As the cold winter months set in, Irish kitchens set about the task of keep their patrons warm and well fed with a fabulous selection of festive dishes.
Along with the ubiquitous roast turkey and stuffing, the Irish Christmas dinner includes boiled ham seasoned with cloves and glazed with honey. Accompanying this feast you may find cabbage seasoned with caraway seed, roasted parsnips and the Irish mixed grill of boiled potatoes, roast potatoes and mash.
After the dinner there's the pudding and in typical Irish fashion Christmas pudding is made with Irish whiskey, porter and drizzled in brandy butter.
But the festive flair doesn't stop there and in different parts of Ireland you'll find different traditional Christmas food. For example in Cork there is the festive delicacy of Spiced Beef. Though these days you can buy a spiced joint from the butcher ready made, but traditionally each family would make their own, to a closely guarded family recipe and takes around 2 or 3 weeks to prepare - but is well worth the wait.
In some northern parts of Ireland, they have a dish called Breakfast Duck, the traditional Christmas morning breakfast. The duck would be stuffed with an onion, studded with cloves, roasted for 45 minutes and served with soda bread.
A selection of cheeses always goes down well at Christmas and in Ireland there is Cashel Blue, and the internationally renowned Gubbeen cheese from West Cork , both cheeses have a rich and mature flavour.
And to drink...well the cold winter months require a special cure and so you'll see in the pubs, alongside the pints of Guinness, steaming glasses of whiskies or ports, served with hot water, sugar and a slice of lemon stuffed with cloves.
So if you are thinking of taking an Ireland Vacation during the Christmas period, be sure to sample of the wonderful festive delights on offer!