Irish Restaurants do tend to stock the "traditional" corned beef and cabbage - but did you know that dish was actually a New York invention? True Irish food tends to involve fresh fish, lamb stew, and fresh veggies. We've been to Ireland several times and adore it there. The best way to eat Irish food is the authentic way.
Irish restaurants outside of Ireland vary in their authenticity. Sure, many offer corned beef was on the menu, as well as potato dishes. The restaurants have to make some accommodations for the people who think those food options are authentic! However, a good Irish restaurant will also offer a variety of mouthwatering fresh dishes.
Ireland is an island nation - it's surrounded by ocean. Many parts of Ireland are famous for their fish-catching. Aran's famous sweaters were designed to help tell fishermen apart! Inland, there is a wealth of freshwater fishing as well. As a result, most Irish restaurants will have a selection fish dishes for your pleasure. Fish is very healthy for you!
In addition, Ireland is crawling with sheep. The times I've been there, you couldn't drive ten miles without finding sheep crossing the road or peering at you over a stone fence. Lamb is extremely popular with the Irish.
In Ireland, they love to eat fresh and local. The herbs come from their back yard gardens. The veggies come from the farm down the road. If you do the same, you're eating the Irish way.
It's been over a century since the great famine that the English system of potato farming caused. Irish farmers were all forced to grow potatoes as a cash crop instead of the vegetables they loved. Now that the Irish have control again, their multitudes of nutritious vegetables are legendary. Give a try of just about any vegetable dish offered and you're sure to be impressed.
If you must have some corned beef and cabbage, dig in! I admit that corned beef and cabbage is a favorite dish of mine. Just ask them not to bring potatoes with it. Some alternatives that are offered include rutabagas or turnips. Enjoy the rest.
Toast with some Irish whiskey or a nice bottle of Harp.