car made it all that much better though, we were able to drive into the park and stop/explore other areas and of course, travel to those other cities =)

      I can’t believe I never had Smithwick’s until Ireland, I guess I never really noticed it before but it’s delicious! I always thought Guinness was my favorite beer but now I’m not so sure…

      • Kristen says:

        I dont remember the brand..I wish I did so I could find it!
        Oh man, guinness. I never liked it, even after time in Ireland. haha But I still love smithwicks!

  15. Lisa Fine says:

    Found you on KERF’s blog this morning, and love that you make your own peanut butter.

    I was in Ireland and Northern Ireland in December, and my boyfriend and I made sure to buy a jar of (organic) peanut butter to get our protein fix, and to have something easy on hand to eat with delicious soda bread. :)

    • Nick says:

      Do you rememeber which brand? Was it that Meridian brand?

      You know, I don’t think I even had soda bread while I was there….wow, how did I overlook that?

  16. I’ve been to Ireland 5 times and studied abroad there but never saw so many peanut butters! Maybe they are finally catching on:)
    Glad you had a good trip. Ireland is beautiful!

  17. Nicola says:

    Found you via KERF’s blog, I’m an Irish reader living in Dublin and a recently converted peanut butter fanatic so I really enjoyed this entry! I get very envious reading about the different flavours you Americans enjoy, and I was ridiculously happy to find a couple of gourmet supermarkets have started selling Dark Chocolate Dreams recently (for a relatively hefty price, but it’s worth it)… now if only I could get my hands on some of the other flavours. Some day…

    There’s a health shop in Rathmines, Dublin 6 that sell their own home made peanut butter- they’re called the Hopsack. It’s lovely, and affordable at about €1.70 but seems to be sold out whenever I want it the most.

    • Nick says:

      Ah yes, well the store I mentioned above has the Dark Chocolate Dreams and I think the White Chocolate Wonderful too (you can see it in the picture above). You’ll have to just start making your own flavors! Here’s to get you started: PB Flavors.

      And that Hopsack place sounds delicious. You should just buy 10 jars of it when it finally is available!

      • Nicola says:

        Just a few weeks ago I bought a food processor with the intention of using it to make nut butters… I think I may have a problem. Thanks for the link, it will definitely come in handy!

        • Nick says:

          Excellent! When you say you may “have a problem”, do you mean that you may “have an addiction”? If so, welcome to the club =).

          Homemade peanut butter is the best. I recommend finding roasted/salted peanuts (not in the shell and the largest, crunchiest ones you can get) and using those. You can play with the coarseness of the grind (super-creamy vs. coarse/almost-chunky, both are good) and the best part is when it’s freshly made, it’s really warm and very aromatic.

          But to make the different flavors I linked to before, you can use any kind of peanut butter, homemade or store-bought. Just make sure you get a fairly smooth/creamy peanut butter to make the flavors since the added sugar and other ingredients tend to thicken the peanut butter a little bit. If you use store bought, try to find a natural peanut butter that is very creamy and contains only peanuts and salt. Good luck and have fun!

  18. marie perry says:

    Glad you liked Ireland – I’m a chef and culinary student and I’m working on developing a natural peanut butter product in Ireland and I was amazed by the recipes you have and the different flavours of PB you have – I’ll let you know when it’s up and running -I’m in talks with Kelkin to develop the product.

    • Nick says:

      Very interesting. Do you plan to perform the full process in Ireland (growing the peanuts and processing into peanut butter)?

    • michael hayden says:

      Could you call or email me as i have some plans to import peanuts from USA for processing into various food products.
      PNB is one of them,and a discussion may be of some benfit.

  19. marie perry says:

    no only very early stage of business plan – Ireland doesn’t really have the weather for growing peanuts – too much rain – thats why it’s so green:) will keep you posted if it all works out:)

  20. bob leonard says:

    i am a californian retired and living in Ireland…friends in america ship me peanut butter in 4 pound jars……here in the west of ireland i have never seen an american brand of peanut butter in the stores..only the local Irish stuff like Panda..and they all come in come in small jars…but with big price tags. amazed to see jif and skippy on the shelf in the picture you posted…it gives me hope. now if only i could find sweet pickle relish and bread and butter slices in ireland…..bob

    • Nick says:

      Yes bob, it IS possible to find! Unfortunately that was in Dublin so you’ll have to travel East quite a bit, but that’s not to say it doesn’t exist out in the West! As for the relish and pickles, I don’t even have a clue where to begin with that – you should learn to make your own!

  21. Magick_Lady says:

    I married someone from Dublin , so now life there and i find the smooth Panda peanut butter one of the best tho , i eat it every evening before bed :)))))

    • Nick says:

      Really? I still need to try it! I gotta go back to Ireland I guess. I’ve never had peanut butter right before bed, but I could see it putting me in a good/perfect mood for sleep!

  22. Magick_Lady says:

    i eat every night my 2 to 4 sandwiches with that panda peanut butter as a midnight snack , maybe its only me but I’m hooked LOL . It kills off that tiny hungry feeling i get , late at night :)))))))))

  23. Magick_Lady says:

    It does satisfy and the dozing of till morning goes easier too then ;)

  24. Franklin says:

    Dear Nick, Thank you for the information on peanut butter in Ireland. I have decided to take a jar of my favorite (Trader Joe’s) on my upcoming trip. By the way, does anyone else reading this make an old standby for our family: a peanut butter, sweat pickle relish, mayonnaise and lettuce sandwich? I will have to try the Peanut Butter Boy brand.

    • Nick says:

      Yes, bring some along! Some people say Panda brand is awful but some people seem to be hooked on it, so you could always give that jar a shot too. But a nice jar of Trader Joe’s is hard to beat, except for Peanut Butter Boy brand of course!!

  25. Naomi says:

    Your blog post could not have been more fortuitous! I am moving to Ireland in August and I have been wondering about accessibility of PB (I know, I know, first world problems) but it’s important to know!!! So thanks! The information in your blog was actually really helpful.

    • Nick says:

      Great! Good luck Naomi. My recommendation would be to bring as many jars of American peanut butter, preferably PBB =), as you can fit in your luggage, just to make sure you get off on the right foot.

  26. Michelle says:

    Nick, we just came back from Ireland 2 weeks ago! It was the absolute best vacation we have ever taken! We stayed in Monkstown with our friends and toured from Greystone up to Howth. The Guinness was Awesome! Came back to US and not even close! I brought back Kilken peanut butter because I got addicted to it! I am now going to have to order it online! The food was Fantastic. I am sad, though because I cannot find the European Red Wines here:(

    • Nick says:

      Awesome! It’s such a unique place, isn’t it? The Guinness is hardly worth drinking in the US, it’s just not the same. Red wine too, it’s just so plentiful and cheap over there!

      If you like Kelkin, you’ll definitely like PBB. I based PBB off of Kelkin, but we keep the skins on and roast it a little more so PBB has MUCH more flavor!

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