What is a Full Irish Breakfast?

Full Irish Breakfast. Getty Images

A full breakfast is one of those expressions here in Britain and Ireland which covers a multitude of different things, to different people. It all depends on where you live. What it means in the general sense is the traditional cooked breakfast of both Britain and Ireland.  A full Irish breakfast, therefore, by definition, is the traditional breakfast in Ireland.

What Is in a Full Irish Breakfast?

There are common ingredients across all full breakfasts in Britain and Ireland, including some or all of the following: Bacon, sausages, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, perhaps some cooked leftover potatoes made into a hash or a bubble and squeak.

There will also be toast, butter, marmalade and lots of tea to drink.

In a full Irish, the differences are the breakfast will also include black or white pudding which is also known as drisheen.  Bread will also often be lovely Irish Soda Bread - to differentiate it from the others. And, you may also find Fried potato farl, boxty as an alternative to brown soda bread.​

When is a Full Irish Served?

A full Irish is usually served at breakfast time, but it is also popular at other times, sometimes to replace lunch. Rarely is it served every day of the week, now reserved instead for the weekend or on vacation in hotels and Bed and Breakfasts where no stay would be complete without one.

Are There Other Names for a Full Irish Breakfast?

Yes, in Northern Ireland the breakfast is also known as (in Ulster) an Ulster Fry.

What is Drunk with a Full Irish Breakfast?

Tea has long been considered the drink of the English with belief that the English drink more tea than anyone else.

Well, no. It is the Irish who drink the most tea; more than any other country in the world. So guess what they drink for breakfast? Te of course, though there is a fashion to drink coffee, but tea still rules.

Other Full Breakfast Components Around the UK and Ireland

Interchangeable items now considered a part of a full breakfast in Britain and Ireland (according to Market Kitchen) are:
Sausages, bacon, eggs (scrambled / buttered / rumbled/ poached egg /fried), black pudding, eggy bread, crumpets, kippers, bubble and squeak, jolly boys (pancakes), onions (fried or rings) corned beef hash, devilled kidneys, kedgeree, omelette, fried bread, toast, Derbyshire oatcakes, English muffins, tomatoes (grilled, fried), mushrooms, hash browns, baked beans, potato scones/tattie scones, Arbroath smokies, bannocks, butteries/rowies (lard-based bread roll), herring, haggis, Lorne (square Scottish) sausage, white pudding, laver bread, Penclawdd cockles, Glamorgan (vegetarian) sausage, Crempog (Welsh pancakes), wheaten bread, potato farl and potato pancakes.