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Around Ireland Spud magic in North

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

Potatoes have a special place in Irish history. But now a scientist is hunting for a man who claimed to have linked spuds to another field — fertility.

Dr. Josie Osborne was intrigued to hear a man appearing on TV praising potatoes as the perfect cure for a problematic love life, the Belfast Telegraph reported recently.

Dr. Osborne, who works for Glens of Antrim Potatoes, and has a Ph.D. in potato diseases, would like to know more.

"We’d like to give this man free potatoes for a year for helping to boost the image of the humble spud," she said.

"He was interviewed in Cookstown on television recently. They were investigating government statistics which showed a high birth rate in Antrim while the projection is for a low birth rate in Cookstown."

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Residents were asked to give their opinions and solutions to the problem.

"This man apparently said there was no need for Viagra — all you need is a good plate of spuds," she said. "I wonder if we have forgotten the power of the potato."

Historically, spuds have been linked to lust and in ancient civilizations the potato has associations with potency.

"Lord Byron said potatoes were the secret weapon of the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite. Obviously this man from Cookstown thinks so, too," Osborne said.

New tiger cubs

First the Celtic Tiger brought you the yuppie, then the dinky, and now, Ireland’s burgeoning economy has spawned a new cub: the dewks.

According to the Irish Examiner, the dewk is an acronym for "double earners with kids," as opposed to its earlier incarnation, dinky (double income no kids yet), and the yuppie (young upwardly mobile professional).

Massive capital inflation, that has seen house prices rise by hundreds of percentage points, is forcing the traditional sewk family (single earners with kids) to evolve into dewks.

Almost a millionaire

A County Kildare schoolteacher entered the annuals of Irish TV history recently becoming the nation’s first contestant to appear on "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"

The Leinster Leader reports that father of three Des O’Connor, a history and geography teacher from Newtown, Celbridge, pocketed £16,000 on the quiz show, which attracted record viewers. He was among 100 people randomly selected from the 1.5 million callers.

O’Connor was asked how many people the Abbey Theatre can take and by a sheer fluke he got the answer almost spot on.

"I had gone with a group of pupils to the Abbey last year and I remember the manager told me the capacity was 620 people," he said.

O’Connor was stunned when he was one of the 10 contestants selected.

"I was delighted. I didn’t give a fiddlers then. Once you’re on the seat you can only make money and you’ve time to relax and think about the answers."

He was stumped on a question about which author’s book formed the basis for the musical "Guys ‘n Dolls."

"I was very happy with what I got," he said. "Just go and enjoy it. It’s a great experience but a very tough day. You’re absolutely wrecked by the end of it."

Night-time ban

Increasing street violence has forced a judge in Ireland’s southeast to ban up to 20 nightclubs from serving alcohol until 2:30 a.m.

The Irish Examiner reports it is the first blanket ban decision governing an entire district.

Judge David Riordan said he would not grant special late-night drink exemptions beyond 2 a.m. in his district covering south Tipperary, west Waterford, and east Cork.

The judge’s decision was influenced by the growing number of young people appearing in his courtroom on drink-related charges. Many have no previous convictions for any offense, and their offenses are invariably associated with a charge that deals with intoxication.

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