People & Places

Ireland - the Emerald Isle


Welcome to Ireland – a small country with a big reputation, a breath-taking landscape and fascinating, friendly people. Everything you’ve heard is true - Ireland is a real stunner!

And what’s more, Fyffes is headquartered in its vibrant capital, Dublin. Find out more…

It’s all about love (or, where it all began...)

Once upon a time there lived one Edward Wathen Fyffe whose beloved wife Ida contracted tuberculosis. The young tea merchant took the love of his life to the Canary Islands in 1884 to recover from the illness and there he discovered a fruit which would change his life – the banana. Fyffe decided that England was ripe for the exotic fruit and began commercial imports of bananas into London in September 1888. And you’ll be pleased to know that Ida made a full recovery...

Just two years later in Ireland the McCann family's involvement with fruit began when Charles McCann, the grandfather of the current chairman of Fyffes, David McCann, began packing apples in stone barrels for shipment to Canada. By 1902, McCann had opened his own green grocer's store in Dundalk, becoming the first to sell the Fyffes brand bananas on the Irish market and establishing a business which is now one of the world’s largest fruit distributors.

To this day Ireland has a major significance for Fyffes. We have asked our Irish colleagues Emma Hunt-Duffy and Brian Renaghan to share with us some of their favourite things about Dublin.

 “Dublin is a vibrant, welcoming, multicultural capital, with so much to see and do,” says Emma Hunt-Duffy, Sales and Marketing Manager for Ireland. “My favourite place is Grafton Street during the weeks running up to Christmas, when there’s so much hustle and bustle and a brilliant festive atmosphere. George’s Street Arcade has some lovely market stalls, and the Exchequer does great pub grub and cocktails for when your tired feet need a rest from shopping!”

And a classic one nobody should miss out - a pint of Guinness in Keogh’s pub, followed by fresh cod and chips from one of the many of ‘chippers’ around the city.

Emma loves taking her children to the Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. It was originally formed as a royal hunting Park in the 1660s and opened to the public in 1747. A large herd of fallow deer still remain to this day. So much to do there, from playgrounds, to feeding ducks, cycling and of course the Dublin Zoo located in the Phoenix Park.

As one of the world’s oldest, yet popular zoos, the 28 hectare park in the heart of Dublin is home to some 400 animals in safe environment where education and conservation combine for an exciting and unforgettable experience.

Living history – Fyffes in Dublin

Tucked away on the top floor of a banana ripening centre in Swords is a little pearl - the Fyffes Museum Room. Photographs and historical documents tell the story of the world’s oldest fruit brand. “There is one photograph which I find particularly touching,” says Emma. “During the years of the Second World War, imported fruit and vegetables had been widely unavailable in the UK. The photo was taken in December 1945 as the very first shipment of bananas arrived and shows a little girl trying her first banana.”

The collection includes original exhibits such as ledgers, sailing schedules, historic adverts and transcripts of interviews with early Fyffes employees. It gives a fascinating insight into the history of the fruit that has become part of our daily lives.

Crazy records

Besides sports the 4.7 million people who live in Ireland also have a great passion for records. Ireland is home to the Guinness Book of Records. The idea came about in the early 1950’s when Sir Hugh Beaver, Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery, attended a shooting party. There, he and his hosts argued about the fastest game bird in Europe and failed to find an answer in any reference book. The first Guinness Book of Records was then published in 1955.

Did you know?

The record for eating bananas is held by a student – he managed to peel and devour seven whole bananas in 60 seconds and entered the annual record book in 2011.

Dublin also holds a few records – it boasts the youngest population in Europe, for example. Some 50 per cent of the Dubliners, as the natives are called, are under 25. This may be one of the reasons why the Irish city is so cosmopolitan and full of life and excitement.

It’s all about Nature.

Another couple of Brian’s favourites are the Cliffs of Moher in the west and the Giant´s Causeway in the north of Ireland. Two breath-taking discoveries…

A view forever.

Step onto the edge of the world and into an awe-inspiring scene. At the Cliffs of Moher you encounter nature in its wildest, purest form – the sight of the rugged cliffs keeping back the mighty ocean, the taste of the salty air and the haunting sounds of birds as they swoop and shriek!

In the footsteps of giants.

For centuries the Giant’s Causeway has inspired artists, stirred scientific debate and captured the imagination of all who see it. I love to visit the world-famous basalt columns, climb the Shepherd's Steps and hike along the cliff-top trail to get a bird's eye view of the beautiful causeway coast.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

Anyone planning to visit Ireland in spring will get to know the Irish really well because on 17 March the whole country celebrates Saint Patrick’s Day. The streets are decked out in green and decorated with shamrocks, people are dressed in green enjoying countless parades and festivals. Not only in Ireland is green the prevailing colour on this day. Saint Patrick's Day is celebrated in more countries than any other national festival. In Chicago, for example, even some rivers are dyed green on Saint Patrick’s Day.

Traditional Food and Drink on St. Patrick’s Day

Bacon and cabbage is what most people have on this day. Another popular dish is Irish soda bread and potato pancakes. Irish pub owners go crazy on this day, putting green food colouring into their beers and traditional Irish Guinness Stout is a sell out in all Irish pubs! People also drink lots of Irish coffee, which is made with warm whiskey, sugar, coffee and topped off with cream. Sounds delicious? It is!

A rich cultural heritage, great nature, and a young vibe, Ireland is definitely worth a visit!