A Hidden Plant-Based Haven in a Starkly Beautiful Corner of Ireland
Off Ireland’s Western coast, about an hour’s drive south from Galway, are the Aran Islands: Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer. The Islands are small, with a total human population of around 1,200, and are legendary across Ireland due to their rugged natural and archaeological beauty, and to the survival of more traditional modes of life. It's perhaps the last place you'd think to find a cafe committed to establishing animals as friends, not food!
The Aran Islands' easternmost, and smallest island is Inisheer. With approximately 260 residents, it is a quiet, windswept, enchanted island of gravely topsoil scattered with wildflower, ivy-covered stone walls, meandering lanes, prehistoric sites, and welcoming local residents.
Inisheer, is not, perhaps, where you would expect to find a vegan cafe. And yet, visitors there will also encounter Bláth na Gréine, the “most westerly vegan café in Europe.”
The cafe is run by a young couple: Fionnán and Rebecca. Fionnán grew up on Inisheer; the cafe, originally a tea room and craft shop, has been with Fionnán's family since the 1970s. Rebecca is from County Mayo and was working in the pharmaceutical industry before she met Fionnán and deciding to move to Inis Oírr and turn her hobby (baking) into her full-time job. Both are vegan, so one day they decided to take a chance and see if they could convert their tea room into a vegan cafe that would last.
The couple is now in the second year of their experiment. The vegan food app Happy Cow has been a huge boon to them. They serve plenty of non-vegan customers as well, and are also doing a good deal of business with the island locals.
As for their future prospects, Fionnán and Rebecca are optimistic. Veganism and environmentalism have both exploded in popularity in Ireland over the last 4 years or so. Ireland is now a legitimate vegan travel destination. This is the result of the increase in veganism among the Irish population, of course. But the explosion of vegan options will also surely be the cause of a further increase in that population moving forward.
Bláth na Gréine stands to benefit from this trend and is doing its part in making veganism — delicious veganism, without compromise — as accessible as possible. Today you can travel, truly, to one of the most remote and starkly beautiful corners of Irleand, and enjoy fine vegan dining in the midst of your explorations.
Inisheer and Aran Islands are essential destinations for anyone exploring Ireland. By supporting businesses like Bláth na Gréine and choosing to eat plant-based, you can spare thousands of animals from senseless cruelty. Learn how to transition with our free and easy Vegan Starter Guide today: idausa.org/VegGuide