Saturday 15 December 2018


Tayto crisps are not only one of Ireland's leading icons - they also have a place in snack food history as the world's first cheese and onion crisps.

Dubliner Joe 'Spud' Murphy came up with the legendary brand in 1954, because he found other crisp flavours somewhat insipid.

He started Tayto on O'Rahilly's Parade in Dublin with one van and eight employees. The crisps were cooked by hand in two deep fat fryers.

One of his early employees, Seamus Burke, was charged with perfecting the revolutionary new cheese and onion flavour. Burke, working on what was essentially nothing more sophisticated than a kitchen table, experimented until he came up with a cheese and onion flavour that his boss judged to be acceptable.

The brand name Tayto had its genesis in Joe Murphy's eldest son Joseph's inability to pronounce the word 'potato'. As a child, he called potatoes 'tatos'. So with the addition of a 'y', Mr Tayto was born - a cartoon-like potato-shaped figure in a hat and shop coat, printed on the bright, eye-catching crisp bags.

By the Sixties, the crisp maker was a millionaire. He drove around Dublin in a Rolls Royce and was hailed by the then Taoiseach, Sean Lemass, as the very acme of Irish entrepreneurial spirit. He died in 2001.

In a recent Today FM poll, Tayto crisps were voted Ireland's number one icon.

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