A disasterous attempt to attract tourists to Ireland's capital has led to a bitter feud between city councillors. While some claim that the 'potatina' festival had been a fun mash up, most believe the idea was half-baked.
After an enlightening holiday in Valencia, the city's tourism officer suggested they could mimic the world-famous 'Tomatina' festival. "It was supposed to be a celebration of local produce, the joyful exuberance of our people and a great reason to visit Dublin", explained John Pooley, still nursing a head wound from a wayward King Edward. "Who knew raw potatoes would be so hard?"
The city arranged for 150 tonnes of potatoes to be delivered to Phoenix Park, where an expectant crowd of 30,000 tourists and locals had gathered for the event. "It started well: there was singing, people had remembered their protective goggles, and the potato cocktails were flowing", explained Pooley. "The travel correspondent from the Times was a bit chippy but I knew that as soon as he felt the soft splat of spud on his scowling face, he'd drop the starchy attitude."
Valencia traditionally delivers tomatoes by truck, but the Dublin organisers were keen to avoid their potatoes being held up in traffic. "While we were delighted that there was no delay in our schedule, in hindsight it was a mistake to drop them from military aircraft", rued Pooley. "Not everyone likes bomb bay potatoes."
As soon as the tubers ripped through the crowd, the mood soured. "It wasn't how I'd imagined at all", sobbed Pooley. "Instead of people thrashing about playfully in a mushy pulp of vegetable-based joy, they were laying around on the floor, groaning and occasionally bleeding. They didn't look like the happy family on this Smash packet at all."
Staff from St. Johns ambulance attempted to treat the more seriously injured, but the mood quickly boiled over. "I can understand their anger. Potatoes are meant to be the fun vegetable, but not when they're delivered at terminal velocity. Fast food really can be bad for you."
The council has vowed to learn from the whole experience, and are already putting in safeguards for next year's 'yamboree'. "We're going to boil and mash them next time", explained Pooley. "The public seem to think we're going to fluff it, but I'm sure we can butter them up."