Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sligo's Gift to Central Europe

A man from my beloved Ballymote Eduard Taaffe was twice Prime Minister for the Hapsburgs in the late 19th century. To be completely accurate he was a descendant of the Ballymote Taaffes though he did retain the title Baron of Ballymote, without ever really exercising power in his fief. He was a man whose political liberalism compared very well with other statesmen of that century, particularly with regard to the extension of suffrage and his policies on the Slavic minorities. His ancestor Nicholas Taaffe, the 6th Viscount, who was born in Ballymote, is credited with introducing the potato to Silesia in 1763. Who would have thought that a Sligoman should be indirectly responsible for that staple of Central European cuisine: the potato dumpling?