Does fat Ireland really need a drive-through doughnut shop?

Krispy Kreme is to open its first Irish outlet in the autumn

The first doughnut machine was invented in New York City in 1920.

Ah here. A drive-through doughnut shop? Is that really what an increasingly fat Ireland needs? As if it weren't bad enough that the all-too-lovely sugary treats are almost entirely devoid of nutrition, it will soon be possible to pick up a box of the things without burning so much as a single calorie by doing anything as tiresome as getting off your behind or walking into a shop.

This, as research estimates that 85,000 of today’s children on the island of Ireland will die prematurely due to overweight and obesity – more than twice the entire Irish death toll in the first World War.

“After months of speculation, Krispy Kreme is delighted to officially announce today that it will open its first Irish store in autumn 2018,” the press release gushes. Months of speculation? By who?

"Irish fans of the brand," according to the release which goes on to breathlessly announce details of the company's plans for a factory store - complete with a ridiculous drive-through -near the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre this autumn.


"It is with great excitement that we today announce that the OG of doughnuts, Krispy Kreme Original Glazed, is coming to Ireland this October along with many other delicious flavours for Irish customers to enjoy," Krispy Kreme country director Alex Drysdale said.

Drysdale might well be excited but he may also have missed the doughnut boat because if there is one thing that we are not in short supply of right now in Ireland it is doughnut shops.

They have swept over Ireland like a sugary virus in recent years with almost than 30 opening in Dublin alone over the last 18 months.

Doughnuts have suddenly gone on from being an unfashionable lump of sugary grease that is bad for the heart and worse for the waistline to being a super-cool hipster treat beloved of those who wear skinny jeans and don’t trouble their ankles with anything as ridiculous as socks.

The food photograph platform du jour, Instagram, is to blame for its re-invention and there are well over 10 million separate photographs of doughnuts on the social media platform.

You'd have to wonder what a ship captain's mammy called Elizabeth Gregory would make of it all. She knew doughnuts before they were cool and is credited with inventing them in the middle of the 19th Century although she borrowed heavily from the Dutch.

They introduced the doughnut to New Amsterdam as it was known under entirely appealing name olykoeks (or oily cakes). Oily cakes did not really take off. Then Gregory came along. She deep-fried dough using nutmeg and cinnamon for her son's sea journeys and added nuts to the centre just in case the treat wouldn't cook all the way through. And so the doughnut was christened.

Her son Hanson took credit for the hole. In an interview with the Boston Post at the turn of the last century, he said "the first doughnut hole ever seen by mortal eyes" was created with the top of a round tin pepper box.

Why is still a matter of conjecture although the most likely reason was it saved on dough and saved him money.

The first doughnut machine was invented in New York City in 1920 by a Russian chap called Adolph Levitt, and it started to take off.

It got another boost in the 1930s when a Frenchman called Joe LeBeau fell on hard times in Kentucky and sold his secret recipe and his brand name, Krispy Kreme, to an opportunistic shop owner called Ishmael Armstrong. By the 1950s Krispy Kremes were all over the US, and were fighting with Dunkin Donuts for dominance.

Both names are still synonymous with doughnuts in the US, but it is only Krispy Kreme which appears to be planning to make its mark in Ireland.

For now.