Wednesday, 2 November 2011



    Courtesy of
    Ireland Newsletter 
    THE HISTORY OF THE IRISH CHIPPER ================================= 
     It is a well known fact in Ireland that the majority of chippers are run not by the Irish but by Italians! The first of his countrymen to set up in Ireland was Giuseppe Cervi who arrived in Dublin late in the 1880s. He worked as a labourer until he had saved enough to buy a hand-cart and cooker on which he could prepare and sell chips to the many locals leaving pubs at night. With his wife he established the first ever Dublin chipper on Pearse Street and is even credited with being the originator of the famous Dublin saying: 'a one and one' (meaning 1 fish and 1 chips portion). By the year 1909 there were 20 fish and chip shops in Dublin alone. This new industry was certainly not confined to Ireland with the north of England having many more chippers than Dublin. Scotland became the undisputed centre of the trade with thousands of Italian chippers operating there by the time of the first war. Immigration from Scotland into Ireland and especially in to Ulster had continued during the eighteenth century and of course the Italian chippers arrived with them. It should be noted that the most famous chipper in Ireland, Beshoffs, was set up by the Ukranaian Ivan Beshov who arrived in Ireland in the 1940s, and who was originally arrested upon suspicion of being a German spy! He proved his innocence of that charge and in a salt and vinegar covered irony his first chipper was destroyed by the German Luftwaffe who accidentally bombed the North Strand area of Fairview in Dublin in 1941. He relocated to the city centre and became a Dublin institution!  
     =============== MY FINEST HOUR by Pat Watson =============== 
     In the nineteen-forties cutting the turf was one of the most important tasks of the year for most families. Without turf there would be no cooking or heating in the homes of Ireland. Considerable planning went into the week on the bog as this usually involved all hands, that is the entire family, from the baby in the horses collar to the daddy on the 'slane'. In between were the little girls for looking after the fire, the cooking and the baby, the middle boy for catching the sods and filling the barrows, the older boy and the mother for wheeling the barrow loads out the bog. The bogs were divided in stripes about fifty yards wide so there were several families within sight of each other. Whatever anybody did, everyone knew. In the Shannon valley, Roscommon, Westmeath, Offaly, when the 'slanesman' threw up the sods a boy caught them and placed them on the barrow in well ordered symmetric double rows. Each row had twelve sods and weighed nearly a hundred weight. Barrow-men usually complained if more than two rows were loaded on the barrow, as the terrain was rough with clumps of caoibh and heather. In other parts of the country, the 'slanesman' just threw the sods up on the bank and somebody loaded the barrow with a pitchfork in a somewhat higgledy-piggledy fashion. This was how we found things east of the Sliabh Bloom Mountains near Mountrath at the end of the forties. My uncle had bought a farm there and come April he employed a barrow-man and brought me as the turf catcher. When I started catching the sods, work ceased on every bank and a crowd gathered. 'Could I try that?' said a much older boy but the sods slipped from his grasp. You could not be up to the Connaught men, was the general consensus. This was my finest hour. Imagine a ten-year-old boy being the envy of the whole bog. Could things ever get better? 'My Finest Hour ' is one of sixty lyrical yarns from 'Original Irish Stories' by Pat Watson, Creagh, Bealnamulla, Athlone, Ireland. First published in May 2006. Visit: or you can email the author here: 
     PHRASE: Ta suil agam go bhfuil tu i mbarr na slainte 
    PRONOUNCED: taw su-ill ah-gum guh will tu ih marr nah slawn-che 
    MEANING: I hope you are in the best of health 
    PHRASE: Ni raibh am agam scriobh go dti seo 
    PRONOUNCED: knee rouh omm ah-gum skreevh guh dee shuh 
    MEANING: I hadn't time to write until now 
    PHRASE: Scriobh chugam go luath 
    PRONOUNCED: skreevh coo-gum guh lu-ah 
    MEANING: write to me soon
    Archive of Irish Phrases 
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