Is any variety of meat-and-root vegetables stew native to Ireland. As in all traditional folk dishes, the exact recipe is not consistent from time or place to place. Common ingredients include lamb, or mutton (mutton is used as it comes from less tender sheep over a year old, is fattier, and has a stronger flavour, and was generally more common in less-affluent times) as well as potatoes, onions, and parsley. It may sometimes also include carrots. Irish stew is also made with kid goat.
Irish stew is a celebrated Irish dish, yet its composition is a matter of dispute. Purists maintain that the only acceptable and traditional ingredients are neck mutton chops or kid, potatoes, onions, and water. Others would add such items as carrots, turnips and pearl barley; but the purists maintain that they spoil the true flavour of the dish. The ingredients are boiled and simmered slowly for up to two hours. Mutton was the dominant ingredient because the economic importance of sheep lay in their wool and milk produce and this ensured that only old or economically non-viable animals ended up in the cooking pot, where they needed hours of slow cooking. Irish stew is the product of a culinary tradition that relied almost exclusively on cooking over an open fire. It seems that Irish stew was recognised as early as about 1800.