As part of our series of Hidden Gems in the capital, we invite you to meet the great Nico and discover for yourself the best chips in the city!
If you need a night off from the sit down, napkin over knees, posh nosh of the city, and are in the market for some local, top class chipper, then I have a hidden gem for you. Take a stroll out of the city along Amiens Street, onto North Strand Road, and take a left down Poplar Row at Annesley Bridge. Pause for a moment at the crossroad on Ballybough Road and take in an interesting piece of history.
Bailebough in Irish is derived from the ‘Baile’ Town and ‘Bocht’ meaning ‘poor’. This crossroads along with its name has experienced much controversy over its long life. Most recently, Dublin City Councillor Nial Ring, proposed changing the name of the neighbourhood as he felt it insulted the local residents. However in his quest to defend the reputation of those in the area, he was met with a counter-campaign from those very people he tried to protect, and a few less votes I presume.
Far more gripping was the use of this site in the past as a burial plot for the city’s most undesirable characters; including drunks, prostitutes and pirates. It was also believed in Irish folklore that a person who committed suicide would become a vampire, so it was customary to drive a stake through the heart, before burying the body in this plot.
Known locally as the suicide plot, it was said to have influenced Bram Stoker’s Dracula, who lived in nearby Marino. Stoker that is, not Dracula!
If that hasn’t spooked you and sent you on the first bus back to the big lights, then take a swift right at the crossroads leading you over the Luke Kelly Bridge, named after our famous Dubliners’ singer, to the no frills, fine food of Nico’s traditional fast food takeaway.
Coined, “The Best Chips in the City” by FM104’s Ben Murray, you will not be disappointed.
— Ben Murray (@BenMurrayFM104) November 20, 2012
Having completed his national service in Italy, Nico came to Ireland in 1967. He was a panel beater by trade, has worked for Peugeot, and held a Go-Karting title when he was 15 years old. Be sure to ask him about his love of anything to do with cars, he might even reward you with an extra scoop. If he was to order from his own menu he would have the Ray. He uses fresh fish and revels in his reputation for having a wide variety on his board. He says Irish people expect more options in recent years as a result of travelling the world. As well as serving the late Joe Dolan, and singer Red Hurley, Nico keeps match and music fans from nearby Croke Park Stadium stocked up and content. Nico not only provides the local Garda and community with fresh fish and chips but he is also the first and only Irish-Italian Peace commissioner. During my chat with Nico, he invited me into his kitchen and served me an espresso from a traditional Italian Moka pot. Nico’s friend, Paul, joined us and described Nico as a family orientated man with a ‘passion for food and communication’. Be sure to visit this hidden gem and take advantage of both of these brilliant qualities on offer in Nico’s of Ballybough.
Nico’s Takeaway 289,
Tel: 01 837 5369
Lead image credit: shaiith / 123RF Stock Photo