On the batter for National Fish and Chips Day


SMALL PRINT:MUSH UP those peas and crack open a snack box, it’s National Fish and Chips Day on Wednesday. The Irish Traditional Italian Chippers Association will be offering half-price fish and chips at their outlets (look out for the ITICA logo) for the second annual event following the success of 2010.

The history of Irish-Italian chippers goes back to the 1880s following the emigration of families from Val Di Comino in central Italy. It was Italian chippers that popularised the phrase “one and one” as a way of ordering fish and chips (namely Palma Cervi at a chipper on Pearse Street) and since then, the core products of Irish chipper menus have remained the same.

Today, where the best chipper chips can be found prompts immediate discussion, with most people loyal to their local (shout out to Liberos in Deansgrange, Co Dublin).

But whether you’re a patron of McDonagh’s Fish Chips Bar in Galway or the Galley Takeaway in Co Down, John Dory’s in Belfast, Fishy Fishy Chippie in Kinsale, or Burdock’s in Dublin’s Christchurch, a happy National Fish and Chips Day ican be had, as long as there’s plenty of salt and vinegar to hand.

Ireland has never fallen for deep-frying inappropriate items of food – such as Mars bars, haggis and Creme Eggs – as much our Scottish counterparts, but there are still some unique items on Irish menus that require deciphering.

Here, we present the Irish Chipper Menu Decoder

Wurly burgerA deep-fried batter burger in a bun with the usual burger toppings. Its origins are disputed, although the Mona Lisa chipper in Crumlin, Dublin 12 is frequently credited with its invention.

Crispy bitsLeftover bits of batter deep-fried. Leo Burdock’s in Christchurch, Dublin 2, loves them so much they’re actually on the menu.

Taco friesChips topped with a chilli con carne-type mixture and grated cheese. Popularised by Abrakebabra.

Super chipChips with chicken gravy, perfected by Pit-Stop in Kilkeel, Co Down.

Spice burgerBurger made from beef, onions, cereals, herbs and spices with an outer bread crust made by Walsh’s Family Foods. Threatened with extinction in 2009 but went back into businesses following a surprising public outcry.

3-in-1A hangover (often literally) from Chinese takeaways made-up of chips, fried rice and curry sauce in a tray.

Obama: the musical presidency

IT’S NO SURPRISE that a host of musical acts will perform before Barack Obama’s speech at College Green today, as the US president is probably the most musically connected commander-in-chief ever.

Obama’s Best Musical Moments

In 2008 during the presidential campaign, Obama aped the “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” move taking his cue from a Jay-Z song and video while reacting to criticism from Hillary Clinton.

An instrumental version of The National’s Fake Empiresoundtracked the landmark Signs of Hope and Change video that aired before Obama’s speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

In January 2009, at the We Are Oneconcert, Obama showed remarkable musical and pop-culture savvy while greeting a long line of celebrities including Mary J Blige, John Legend and Queen Latifa.

“Hey, yo, what’s going on, queen?” he said, greeting Beyonce, before joking with his wife Michelle about how he could do the Single Ladiesdance, complete with hand movements.

In October 2009, the day after he won the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama introduced Lady Gaga at the Human Rights Campaign dinner in Washington DC. “It’s a privilege to be here tonight to open for Lady Gaga. I’ve made it,” the US president quipped.

In December 2009, Obama presented Bruce Springsteen with a Kennedy Centre Honour at the White House. Introducing Springsteen, Obama said: “I’m the President, but he’s the Boss.”

Obama’s U2 connections are numerous. Their song The City Of Blinding Lightsannounced his presence on stage in January 2008 when he won the Iowa caucuses, and a year later, the band performed for him at the Lincoln Memorial during his inauguration.

When music magazine Blender asked Obama what the top 10 tracks on his iPod were, Nina Simone, Kanye West, Marvin Gaye, the Rolling Stones and Fugees made the list.

Summer festivals are here, Knockanstockan and barrel

THOSE WHO have had enough of the bigger, commerical summer music festivals, might want to check out Knockanstockan, which will be launched of tomorrow night at Grand Social Club on Liffey Street, Dublin.

Now in its fifth year, Knockanstockan is billed as an “independent festival by musicians for musicians”. Taking place from July 22nd to 24th on the shores of Blessington Lake in Wicklow, the full line-up is yet to be announced, but organisers have given a taster of the featured bands, including Enemies, We Cut Corners, Sounds of a System Breakdown, Bipolar Empire and dozens more.

Knockanstockan has previously won the Best Small Festival Award at the Irish Festival Awards, and unlike more commercial enterprises, the festival has a six-point mission statement, aiming to bring musicians together and foster a community based on imagination and skills; to cut the cost of seeing live music; and to only affiliate with companies and collectives that “have a respect for our core ethos”.

If that sounds all quite serious, the results are far from chin-stroking, with a relaxed and good-natured party atmosphere reported at previous events.

Tickets are €75 for the weekend, with a “buy four get one free” offer available.

For more information on where to get tickets and line-up information, check out knockanstockan.ie.