16 March 2021
Shamrock fun and potato peeling competition
SHAMROCK-shaped potato cakes and a potato-peeling competition are some of the quirky ways a small Dublin city centre restaurant has been marking St Patrick’s Day in the midst of the pandemic.
Steve Quilligan, owner of the Irish Potato Cake Company on Bachelor’s Walk, said in a recent interview with the Belfast Telegraph that it had been a “horrendous” year for the small business, which opened in January last year, less than three months before Covid-19 restrictions were introduced.
“By March 1st we were getting really busy. I was saying, ‘Wow, this is going to be a successful operation for sure’. We were perfectly timed to pick up the St Patrick’s Day boom,” he told the Belfast Telegraph. "Instead, as you know, Covid hit.”
Mr Quilligan said businesses like his relied heavily on tourists and students, and lockdown has had a devastating effect, but amongst the gloom, he rediscovered his love of cooking.
“I had to actually do the work. I had to come in and start cooking and do everything. I couldn’t afford it otherwise. I was feeling really down, I thought what’s the point. Naturally you start to question. But once I started cracking on and doing the cooking, I loved it.”
Despite the difficulties facing the industry, Mr Quilligan said he was determined to celebrate St Patrick’s Day.
“I wanted to do something positive but also something in the real world, something that wasn’t online,” he said. “Virtual is so boring.
“So we have a beef and Guinness shamrock-shaped potato cake on the takeaway menu. They put the funny hat on, peel potatoes and obviously maintain social distancing and wear masks. We give them a homemade lemonade or cup of tea or sample of potato cake if they tag us on Instagram.”