George’s Street Arcade is Ireland’s first purpose-built shopping centre, and one of Europe’s oldest, having been built in 1881. We popped in to talk to a few of the stallholders.
Milo Póil, Man of Aran Fudge
I’m here in the Arcade just over two years, my third Christmas! I am the son of The Man of Aran Fudge! It’s my dad who makes all this stuff, he’s being doing it for 20 years now. It’s actually a family recipe. It’s my Grandmother’s recipe, well, the tiger butter flavour anyway. That recipe was made 90+ years ago with only a few changes! This is one of the only permanent stalls of ours. We’ve another on Ínis Óirr, which is where my family come from. My cousin Eoghan has it now. I’m actually the only one who was born on the mainland. I’m in Dublin since 1999. I came up and started bartending for about 15 years. I absolutely adored it and then the last year and a half of it, I didn’t want to work till 4 in the morning. I had a couple of years of soul-searching or dossing – as I was on the dole – looking for something to do. Now I’m doing this, thanks to my Dad!
My favourite flavour changes depending on what season it is. We have things like the Christmas pudding – that only comes out a Christmas. The rhubarb and custard only comes out in summer – when we have the rhubarb growing in the back garden. It’s being made in the Aran Islands by my cousin but mostly by my Dad in Meath. He brings it to market. My father does mostly market fairs, exhibitions and the ploughing championships – it’s honestly his favourite place on earth! He loves it! It’s the people. He does about 200 shows a year, but those other days he’s not at home counting money or watching telly, he’s at home making fudge!
The simplest fudge for example (once you know what you’re doing) is easy to make but still takes 8 maybe 9 hours to make it. Another day and a half for it to settle and that’s just the simplest one. I’ve twice tried to make the fudge, it’s just so long winded to do and when I’m not here I’m addicted to video games. Making fudge would get in the way of my gaming and my cousin is just better at it! He’s been making it the last five years and is starting to come up with his own flavours now.