Heat pot over medium high heat and add the vegetable oil. Working in small batches, saute the lamb until golden brown in color. Set aside. Add the onion, carrots, and barley to the pot. Stir to coat, about 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, stout, bay leaf, and thyme to the pot. Return the lamb to the pot, place the potatoes on top and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until the lamb is fork tender.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with the parsley and chives. Serve with Irish Soda Bread.
Irish Soda Bread:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, combine the flours, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Grate the cold butter into the dry ingredients and blend by hand until the mixture resembles cornmeal.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and the egg. Using your hands, mix the wet and dry mixtures together until the dough can be formed into a ball.
Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until soft and elastic. Shape the dough into a round loaf, about 6 inches in diameter. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Dust the top of the loaf with flour. Use a sharp knife to cut an "X" into the dough, about half the depth of the loaf and to within 1-inch of the edge. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes (see Cook's Note*).
The finished loaf should sound hollow when the bottom is tapped.