Barry’s Tea and Irish Scones

After recovering from the little episode of the squeaking suitcase wheels with a little naplet, we were eager to explore Dublin.

We emerged into rush hour traffic. Hm… not so good. Slightly shell-shocked by the number of sirens*, we found our way to the brandnew Science Gallery Cafe, where we had our very first Irish Tea (not to be confused with Irish Coffee, which contains a splash of alcohol).

We also had our very first Irish scone and jam.

Science Gallery Café

Science Gallery Café

Ooooohhh, those were gooooood.

Our local (South African) scones are usually big, fluffy and white, and often have an aftertaste of baking soda or baking powder that leaves your mouth feeling a bit dry. The Irish version was slightly smaller, more compact, and it had raisins or currants in it. I have no idea what they use as a raising agent? Yeast perhaps? They reminded me pleasantly of the barmbracks (Báirín Breac) I had made for Halloween last year (check out the Wikipedia for a good recipe). Add some melt-into-the-warm-scone butter, a big dollop of jam, and we were in heaven.

Not surprisingly, scones with jam became my staple dish in almost all the restaurants and coffee shops we visited around the country. Actually, it wasn’t just because they tasted good, but also because they were usually the least expensive item on the menu! At an exchange rate of more than R12 to the Euro, we had to watch what we ate.

And part of said quest to keep our expenses low was that we had brought along our very own thermos-flask. 🙂 We bought a big packet of Barry’s Tea in Dublin, and all the B&Bs had a kettle in the room, so we could fill up the flask every morning. And hubby always managed to charm a splash of milk out of the land ladies.

Add to that some apples and bananas, a supply of cream-crackers and – what became my personal favourite – chocolate digestive biscuits (the ones with the DARK chocolate were sooooo good), and we had enough sustenance (if not nutrition) to tide us over between a filling Continental or Irish breakfast at the B&B and supper.


* What is with that, by the way? There were constantly sirens howling up and down the streets. Sometimes these were ambulances or police cars, but twice I saw a whole colonnade of cars with tinted windows, escorted by motor bikes, which raced ahead to block of parts of the street until the ‘important people’ had roared past. Dublin sure is is a noisy place.

One thought on “Barry’s Tea and Irish Scones

  1. I just found a recipe for scones on an Irish website. Definitely worth quoting in full:

    Perfect Scones

    From the Kitchen of Mary Lydon,
    Dunsany, Co. Meath, Ireland


    3 cups self-rising flour
    3 teaspoons baking powder
    Pinch of sea salt
    1 stick plus 1 tablespoon butter, softened
    3 tablespoons castor (superfine) sugar, plus 2 teaspoons to dust
    3/4 cup sultanas or raisins
    3 large eggs
    1 cup ice-cold milk, extra to glaze


    Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together into a large bowl. Add the butter in little pieces and rub it in using the tips of your fingers and lifting the flour up high to aerate it. When the butter is incorporated the mixture should look like fine bread crumbs. Sir in the sugar, then sultanas.

    In another bowl, beat the egg with the milk. Pour 3/4 into the flour mixture and quickly mix together with a large table knife, adding extra mixture as necessary to give a soft but not sticky dough. Do not over-mix; the quicker and lighter the mixing, the higher your scones will rise.

    Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and very gently roll with a rolling pin or pat out with your fingers to 3/4 – 1 inch thickness. Using a 2-1/2 or 3 inch biscuit cutter, press out as many rounds as you can, gently reshaping the trimmings to cut out a couple more if you can.

    Place the scones on the lined baking sheet, brush the tops with milk and lightly sprinkle with extra sugar. Bake at 350 for 20 – 25 minutes until risen and golden brown.

    To check if the scones are ready, light squeeze the sides of one; the dough should be springy. Place on wire rack and eat while warm, split and buttered, with or without clotted cream or jam.

    Yield: 12 to 15 scones

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